• Tavi Schaller

Lasting Pandemic Effects on West High School Students

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on staff and students worldwide. Administrators within the Victoria Independent School District (V.I.S.D.) have held countless meetings to make plans and preparations to protect the individuals on campuses within V.I.S.D. As a result, V.I.S.D. has begun using certain “levels” to indicate how severe the campuses are affected by COVID. These levels range from one to three, with one being high attendance rates and low COVID-19 cases and three being low attendance with an extremely high number of COVID-19 cases.

Each of these levels allows the district to keep a close eye on data patterns and trends, so

that they may provide a plan based on the attendance fluctuations. While some schools were

affected more severely than others, the start of the school year brought upon a rapid spread of COVID-19 across the entire school district.

V.I.S.D. returned for school Aug. 18, and by Sept. 7, 2021, the district raised to a Level 3

on the status level for COVID-19. The main implication of a Level 3 is the limited campus

access by only staff and students. This means no outside food or visitors can be brought in for

any reason. Another added regulation is the reduction of school activities that are deemed non-essential, whether that be pep rallies or club gatherings. While V.I.S.D. was at a Level 3, virtual schooling was brought back for several weeks to allow COVID-19 positive students access to assignments and class materials while quarantined at home. High school students at Victoria West High School were able to attend virtual school from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the weeks they were absent from school. These students were required to know the information covered in class by studying their textbooks, researching online and using assignments to increase their comprehension on subjects they had missed. However, students were not required to turn in any in-person assignments due during the weeks they were quarantined; they only needed to make up any tests or quizzes they missed.

As of Oct. 4, 2021, V.I.S.D. announced a decrease in positive COVID-19 cases, resulting

in decreasing the status level to a Level 2 on all district campuses. As a result, outside visitors

were allowed back on campuses. Precautions were still heavily practiced such as social

distancing and encouraged mask-wearing. Virtual school was also canceled due to the decrease in the number of quarantined students.

In regards to the high rise of positive COVID-19 cases present at the beginning of the

school year, many students and staff at Victoria West High School have voiced personal opinions about the regulations mandated by the district. One major issue has been the setback on school-hosted events such as pep-rallies, Homecomings and dances. In accordance to following social-distancing guidelines, district and high school administrators decided to minimize large gatherings by canceling Homecoming and having “hallway pep-rallies” for the 2021 school year. As a result of these actions, several parents of Victoria West High School students decided to host a Homecoming for students to attend with this being the second-year parents have hosted Homecoming for the students.

Overall, the district has put many precautions and regulations in place to best benefit the

population of its students and staff within the district. While COVID-19 cases are still relatively

low on all district campuses, administrators are doing the best they can to prevent another large-scale spread of the virus alike the one seen at the beginning of the school year. Efforts are being made by administrators on every campus to encourage students to practice safe social-distancing while still being involved in sports, extra-curriculars and activities outside of school.

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