VIRAL IMPACT: BSM plans for coronavirus disruptions.

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Emily Barron

Plans have already been put in place in case a disease like COVID-19 affects the school and community.

Keegan Gustafson, Staff Writer

BSM cannot control the coronavirus outbreak inside the border of the US, but it certainly can control the preparedness within the walls of the school. Plans have already been put in place in case a disease like COVID-19 affects the school and community.

Although there is no vaccine for this virus, preparedness and awareness are both the best preventable steps to take to stay healthy. “What we do in these cases is we monitor credible information from CDC and MNDH. Through our nurse’s office we also get special updates,” Principal Dr. Susan Skinner said.

As of the time of writing, BSM has updated its plan of action and included details on the BSM website. These include:

  • Monitoring health conditions of students and employees
  • Daily cleaning of facility and enhanced cleaning procedures
  • Working to stop the spread of germs through the sharing information on effective hand washing
  • Monitoring reliable sources of information
  • Supporting students
  • Review of BSM gatherings, trips, and events
  • Ongoing communication with students, parents, faculty, and staff

Should a student or faculty/staff member have a confirmed case of COVID-19, BSM has a response plan. According to the school website, “the school would most likely move to an online learning environment.” Additionally, co-curriculars and athletics would be canceled and the school building would be closed. Canceling school would affect everyone.

Students will continue to work at home, and the same goes for hourly staff. On the positive side, they will continue to get paid when they are working at home. “If school gets cancelled I will work from home. They would supply me with a laptop and attendance still needs to be called in because students are expected to be doing their work,” Attendance Supervisor, Kathy Jacobson said.

Since BSM is able to provide computers for students, the planning for something like this is an easier process to tackle. PowerSchool and other online tools allow the school to have a viable alternative. “PowerSchool would be the main vehicle for communication. Much like they do now, they would upload assignments, communications, discussion boards and assessments. We would enhance that with other discussion tools, such as Zoom meetings or Google Hangouts,” Skinner said.

Students have also been thinking about this unprecedented situation. All news channels and radio stations are excessively talking about this topic. Many stores are out of hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Students and faculty at BSM have noticed, and some are starting to stock
up. “I have prepared by buying extra food and water for our cabin in case we do end up being quarantined. It said that all Americans should be prepared for two weeks at home without being able to leave their homes,” sophomore Mack McMillan said.

Teachers have been given a supply of Clorox wipes to help keep students as healthy as possible. Some think that using Clorox wipes is something that maybe should have
been practiced earlier. It is a good habit to keep surfaces clean and decontaminate them on a daily basis. “I think just in general, using Clorox wipes represents good health practices and I think when it comes to preventative health, it is a good reminder,” math teacher Mr. John Gross said.

Additionally, the requirements for Skip-A-Final for seniors has recently been slightly altered. Seniors are now recommended to stay home when sick rather than coming to school. Although attendance requirements have changed, expectations for grades remain the same.

Some people are choosing to ignore COVID-19. This could result in consequences McMillan said. However, there are also people who are well aware of the virus and are preparing for it. “There’s really two types of people: the ones that don’t care, and the ones that are aware and are preparing. We definitely shouldn’t be ignoring it,” McMillan said.

 

Editors’ Note: The coronavirus outbreak is a continuously changing story. Because of the immediacy of the issue, this information reflects the knowledge of our reporters as of Thursday, March 12. Please read this information with that delay in mind. For more information on BSM’s coronavirus preparation, please see bsmschool.org.