With any new school year comes various new adjustments. Usually, that change would be concerning what teachers and classes you have, but with COVID-19, there are many additional changes. Just like last year, all of the students and faculty at St. Joe have to wear masks that cover their mouths and noses. The only difference is that this year, everyone can take their masks off when they’re outside.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to wear masks still,” sophomore Mary Risley stated, “but I am grateful that we do not need to social distance anymore.”
With no social distancing, many timeless St. Joe traditions are returning. This includes all-school masses, community time, Mission Week, and Cup of Joe, as well as simple things like lockers and the couches in Campus Ministry.
With this being said, there are still many COVID protocols in place to protect our school community. For example, students still have to fill out the health screening form to enter the school each morning. If a student starts feeling sick, they must stay home. Unlike last year, there are no Zooms for absences, even COVID-related. Students instead have to communicate with their teachers and check Canvas for any work they might have missed. Also, if a vaccinated individual is exposed to a person infected with COVID-19, they only need to stay home if they show symptoms. The same goes for unvaccinated individuals, except they are required to sit out of extracurricular activities for ten days, even if they do not have symptoms.
Mrs. Marcia Niedringhaus, the interim President of St. Joe, sent a letter to parents and the rest of the community on August 9.
“We are pleased to report that 98 percent of our faculty and staff are fully vaccinated,” she said. “Our student vaccination rate is currently 60 percent.”
As the percentage of vaccinated students continues to rise, she feels that we can continue moving towards normalcy.
“There is a renewed sense of spirit at SJA as we gather for events and rituals that we sacrificed to COVID last year,” Mrs. Niedringhaus said. “Widespread availability of vaccines and the cooperation of everyone on campus utilizing masks to help minimize the spread of the virus helps maintain an in-person environment and the celebration of many of our time-honored St. Joe traditions.”
With the current protocols, the 2021-2022 school year is off to a great start, and looks like it’ll be another fun and safe year.