Westwood High School Shifts Fully Remote due to COVID Outbreak

By: Regina Gemba — Correspondent

After Halloween, Massachusetts has seen a record-setting upward trend in Covid-19 cases. Many speculate that this is due to people, more specifically young teenagers, gathering and partying on the holiday without regard for standard Covid safety precautions.

Westwood High School recently went fully remote and cancelled athletics after five students tested positive in the past week. The cluster of cases is believed to have originated from an indoor Halloween party where students did not wear masks or social distance. 

“My school was shut down last week because of some Covid cases that originated from a Halloween party that a few people had,” said Westwood High School senior Ava Pujado.

“I found out about this through an email from our principal telling us that school would be fully remote this week because of the party,” added Pujado. 

Pujado says she was frustrated over having to stay at home because of the party and that it is already a challenge for her to attend remotely for half of the week as a part of the hybrid learning model. 

“I was honestly kind of upset and disappointed to hear this because it’s already tough going hybrid—especially as a senior—and doing half of my classes online,” said Pujado. 

“When I found out I had to stay the whole week at home instead of going to school—which I feel like is a lot better for my learning—I was sad that people were being selfish and not taking the necessary precautions for Covid and putting others at risk,” Pujado added. 

Sharon High School senior Yesha Sharma says that she thought the Westwood school district did the right thing by promptly closing schools after many students were exposed to the virus.

“I feel as though the Westwood schools closing because of the party was a good idea on the district’s part because they need to do contact tracing and get it under control,” said Sharma. 

Sharma also says she was concerned that a similar incident could happen in her own district if students are not careful. 

“I really hope that something like that does not happen in Sharon because we have the special opportunity to actually go to school for some days, where lots of schools don’t even have that opportunity,” said Sharma. “It would be sad if we lost that because students want to party with one another.”

“I understand that nobody wants to stay at home on weekends, but they need to understand that the virus is a big issue and can affect everybody in the community—not just themselves,” Sharma added. 

Sharon High School senior Cleo Zhou said that due to the rising cases all over the country and in Massachusetts, she was not surprised to hear the news that a neighboring town’s school system had to shut down. 

“Hearing about the schools closing in Westwood was not surprising because it has already happened all over the country and even in our surrounding towns,” said Zhou. 

Zhou says that in order for Massachusetts and the rest of the country to get the pandemic under control, people need to quarantine and follow the rules.

“It’s frustrating because if we were able to quarantine ourselves like other countries have done—such as China where people no longer have to wear masks —we could be back to normal,” said Zhou. 

“I think if we just have a quarantine for just 4- 6 weeks like we’ve heard on the news, we might be able to finally get through this pandemic and return back to normal,” she added. 

Like Pujado, Zhou also says that she was frustrated at the lack of concern for the pandemic, specifically in her age group. She also says that the controversy surrounding Covid precautions is responsible for Americans turning a blind eye to the rules. 

Zhou says we are still in the middle of a pandemic and kids cannot stop partying. “Unfortunately it is impossible to enforce quarantine and return to normal with the people in the country and the controversy surrounding the pandemic and the precautions,” she added. 

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