Hoping for healthy holidays


Designed by Ari Shornock

OHS students and staff hope for normalcy during the holidays this year.

Ari Shornock, Writer

Some sense of normalcy without COVID-19 is beginning to return this year. Students have already noticed the change in protocols. In comparison to last school year, students get to be in school with all of their classmates everyday. Masks are recommended but not required at OHS and there is no longer a mandatory quarantine period for students that came in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but students can still choose to quarantine based on symptoms. With the holidays coming up, every family wants to continue to return to regular activities. Last year, it was hard to be separate and change traditional holiday plans. Students and staff are itching to return to an ordinary year.

One reason for cancellation of plans last year was the risk of getting senior citizens sick. There was a lot unknown about COVID-19, but it was common knowledge that the virus was dangerous for the elderly. Senior Grace Jacobs said, “The pandemic affected my family’s plans last year because we were worried about giving COVID-19 to my grandpa who is battling cancer, but now that everyone’s vaccinated and he has the booster we feel better about it. I think COVID-19 affected other people’s families like this too because of their high risk grandparents.” Some families had virtual gatherings over platforms like Zoom or FaceTime, and others still got together with caution and watched symptoms. Last year, students were attending school virtually so it boosted some families’ confidence in gathering all together.

Families and friends want to gather this year, but a large concern is keeping COVID-19 numbers down and keeping people healthy. Assistant Principal Secretary Mr. Mark Lysne said, “I know that right now because of the upswing in cases in Minnesota, they are recommending that you mask up if you are gathering in groups indoors. I think distancing and vaccination are probably the best tools we have right now.” Another concern is to keep students’ healthy so they can continue to return to regular school. Jacobs said, “I think that staying home if you feel sick is a good idea during the holidays so it doesn’t get spread around when we come back from the break.” School administrators will be watching numbers to ensure student, teacher and community safety.

Still, with all of the uncertainty, there is excitement for the most wonderful time of the year. Families plan on returning to gathering in person. Mr. Lysne said, “My favorite part of the holidays is getting together with family that you haven’t seen for quite a long time.” Students and staff hope to return to safe, fun holiday activities where they can make the most of the season.