Students report lower grades due to COVID exposures and quarantine

Sophomore Kylie Ryen has missed four weeks of school this year due to being in contact with a COVID-infected student or family member. Her familiarity with the online school system has affected her grades in a variety of ways. 

Last Monday on Nov. 9, she received a horrendous phone call from her mother during power hour; she had tested positive for COVID. Since this is not the first time Ryen has had to quarantine, she simply told the office and went home to pack some belongings so she could stay at a friend’s house while her mom recovered.

Although Ryen has been quarantined twice this school year, she has not tested positive for COVID during her absences. She said that the CF district has not put students’ best interest into account regarding academics. “I am so behind and confused because of online learning.” She has not been able to keep up with her schoolwork and has fallen slightly behind others in her classes. 

Ryen knows seven students that are in the same situation as her. “It’s unfair that so many students have to miss school just because they have been around someone with COVID,” she said. 

Last month when she first quarantined, the school never told her who she was infected by. “They didn’t really tell me anything, just sent me out,” she said. 

Regarding staying home for two weeks, even though she hasn’t been around her mother, she said, “I honestly don’t care anymore.” Ryen said she  has simply lost her motivation to try her hardest in school. 

Last year, she said her grades were phenomenal. Now, she’s failing some of her classes, which she blames on quarantining. Ryen said she hopes that the number of cases in Black Hawk County will go down soon, so in-person school will continue. “I hope we don’t go online permanently. If we do, I’m failing out of school,” she said. 

Sophomore Sam Jeanes is currently in the same situation as Ryen. Jeanes’ father tested positive for COVID last week, resulting in her and her siblings to quarantine at home. Jeanes, who never tested positive, has drastically fallen behind in her schoolwork. Although this is her second time quarantining, Jeanes is still trying to catch up from her first time staying home for two weeks, which happened in September. 

Jeanes said that staying home for two weeks at a time while her friends are at school is extremely depressing. She said, “I’m home, doing nothing, not being able to hang out with people. It really affects my schoolwork badly. I’m really behind.” 

Jeanes said she is glad that her school district is taking the most necessary precautions, but she said that she wished she could have just gone to school since she knew she didn’t have COVID. She said that forcing students to stay home for two weeks, regardless of being sick, is a waste of time. “There’s no point. If you’re just gonna send people home, just close down the school.”

Sophomore Maggie McCullough, who does online classes, said she is frustrated with how the district has handled quarantines this year too. In her opinion, the curriculum being taught is not effective. “All they do is give us students piles of assignments after piles of assignments and quarantining a certain group of people, and then they’re behind just to be put back into school merely for the same process to happen again. It makes no sense,” she said. McCullough suggests shutting down altogether until cases regulate again, and then, maybe, think about reopening the school to all students. 

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