Spikes With Omicron Variant Cause Issues at BHS

Kenzie Vetorino, Staff Writer


COVID-19 has followed Barnstable High School and the rest of the world into 2022. There is yet another new variant called omicron. This virus is constantly changing and everyone and everything is changing with it. From new guidelines to keep the lunch tables, this new variant has caused a lot of problems for BHS.   


New CDC Guidelines 

The CDC has made changes to the amount of time a person must quarantine to five days insteads of 10 days. Principal Elizabeth Freedman said that BHS will be following this protocol. Freedman also stated that the 3 feet distancing will again be strictly enforced by the teachers and staff. BHS does not have any new protocols; administration is just reinforcing  guidelines that are already in place. Vaccinated people who are exposed to COVID-19 are not required to quarantine, but if you are unvaccinated you must quarantine. Lunch is really the issue with close contact since students are at a table and unmasked. 

“We are just trying to keep everyone safe and in school,” said Freedman.

Students With Positive cases 

Students are coming back positive with COVID-19 left and right. Junior Ava Rolfe had the virus in the month of December. She had to be quarantined for three weeks and she said her symptoms didn’t go away for 10 days. Rolfe had only minor symptoms; she would be shivering one moment and get really hot the next. Rolfe described these symptoms as “uncomfortable”, but other than that, she only had a fever and a congested nose. Only Rolfe had COVID-19 in her family despite her being around her family before quarantining. 

“I stayed in my room and called my mom to bring me food,” said Rolfe.         

How Sports Teams are Being Affected 

As of Friday, January 14, all winter athletics were put on pause as there were so many cases among student athletes. This was a very last minute decision leaving some athletes  stranded at BHS for they did not know there was no practice. This abrupt pause also caused confusion and uproar with parents. As a mother to two BHS basketball players Rebecca Robke was confused as to why they would pause athletics when the numbers were lower than at other points in time. Robke also brought up the point that it is MIAA protocol to look at the individual teams cases not the overall cases.   

“All teams were able to play last year when there were not vaccines available for teachers and students,” said Robke.

The athletic department however saw this as protecting these children from this very contagious strain of the virus. Athletes are required to wear masks while they are participating in a meet or game, and all spectators are required to be masked as well. This is a requirement of the MIAA to keep students, coaches, staff, and spectators safe.The significant increase in the positive cases that occurred the week of January 14 in athletes were concerning enough for the Director of Health Services and the school nurses to recommend to the Superintendent that we take a pause, Athletic DirectorScott Thomas told Insight. However, these positive cases have decreased in the past week. There are no definite numbers for the amount of positive cases at this moment because the numbers are constantly changing.   

“The ten-day pause ended up only being six days. I have been working on rescheduling games that were lost during this time. All is looking good for us to complete our schedules,” said Thomas.         


Will we lose the lunch tables again??

If you were at BHS last year you would know that we did not have lunch tables, but desks. This year, however ,we got our lunch tables back and no longer have to sit at a desk silently eating. This new variant of COVID-19 however has caused so many issues that no one knows what is going on. At the beginning of the year all students were required to sign a piece of paper on their table. This was so the staff could contact trace if someone was in close contact with someone who was positive with COVID-19. However the staff has gotten rid of this method for the camera coverage in the cafeterias to see who was sitting with who and when they had contact with each other. 

The level of contact students have with each other is causing zero spreads that I am aware of

— Scott Pyy

,” said Assistant Principal Scott Pyy

Unless the CDC goes back to being six feet apart then the table will remain in the cafeterias, Pyy told Insight. The staff that monitor the lunches are really trying to enforce the only four or six to a table (depending on which cafeteria you are in). They are also trying to stop students pushing tables together. As long as students follow the rules the tables will stay and we will not be using the desks anymore.