PVPUSD’s Efforts to Fight COVID

PVHS+is+a+COVID+testing+site+for+students+and+staff+every+Tuesday+and+Thursday.%0APhoto+by+Ella+Sherry

PVHS is a COVID testing site for students and staff every Tuesday and Thursday. Photo by Ella Sherry

Ella Sherry, Online Editor

Students, teachers, staff, and district personnel have all been doing their part to ensure that the school year is off to a safe start for everyone.

There have been 10 cases at PVHS since the start of school on Aug. 25, as of Oct. 6. Seventeen students, as of Oct. 6, are currently quarantining, according to the PVPUSD COVID-19 dashboard.

The district had a plan to keep students safe while returning to in-person school—encouraging remote work, mask requirements, self-assessment tools, following public health recommendations, social distancing when possible, air ventilation in classrooms and cleanings every day after school.

While the cases have been minimal, it has affected the learning environment of students that had to quarantine. Sophomore Madalyn Barley had to quarantine at the beginning of school because she was exposed.

“I got really behind, and none of the teachers were really posting on Google Classroom,” Barley said. “I wanted to be back as soon as possible.”

When she heard that she had been exposed at school, she wasn’t nervous just for herself, but for other students as well.

“I got a little worried, because I was talking to a lot of people throughout the day [and] I was scared that other people were going to get sick,” Barley said.

But there is a way that students can protect themselves and others from the virus and interrupting school: testing. COVID-19 testing sites have been set up at Peninsula High School, PV High School, and Miraleste Intermediate School, available from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Testing for students is optional, but there are testing/vaccination status requirements for student athletes.

“Right now, anybody who is unvaccinated is going to be required to be part of the testing program for moderate and high contact sports,” said Athletic Director Brian Shapiro. “For outdoor sports, the testing is once a week. And for indoor sports, testing is twice a week.”

Shapiro is also the cross country and track coach, and wants to keep his athletes safe because of the recent COVID cases.

“As a coach, you want to make everything you can as safe as possible for our students, even though there will be some risk whenever we get together, that some people might get sick or spread to others,” Shapiro said.

The plan for tracking COVID cases in sports is similar to the plan in tracking COVID-19 during regular school.

“The first thing that we want to do is take care of that student and take care of the people that have been around that student, Shapiro said. “That student needs to make sure to get proper medical care, and their parents should know right away. And then part two is identifying who might be at risk from exposure from that student. … We have seating charts … for all of our classes, and practice plans that are from our sports.”

Positive COVID-19 cases on teams can affect the individual player and the team’s performance.

“That can be a big letdown for a team,” Shapiro said. “There’s also the individual’s health, and there’s a lot of studies that are still being done about the long-lasting effects of [COVID-19] on youth and on athletes.”

Even while COVID-19 is affecting regular school life, it’s also affecting the entire global community, and hasn’t changed just the lives of Palos Verdes high schoolers.

“The big picture is, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and there are people that are sick and there are people that are dying and hospital workers that are overwhelmed with providing care for everybody,” Shapiro said. “When it comes to actual prevention and protection, the only way we’re ever going to do that is through vaccination, wearing masks, washing hands and following as many of the guidelines as we can.”