The Tigers have returned to NDB fully on-campus for the new school year as vaccination rates increase across the Bay Area. Still, the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world and is ever-changing with new variants, such as the fast-spreading Delta variant. Within the first several weeks of the 2021-2022 school year, NDB faced five cases of COVID-19.
“They call it an outbreak if there are three cases that can be linked together,” said Nurse Bridget Wylie. “So far we think we only had two that were actually connected.”
In a message sent by Wylie regarding these recent COVID-19 cases, NDB stated that three out of the five people infected by the virus were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Currently, 93% of NDB students have been vaccinated and NDB continues to warn the community to maintain caution and follow the safety guidelines laid out by the school.
“Wear masks, wash your hands. Try and social distance if you can,” Wylie stated when asked about the most important things that students can do to protect against the virus. “Definitely a little bit of social distancing while you’re eating and then put your mask back on when you’re done eating.”
Everyone on campus is required to wear a mask at all times except while eating or drinking and to complete a survey every morning to check if anyone is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or has been exposed to the virus. In addition, the school is applying various safety protocols to the community, such as extensive cleaning of the campus and ventilation in every room.
“Trying to get the student body to accept responsibility is a big thing,” Wylie stated.
Originally, COVID-19 tests were only available to unvaccinated students.
However, starting in mid-September, NDB began working with Virus Geeks, who provide testing for any student or staff member who wants to be tested, regardless of vaccination status. The testing requirements have also been increased: along with all unvaccinated and “close contact” students, all athletes participating in “high risk” sports, including water polo, volleyball, and basketball, must test weekly. Unvaccinated students who have been a “close contact” are also not permitted to attend school events outside of the regular school day.
NDB follows the recommendations of the San Mateo County Office of Education, which suggest that rooms should be ventilated at all times and eating should be outdoors. Also, NDB has been following CDC guidelines on proper cleaning.
“The San Mateo County and the CDC hold weekly or bi-weekly or monthly meetings, so myself and Dr. Kern try to attend those as much as we can,” Wylie added. “Being aware of where the information is, what applies to us, and then implementing it. That’s what I try to do.”
So, what is next? NDB encourages students to be responsible in and out of school and respect these guidelines so that everyone in the community can stay protected.