As the school year continues, so do the challenges of bringing students back to the classroom.
Local school districts have to abide by state guidelines and mask up indoors, but some private schools in the Coachella Valley allow parents to sign a waiver and allow students to go maskless, that may soon change after reports of a recent outbreak.
Parents who wish to remain anonymous reached out to NBC Palm Springs with concerns of an outbreak at Desert Christian Academy, claiming the school allowed parents to sign a waiver allowing students to go maskless indoors.
Other private schools in the desert did decide to align with state guidelines, requiring masks indoors.
“Currently we are following the state guidelines that came out this summer which require masks for everyone indoors whether they’re vaccinated or not, outdoors it’s optional, some children’s parents want them to wear it all day long and they do. some faculty wear them all day long and that’s not an issue either,” explained Alan Bruzzio. Principal of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School.
And when a student or faculty member tests positive, a plan of action has been put in place. Principal Bruzzio also said he is noticing increasing alertness coming from parents.
“It used to be, if a child felt sick but mom had to go to work, that was it, the kid came to school. now parents are keeping them home even if there is the slightest runny nose, a child says they don’t feel well. the best thing is they just keep them home just in case,” added Bruzzio.
Educational professionals chiming in saying parents should be alert for what possibly lies ahead for their students.
“The CDC told us that the next wave of the pandemic is going to be a youth mental health crisis. and one of the things we’re seeing is a spike in stress, another is anxiety, and the third is depression,” said Michele Borba, Educational Psychologist, and Author.
And as schools get ready to resume normal activities, some administrators accept that masks may be around for the long term, and everyone has to do what they can to protect each other.
“We’re getting ready for our first family fun night this Friday evening, we’re still doing all the things we used to do, and if it means wearing masks during the day and school, we can live with that. and if this will prevent some of that, like I said, more power to us because we don’t want to go back to any kind of distance learning,” added Bruzzio.
NBC Palm Springs did reach out to Desert Christian Academy several times, but they have yet to return our request for comment regarding the possible covid outbreak and mask mandates moving forward.