In 2019, Americans took over 800 million trips from July through September. Now, living through a pandemic, travel has been limited for most Americans. As students continue to travel and fly domestically or internationally during holiday breaks, the Eagle Edition believes that the only way the community can continue to stay safe is for students to self-quarantine for 14 days after travel and get tested.
It is important to note that while airports and airlines have been taking necessary precautions to keep travelers safe, there still remains a risk while travelling. Social distancing guidelines become very difficult to follow in crowded terminals and packed airplanes. Being in these public spaces with large numbers of people at a time can be risky while COVID-19 cases are still rampant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advises against travel during the pandemic and that if possible, people should stay home. The CDC warns that travel “increases chances of getting and spreading COVID-19” and that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.
We understand the importance of travel, especially at a time like this when anxiety in the community is high. Travel can assist in spending time with distant relatives. The Eagle Edition does not discourage travel, we just believe that during this time it is vital to take the necessary precautions to insure the safety of the community.
Some ESD families have been responsible after their travels. Sophomore Amelia Sinwell and her family quarantined after travelling to Florida over the Winter break. The Sinwell family were careful in their efforts to keep the community safe and they followed the CDC recommended guidelines for after travel.
“I quarantined for 10 days and got tested on the eighth day just as the CDC guidelines dictate,” Sinwell said. “While quarantining has become a bit of a monotonous chore at this point, I do think it was totally worth it to quarantine during this time, and I would definitely encourage everyone travelling to do the same.”
This year, the community has seen its fair share of outbreaks and mass quarantines. Virtual learning has been difficult and has especially been challenging for students who have a difficult time focusing. We know that the virtual learning environment is not ideal and contact tracing can be frustrating and difficult to navigate. While quarantining after a trip will not result in the total elimination of the spread, it can be helpful in aiding students to feel safer while returning after a break.
Although virtual learning can put some students at an unfair disadvantage, the community has to come together at this time and understand that sacrifices must be made to ensure students, faculty and facilities staff can safely convene at school. Moreover, because this school year’s focus has been placed on putting others before ourselves, the entire community must be making sacrifices even though they can be inconvenient.
If it is too much to ask that students quarantine for two weeks after travel, we ask that students at least be tested for COVID-19. While waiting for results, students should stay home and learn virtually, significantly lowering the risk of a student potentially spreading the virus within the school.
The Eagle Edition realizes that this is a very stressful time for students and that self-quarantining after a trip requires a lot of discipline and self-sacrifice. The school operates on an honor code, and we find that if a student has been travelling, it is within their honor that they quarantine for the benefit of the community.