A common saying I hear these days is “I had Covid.” Covid is no longer something that I hear on the news, a far away virus, or something that infected that one family member who refused to get vaccinated. It has entered my personal circle, infecting people I personally know who are vaccinated and take proper precautions. When I see an empty desk at school, I cannot help but wonder if I will be next.
My exposure to Covid is high. I commute on public transit daily. I go to the gym three times a week. I go to a school with 2,700 other students. I may be boosted and wear my mask religiously, but I cannot help but be scared every time I feel a scratch in the back of my throat.
I would choose to attend Castro Valley Virtual Academy. However classes at CVVA are limited and do not offer any of the AP classes I am taking.
It’s disappointing that the Democratic Party, running on the platform of “listening to science,” has not followed its word. On the date of writing, California has 15,403 new cases and 194 deaths. That is more cases and deaths than what we had when schools were closed back in March 2020 and during the Delta surge in the summer 2021.
Although the Omicron variant has less severe effects, people are still getting sick and dying. Yet, those in power continue to push legislation keeping me in school and trying to return things to normal. Gov. Gavin Newsom passed a law that cuts funding from schools if they go remote during a Covid surge in an attempt to restore normalcy. But there’s nothing normal with half empty classrooms, substitute teachers, and getting emails about being exposed to Covid. Cutting funding from schools if they close due to a Covid surge makes an already strained system worse, forcing school officials to put money before safety.
As mask mandates for most businesses ended for fully vaccinated individuals on Feb. 16, the question now turns to when students can take off their masks. Removing mask mandates in schools, especially without requiring a vaccine mandate, is making an already risky situation worse.
The sad truth is that a sense of resignation has fallen upon me. I have accepted the fact that at some point, I will get Covid. Every day, I have to make the decision between getting an education or the safety of my community.