Gull Lake High School (GLHS) along with the rest of the Gull Lake Community Schools (GLCS) have been switching between hybrid and virtual education programs. During hybrid, GLHS put safety plans and guidelines in place to keep students safe in school during the Covid pandemic.
“We have the GL [stickers] on the corners of the lunch tables. If you sit at those GLs, you are about five feet apart,” Eastman said.
We want everyone wearing a mask at all times, especially hallways and classrooms. We want to be six feet apart, social distance and wash and/or sanitize hands as much as possible and wipe the desks down in between every class.GLHS Principal Don Eastman
According to Eastman, the decision to switch to the hybrid program on October 5 came from CDC guidelines, and GLCS leans on the county health guidelines for safety measures.
Gull Lake switched back to virtual learning on November 16 and is set to return to hybrid again on December 9. After holiday break in January, plans are full face to face for the high school if possible.
“We will be in either hybrid or full [after holiday break in January] based on covid numbers and attendance of students and teachers,” Eastman said.
Before the school transferred to virtual on November 16, there was an increase of cases and quarantining in the student body. According to the GLCS website, In GLHS between October 13 and November 4, the High School had only gained four recorded cases. Between November 5 and November 20, an additional 18 cases were recorded, with a cumulative 22 cases in GLHS by this date.
Though the student body is affected, Eastman does not believe the spread is originating from the school.
“We are not finding that the spread is happening at school. We do believe the spread of it is happening outside of school,” Eastman said.
GLHS uses a contact tracing system to identify and quarantine students who were in contact with a student who tested positive.
“If a student has covid and sits in a classroom that has 22 kids in it, and there are three students who sit too close to them, all of those students have to be quarantined for 14 days,” Eastman said.
Some students have concerns about how well the safety guidelines are being upheld and about the actions of their fellow students.
“Every day I witnessed at least one teacher with their mask down. I lost count of the students within the first passing time,” said GLHS Senior MacKenzie Morse. “The people who are out partying and being unsafe are often the same students who do not wear their masks properly.”
According to Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, social distancing reduces the risk of transmitting coronavirus by 90 percent, and wearing masks decreases the risk by 65 percent.
Eastman is aware that not all students follow the guidelines, and believes they are responsible for their own actions. He also stated that he looks through classrooms during school hours to ensure teachers and students are following rules.
“Kids have some personal choice. If you are going to sit by someone and take your mask off and not follow the guidelines, you are putting you and your family at risk,” Eastman said.
This does not mean there are no repercussions for students breaking guidelines.
“We have probably had less than 10 of those where we have had to call a student down to the office, call a parent and say if you do not keep your nose covered you can not come back to school,” Eastman said.
Eastman states that he welcomes comments from students, teachers and parents, and he said he believes that they are beneficial.
We would have the best atmosphere if every teacher, every student, every parent was comfortable checking people and comfortable speaking up. We have to be comfortable checking each other and reminding each other and we can do that kindly and politely.Don Eastman
Though GLHS has plans and guidelines in place, Eastman said that he is aware that there is room for improvement.
“Wearing a mask, social distancing, and sanitizing or washing hands as much as possible is what we constantly need to work at getting better at,” Eastman said.
- Hello, my name is Anna Clinton and I am a Junior at Gull Lake High School. I have always had a passion for writing and love to implement that passion into journalism. It is my second year as an editor in the newspaper, but I am excited to start another year on the team!