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Contact tracing is taking a toll on attendance

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Half-empty classes, quiet rooms, students in their beds instead of in school. Classrooms and halls are starting to look more and more bare. Students are getting pulled from classes and being sent home for two weeks. Close contact is defined as under six feet distance for over 15 minutes. If and when there is an infected student they are sent home along with the people around them through a process called contact tracing. 

Senior Kenndy Lamb was quarantined Sept. 27, after being exposed to a teammate. According to Lamb, more than half of the girls varsity volleyball team was quarantined at one point. The infected teammate informed the coach of symptoms and was sent home. The school then began contact tracing, and all but three girls were quarantined.

“[The] whole team had to leave Cape Girardeau after playing only one game and then by Sunday night Arnel called all of us to let us know which of us would and wouldn’t be quarantined,” Lamb said.

Sophomore Matthew Jones was exposed on Sept. 24 and pulled from his sixth period with about four other students. They were taken to the auditorium and placed six feet apart. 

“I just like to be in school learning because at home I have too many distractions,” Jones said. 

Jones mentioned he had two classes he didn’t receive any work for during his quarantine, but has had a few teachers reach out to him and help him as much as he needed. 

“I can’t say I’ve learned anything over quarantine and I know it’s going to [suck] when I come back to school.” Jones said.

Junior Lexi Lyons was quarantined on Sept. 22, and came back to school Oct. 5. She was pulled from her sixth period and taken to the auditorium with other students who were pulled. Lyons didn’t enjoy online school; she found it harder to concentrate on work being in an environment with so many distractions. 

“Being in my room, I can see everything else I could be doing and I just become unmotivated,” Lyons said. “I didnt have much work but the work I had I couldn’t do.”

Like Jones, Lyons also had issues with teacher contact. Students complain that many of their teachers didnt even reach out or send work to them. So when they got back they had work piled on them. 

After students witnessing their peers being sent home, students have reported feeling anxious when a principal walks in their classrooms, fearing they might be next. Students were aware that there were possibilities that they could contract or be exposed to COVID-19. Classes were small to begin with, now more and more students are out, leaving the numbers of the student body depleting.

“Not only does getting pulled scare me, it irritates me that I can continually get pulled out and walking into class feels like walking into detention because it’s so empty,” Lyons said “I miss seeing all my friends.”



As students come in and out of school due to contact tracing, classroom numbers are affected. At one point during the first two months of school, Mr. Patrick Reed had a quarter of his students in quarantine. “Thankfully most of my quarantined students worked hard while out so that they weren’t overwhelmed upon their return,” Mr. Reed said. “As far as how it felt in class? This year has been obviously full of odd happenings. Discussions have been more stilted due to the mask wearing, and having so many students outside of class made classes a little depressing. Definitely felt empty in there by comparison to normalcy. Like everyone, I yearn for our return to ‘normal.’” (Aniya)