Classrooms Divided Into Masked Zones

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Robin Hundt

Non-mask wearers have successfully been separated in Instructor Heather Lewis’ classroom.

Teresa Hutchinson, News and Feature Editor

The GCSD Board of Education has required the teachers to divide classrooms into two sections: those wearing masks and those not wearing masks. The hope is to slow the spread of COVID-19.

With four positive cases of COVID-19 at the high school and multiple students quarantined at home for 14 days contact tracing is more important in classrooms than ever.

Under the new mask procedures, when one mask wearer tests positive, the mask wearers that sit next to the positive student will not be required to quarantine.

By separating the mask wearers and non-masker wearers, the administration hopes to limit the number of students in quarantine. By limiting the quarantined students, the hope is to keep the remaining students in school rather than having to go to complete online learning.

“After consulting legal counsel, the Glenwood administrative team and the GCSD Board of Education decided that grouping students who wear masks together would help us maximize our student body attendance as we battle with COVID-19 outbreaks threatening our school year,” said Assistant Principal Cory Faust.

Though the separation of masked from non-masked students has its perks with limiting the contact tracing, it could have some damaging effects on the social order at GCHS.

“The isolation of the non-mask wearers could cause conflict between mask wearers and non-mask wearer because when people are being separated so are their ideas,” said senior MacKenzie Woods. “The isolated could even face ridicule and judgment for being seen as inconsiderate.”

Junior Nikki Nielsen believes that, besides the contact tracing there are no advantages to mask isolation.

“I think the separation will be effective on the contact tracing, but I think since it has started we haven’t been Rams United,” said Nielsen.

With the potential negative effects on the students the non-mask wearers are aware of the easy solution within the classroom.

“I have noticed in a couple of my classes where a few of the students tend to feel excluded due to the separation,” said Instructor Kathy Johnson. “But they know that if they want to work with someone, all they have to do is ask to go down to the office and get a mask.”

There have been mixed feelings about the masks. Some feel being required to wear them is impeding on their rights and wearing masks is too difficult to abide by in school when they are trying to concentrate. However, because of the grouping students can now be surrounded by those who share their feelings.

“Having the people who wear masks and those who don’t wear them in different parts of the room makes me feel safer,” said sophomore Addison Mitchel. “I am glad to be sitting next to people who value my protection over their comfort.”