Since COVID-19 cases have been increasing in North Texas and the United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, Nurse Angela Hageman contributes her time to try to help the students and staff when they test positive for COVID-19. A big part of that is contact tracing to prevent spread at school.
“I wish case numbers weren’t increasing,” she said. “When you look at the overall amount of students that we have, either in person or virtually, we’re right at the 3,000 marks for students altogether, and then, a little less than that, that is here face-to-face. The numbers aren’t that huge.”
She said the dashboard was put up on the district website as a way to track the school’s numbers. When a student tests positive for COVID-19, Nurse Hageman has to interview other students and teachers who came in contact with that student and determine if quarantine is needed.
“When we do contact tracing, that is because we have to then notify anyone that is considered a close contact so that they then are quarantined for 14 days,” she said. “That’s pretty much the timeframe that the CDC has been able to determine that it takes for that person to potentially begin to develop symptoms. And so that’s why, we say, ‘You are close contact. You’re out now for 14 days.’ And we’re checking, and we’re asking that they communicate if they begin to develop symptoms. We’ve had symptoms begin within a couple of days as well. So, at that point time, their return to school has now lengthened due to either one becoming positive or having symptoms.”
For a student that is in close contact with another student that has tested positive, the student’s parents will be notified that the student has to be quarantined for 14 days.
Virtual learning has been in place to accommodate students who wish to learn online.
“I didn’t take it seriously at the very beginning of when it started until it got really serious,” junior Andrea Crabtree said. And I was mainly worried for my siblings and my parents because they’re more prone to COVID.”
Andrea is still doing virtual learning and said it’s a little hard to focus in school because of the pandemic because she doesn’t have her friends around or go to and participate in school activities and experience being in high school. Sophomore Courtney Sullivan said virtual learning has its benefits.
“I think the pandemic has affected me positively,” she said. “We are advancing and learning new methods about technology and how different it is online and in-person and everybody talks about how technology is not important and now we have something like this it can help us achieve better success with getting to learn the same work that the in-persons learners can learn too.”
While the pandemic may be changing the way students learn and teachers teach, it has also changed the job of Nurse Hageman as she works to keep the campus as safe as possible.
“I wish it was a perfect world and no one was sick or ill or had to deal with that,” Nurse Hageman said. “I like what I do. I’ve done nursing for 40 years now. So this is ever-changing. And there’s something new all the time.”