Editorial: District keeps students safe despite virus outbreak

To+follow+school+guidelines%2C+ENO+staff+members+wear+their+masks+during+class.+Students+had+the+option+to+attend+on-campus+instruction+or+virtual+learning%2C+beginning+August+12.+All+students+and+staff+are+required+to+wear+a+face+mask+inside+the+building.+

To follow school guidelines, ENO staff members wear their masks during class. Students had the option to attend on-campus instruction or virtual learning, beginning August 12. All students and staff are required to wear a face mask inside the building.

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There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has escalated dramatically since its first major appearance in March; schools shut down across the country, and students were forced to finish off their 2019-2020 school year virtually. With this, in-person learning on campus again seemed like a chance nobody wanted to take — except for Prosper Independent School District. 

Prosper ISD has created a safe, well-organized environment inside its schools that keeps the virus, and all germs, for that matter, outside its walls as much as possible. 

Throughout the school day, anyone who enters the building must wear a mask and keep it on until they depart campus. Inside the classrooms, desks stand six feet apart. Teachers and students sanitize tables and chairs before and after each class. Administration offers hand sanitizer in every classroom, and stations sit in the hallways for quick access. According to pediatricians, infectious disease specialists and education experts who contributed to this npr.org article, these precautions are vital in maintaining the safety of students and faculty during in-person learning. While there is no such thing as “zero risk” for the virus, the right safety techniques can give students their preferred learning experience during these unknown circumstances. 

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Extracurriculars have taken a major toll from COVID-19, with seasons being delayed or canceled due to UIL guidelines. Athletics and fine arts programs that have chosen to continue their seasons must practice safety protocols, such as wearing masks whenever they’re not engaging in heavy activity, keeping their distance, and sanitizing equipment. Prosper published a plan for summer/fall athletics that states certain procedures and rules to follow during practices, including daily screening tests and a minimum 10-foot distance between players.  

As of Aug. 13, the town of Prosper has had a total of 206 cases of COVID-19, 152 being recovered, 52 being active, and two deaths. It’s clear that Prosper has had its fatalities with the virus, and that going back to school could increase these numbers. As of that official reporting date, three cases had been confirmed with district students. There will be students that don’t wash their hands or sanitize properly, which puts everybody else in the district at risk. It’s all just a matter of trust and cooperation from the students and staff, which isn’t a lot to ask during these unprecedented times, but also shows dedication as a community.  

For being in school for over a week, and with only a few students with confirmed cases out of more than 18,000 in the entire district, it’s obvious that the district is fighting the pandemic to the best of its ability. It’s not like students and staff are forced to go on campus; those who know their families are at high risk stay home, and for others, the option for virtual learning is a quick transition if they start to feel unsafe. If Prosper continues these procedures and keeps its options open, a somewhat normal school year can’t be too far in the future. 

For a look at the district’s current COVID 19 dashboard, click here.

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