Venice Students Complete Successful Transition Back To Classrooms Despite New Protocol Hurdles


Eric Lee, Editor In Chief

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As the Venice High community makes its way through the month of September and the school year picks up speed, students are still adjusting to the various health mandates imposed by the school and the district to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

These health mandates include weekly COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, mask-wearing, assigned seating charts, and the Daily Pass health screening system. In addition, LAUSD officials voted last Friday in favor of a vaccine mandate for all eligible students that will take effect on January 10 of next year.

“All of our guidelines are based on guidelines from the LA County Department of Health,” said Principal Cynthia Headrick.

“We go strictly by what they are providing, and then LAUSD takes everything into account to make sure that we are as safe and secure as possible on our campuses, and that’s one reason that we’re doing the COVID-19 testing that other districts are not implementing with the fidelity that we are,” she said.

There have been some setbacks, however, especially with the Daily Pass system, which led to long entrance lines on the first day back to school and on other days when the system failed to work properly.

“I think that it could be more organized in the morning,” said senior Evan Gartner. “There’s just not enough people scanning us in and there are lots of lines. Everyone should be more prepared.”

There have also been some changes to the contact tracing and quarantine protocols, as of August 30. Assistant Principal Yavonka Hairston-Truitt outlined these changes in an email sent to staff.

“Vaccinated students and employees who are close contacts [to positive cases] do not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic,” the email said. “They must monitor for symptoms for 14 days. They will continue to be tested regularly for COVID-19. 

“Unvaccinated students should test for COVID-19 after day 5 and if that is negative and they remain asymptomatic, they can return on day 8. Employees and students must be cleared by Community Engagement before returning to school/work.”

    Senior Thomas Kensinger, a football player, was forced to quarantine during the first week of school after the varsity football team played against another team with a positive COVID-19 case. He says he is glad that it happened earlier in the year, before the assignments had a chance to pile up.

“If I got quarantined later in the year, it would have impacted my grades, and it would have been a lot harder,” Kensinger said. 

“I definitely missed a lot of the introduction, so I had to dive into classes on the second week, knowing pretty much nothing. A lot of my teachers and classmates are definitely helping. They provide a lot of the information online, and those that don’t should definitely be encouraged to.”

Despite any hindrances brought about by safety protocols, the community at large remains optimistic and views these measures favorably.

Junior Sophia Lee feels that these actions have a positive impact on reducing virus transmission. 

“It’s for the safety of students and ensuring that everyone is able to stay in person,” she said.

Principal Cynthia Headrick said that the morning Daily Pass routine has given her a chance to interact more closely with students and staff.

“As much as it was difficult the first few days, it’s also been a great way for us as staff to connect with you all in the front of the school every single day,” she said. 

“I enjoy signing people in and seeing people, so that is one positive about this. And we’re all experiencing this together, so it really builds a community. We’re all wearing our masks, we’re all doing our Daily Pass, so it’s kind of like, somehow tying us together.”