Students Sound Off on Safety Rules

Going into the third year of schooling as affected by Covid-19, Craig is again enforcing a mask mandate for students and staff while on school grounds.

“While I enjoy everyone being back in school at once, there are far too many people crowded together for it to be safe,” an anonymous student said. They believe we should “go back to A/B days, or we can have groups of students dismissed at different times from one another to avoid crowding.”

Madelyn Strunz, a Junior, said “I think that they’re doing a somewhat good job, but I wish that they would clean more and be more hygienic, and enforce the mask mandate a little more than they do. But other than that, I think it’s fine.”

Colton Measner, a Junior, plans to speak to the school board on October 13 in protest of the continued mask mandate. 

In a draft of a speech he provided to the Criterion, he says, “We can’t call this our new normal.” 

He points out “the hypocrisy that we don’t have to wear a [mask] in contact sports where we aren’t socially distanced but we have to when we are socially distanced.”

“I am happy that I can see all of my friends now that there are no cohorts, and seeing my friends is more important than not having to wear a mask,” said Ben Witt, an athlete in his Junior year.

One change from last year to this year is in school events, such as dances, and sports. Last year, several sports were delayed, homecoming didn’t happen, and Prom took place outside at Rotary Gardens. 

This year, sports have continued to take place at their traditional times, while Homecoming is happening on October 8th.

“I think it’s fine the way it is as long as they enforce masks,” Strunz said. “Even though Covid is a thing, I feel like if we shut ourselves away completely then we won’t have any freedom whatsoever, and it would make it horrible for a high school experience.”

“It’s to be determined yet as to whether or not we’ll require kids to wear masks at the dance. It’s certainly something we’re considering, but it’s also kind of a hard thing to enforce,” said Mr Phillips, Craig’s assistant principal.

“Based on the numbers … we felt that it’s safe enough to do those activities,” he said. “We’re going to see how other schools are doing it, and then we’ll kind of make some changes if we have to.” 

He also said that the school is “trying to plan for something where we can have a little bit of an outside area as well.”

“To be determined” seems to be the theme with the school district’s policy regarding safety regulations, as Mr Phillips continued: “The first time the board would consider [continuing the mask mandate] would be later on in October.”

In regards to safety overall, Mr Phillips said “We’re continuing to promote washing your hands [and] monitoring your health each day before you come to school … but basically [the mask mandate] is it. As much as possible in the classrooms, even though we are back to between 28 and 30 kids in a class, we’re socially distancing as much as we can. The mask, we believe, is a big factor and that’s mainly what we’re focusing on.”

Another concern of students was online schooling. 

An anonymous student said, “I would understand the need for online schooling if there is a case in which there are too many covid cases in school, but I would hate to go back online. Speaking for myself, I could not focus at all online and I can’t imagine having to do it this year as well without difficulty.”

Strunz had similar feelings. “For me, it’s kind of a hard question because I was really bad at online school, but I feel like if we need to then I guess we have to.”

However, according to Mr Phillips the school district currently has no plans to pivot to online learning this year. “The district has looked at the numbers, looked at the metrics, and don’t think that’ll be necessary based on the number of staff that have been vaccinated, the number of students that have been vaccinated is also going up slowly.”

However, the school is not officially encouraging vaccination in any capacity. Mr Phillips says that school policy is “unofficial encouragement” and that the school’s view on vaccination is that “it’s a family decision.”

The school board will decide on additional safety regulations later this month, while Homecoming Dance will take place Saturday, October 9.