COVID-19 Impact on Our Community
Althea Olsen, Veritas Editor-in-Chief
March 17, 2020
Until April 7th, Rockland Public Schools will be closed in order to contain the ongoing crisis of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Beginning in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus rapidly spread throughout China’s nation, and quickly spread throughout Europe and the United States. As a response to the now declared pandemic, the United States has declared a national emergency and with each day that passes, the U.S. is issuing stricter guidelines to “flatten the curve” of the virus’ spread. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered all private and public schools to be closed for three weeks in order to contain the spread of the virus within Massachusetts. Along with the closing of schools, the MIAA, or the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has decided that the beginning of spring sports will be delayed until April 27.
One of the major ways to keep personal hygiene and protection from the virus is washing the hands with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds. Hand sanitizer with sixty percent alcohol is a great alternative for when soap and water are not applicable. The CDC recommends that individuals do not rely on hand sanitizer to keep them safe, and to wash hands when possible. The CDC also recommends to clean and disinfect surfaces often, and stay home if one is feeling unwell. Wearing a medical mask will only help if the individual wearing the mask is sick. Medical masks will prevent the spreading of illness, but will not prevent the gaining of it. Most importantly, cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing, and keep a six foot distance from individuals who appear to be sick.
Individuals over the age of 60 are most prone to more serious related illnesses from the virus. Those who are immunocompromised, including individuals with heart and lung disease and diabetes are in the most danger. In our local community, grocery stores such as Market Basket and Stop and Shop have established specific time frames within their store that are dedicated for those aged 60 and over. This creates a safer and more comfortable environment for those who are at larger risk for the virus. Check the websites of grocery stores for more information.
Individuals under the age of sixty with healthy immune systems will often have no severe cases of the virus. COVID-19 within younger, healthier individuals is compared to having the cold or the flu. In order to decrease the spread to those who are in greater danger, everyone is urged to keep a distance of six feet, called social distancing, and practice healthy hygiene.
Due to the possible cancellation and delay of spring sports, many seniors fear they will be unable to share their last memories on the field. Yesterday, the MIAA announced that spring sports may be able to begin on April 27.
Schools across Massachusetts have also cancelled important events such as their proms and fundraising opportunities. The RHS music and theatre department’s Mary Poppins that was scheduled on March 27 and 28 has also been cancelled. The College Board has cancelled the May 2 SAT testing. Juniors should check their website for future testing dates. For juniors and seniors AP exams are still scheduled. For more on AP tests, check here.
Here’s a small sampling of how Rockland High School students feel about all of this.
Junior Robert Ivil said, “Everyone and the media are making a huge deal about an evolved cold, but I am worried for my grandparents since they are a part of the high risk age.”
Billy Robinson, also a junior, believes that society is treating this as if it is the Black Plague, but believes that having no school is a positive step, since so many aspects of the disease are unknown.
Zachary Solomon says that he is very bored without school, and is worried for his grandparents since they are in the high risk age and have experienced past illnesses. Most of the students in Rockland believe school cancellation is a positive in order to contain the virus.
It is strongly advised that individuals follow quarantine rules to the best of their abilities.
During the school closing, Rockland High School will have free grab and go lunch available Monday through Friday 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at the “Mainstreet” entrance of the high school.
Dr. Alan Cron has also announced that administration and teachers have worked “to develop a district-wide, comprehensive ‘work from home’ plan for all students and parents. Also, the district will provide laptops or Chromebook computers to those who only have a phone to connect to the internet. Dr. Cron said those that would like to borrow a laptop should email their building principals.
If you are without internet service at home, Comcast is providing a 2-month free internet package for families. Information on the program can be found at http://internetessentials.com/.
Please help spread this information and check the RPS website for updates.