Contact tracing has been widely implemented by schools across the US throughout this past school year in an attempt to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Contact tracing is the process of identifying individuals who have come in contact with those infected by a disease and then requiring them to go into self-isolation if the exposure was close enough to them. With this method being used to try and slow the spread of the contagious and deadly COVID-19, many students are being negatively affected by it.
Here at Roswell High School, contact tracing has begun to increase largely throughout the last month with many students and teachers being taken from face-to-face classrooms and put into virtual school. This contact tracing has specifically been affecting student-athletes that are being taken out of school and their sports to self-quarantine in case they have contracted the virus from those they were exposed to.
These athletes are extremely irritated by being traced because they feel they have to miss out on important games and practices in their sports seasons because of someone else in their class that came to school and exposed them to the coronavirus. While this contact tracing is necessary to slow the spread of the disease, it is hurting the athletes that are being affected by it due to them still having to be kept out of their sports even though they might not have the virus themselves and test negative.
To take initiative, many sports teams at Roswell High School have begun to turn towards fully virtual school for their athletes. This is due to the fact that they cannot be traced and taken out of their sports if they are not in face-to-face school because they will not be possibly exposed by other students. This loop-hole has been implemented now by the RHS women’s soccer team and both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams at RHS with only a few players still attending in-person school.
Ellery Eicher, sophomore varsity RHS lacrosse player, speaks about why she switched from in-person to online school when stating, “I went online because people are getting contact traced every week, and I don’t want to be out of lacrosse for two weeks if I don’t have corona.”
Another sophomore varsity lacrosse player Bryna Gibbons who was personally affected by contact tracing explains her decision to go online. “A few weeks ago, also about two weeks into my lacrosse season, I was sent home due to contact tracing. I had to miss 10 days of lacrosse practices and games, and even though I have switched to online school since I started my quarantine, I still feel it has held me back in my performance and play time on the field.”
Junior on the RHS varsity soccer team Bailey Oetinger expresses why the girls soccer team and her personally went online by saying, “The girls soccer team decided to go online so we could have a season. The reason being that even if you are contact traced to someone in any of your classes, even with a mask on, you have to be quarantined for 10 days in which you could miss at least 3 games and personally I would not like to miss that much soccer.”
With the amount of students switching to online classes to avoid contact tracing in order to be able to play their spring sports, there will soon be a largely noticeable gap in the number of students online in comparison to in-person.
To learn more about other students’ views on contact tracing and school COVID-19 safety precautions click here to visit Nicole Powichroski’s article.