Facing the common cold in a global pandemic

Caya Craig '23, Social Media Manager

With the fall season kicking off and quite rapidly approaching winter, students and teachers calling out sick is not uncommon. What is uncommon, though, is to have to figure out whether a stuffy nose, sore throat and cough is just a common cold or one of the first symptoms of the potentially deadly virus COVID-19. Although the COVID vaccination was created to help prevent fatalities and limit spread, catching the virus, especially in a school setting, is still possible.

For Brooke Lezotte ’23, having a cold in the midst of a worldwide pandemic is rather difficult to deal with– facing your own fears of catching the virus while also managing the stares from classmates.

“I’m a swimmer and was worried about my season if I couldn’t practice for two weeks,” Lezotte said. “I was also concerned about my friends and family that I might have (exposed). But I’m vaccinated, so I knew it wasn’t likely COVID.”

According to Luca Nixon ’23, having students around you slowly developing the common symptoms for COVID-19 created a large scare and worry that could be passed along to family at home.

“Having sick students in class was concerning because I was worried about my personal safety, my family’s safety and the safety of my classmates,” Nixon said. “After seeing the precautions South has taken, I feel much more comfortable.”

Teacher Sandra McCue said she understands the panic when it comes to having students and teachers around the school who are feeling under the weather. When it comes to sick students in her classroom, she said she faces guilt.

“My goal is to make sure I keep everyone in my classroom safe,” McCue said. “But, if someone were to have COVID in my class and pass it along, I would feel partly responsible for causing such a harmful chain reaction.”

During school, Nixon said he experienced coming into close contact with a student who tested positive for COVID-19 and had to go through the appropriate steps to prevent the spread.

“When a student tested positive in my class, I was called down to the office to take a COVID test,” Nixon said. “I would be sent home if I was positive or back to my class if I was negative. I ended up not having COVID and just carried on with my day.”

Ultimately, McCue believes that the extra safety precautions taken by the school and the students prevent the spread of COVID-19 and any other common colds or flus.

“Besides the fact that I was sick in September, I hadn’t been sick in over a year,” McCue said. “That is unheard of for a teacher. The masks and making sure everything is kept clean prevents sickness in general. I see over 100 students a day, so not being sick more often is quite a miracle.”