- Yusuf Mannan and Ali Sultan Ali
PVS Combats COVID-19 Delta Variant
Viruses are constantly mutating into new and unexpected strains. After a steady decline in cases earlier this year, a new strain of COVID-19 first detected in India has caused a troubling rise in cases of COVID-19 and an increase in hospitalizations around the country. The variant has turned out to be more than twice as contagious as previous ones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies have shown that the newer strain is much more dangerous than the original virus, causing widespread hospitalizations. People who are not vaccinated are most at risk, and the highest spread of cases and most severe outcomes are seen in places with low vaccination rates.
In order to combat the spread of COVID and its variants in the school, the administration has dramatically changed the COVID testing system and protocols ensuring student safety. Initially, with the pod testing system, a whole pod was sent home for virtual learning if one student tested positive. Now, the administration has begun administering individual rapid antigen COVID tests for every student. The individual rapid antigen COVID tests can give results within minutes so if a student gets a positive test he/she can be sent home. Alhamdulillah, this system has already been successful. Principal Dr. Mohammad Malley said, “The first time everyone in the school was tested with the rapid testing system only one student tested positive and that student was sent home. The class of that student was tested three days and then seven days after the initial positive test and no other student tested positive leading the school to believe that there was no COVID spread in the school. The second time the entire school was tested using rapid tests, there were no positive cases.”
However, testing is not a catch all solution. Any child who exhibits any severe symptoms of COVID-19 such as coughing, difficulty breathing, loss of taste/smell, fever, runny nose, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, sore throat, headache, fatigue, and/or muscle or body aches, should stay home until they get a negative PCR test. Students at home can continue to participate in their classes from home through their Google Meets account. If any student on campus exhibits symptoms, the student is immediately tested with a rapid test. Dr. Malley said they “have conducted about two dozen of these tests and so far all have been negative.”
Inshallah this year, the school is trying their best to maintain the safety of the students, faculty, and administration with the rising situation from the Delta Variant and COVID-19. As long as everyone follows the protocols, and takes the provided steps and instructions, the school will be able to maintain a strong and safe learning environment.