None of us thought, in March 2020, that we’d still be where we are today. Still not back to normal, still not back to in-person school, still with the possibility of going to all online school. Nothing about 2020 is easily predicted, which is why we have to take all of the precautions we possibly can. 


That starts with transparency about COVID cases. An anonymous Eagan student comments  that “we don’t have transparency.” Another student goes further to note that she “doesn’t even know how many cases Eagan has had.” The communication regarding COVID cases has been poor since the beginning of the school year. Students are worried, teachers are worried, everyone is worried. 


Without communication, “we cannot make choices for the safety of others in our lives,” an Eagan student comments. If a student is not aware they have been exposed, they are not able to protect their family members who may be at a higher risk than most Eagan students. 


As of right now, students are getting emails notifying them of the case if they have been within 6 feet of that person for longer than 15 minutes. This method is extremely subject to negligence, creating danger. While teachers are told to be keeping tabs on their students and making sure everyone is distanced, it’s not hard to miss something. The school is also only contact tracing to primary contacts, meaning other people may have been exposed without knowing. 


One student even notes that “within the first week there were a couple of teachers out and such who got exposed and neither [her] or my mom got an email until a day and a half later,” meaning they may have been exposing others unknowingly. It has been very clear among students that the general belief is that “they should have a better system of letting people know.” The lag to the system as well the reliance on memory and observation for contact tracing leaves a lot of room for mistakes. 


“Not telling us there’s an issue isn’t working. We have people dying,” one student notes. The handling of the COVID cases in District 196 has been extremely mismanaged, there is no secret there. Now with the high likelihood of transferring back to full online school, the stakes are even higher. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now. People are dying. This should be non-negotiable.