Staff Editorial: MEA break travel requires collective responsibility

COVID-19 test should be encouraged after traveling

Travelers+wait+in+security+lines+at+Minneapolis-St.+Paul+airport+Oct.+21.+With+Park+students+traveling+over+MEA+break%2C+what+precautions+should+the+students+be+taking+to+ensure+safety%3F

Henry Harper

Travelers wait in security lines at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport Oct. 21. With Park students traveling over MEA break, what precautions should the students be taking to ensure safety?

With MEA break being a vital traveling weekend for many students to visit colleges, Park has given no guidance to traveling students for how they can stop the spread of COVID-19. The Echo Editorial Board believes this has caused confusion and distress for both students who are traveling and aren’t, respectively.  

In the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, Park never issued any COVID-19 guidance to students. Park only mentioned students should wear a face covering while traveling by school bus in the Sept. 19 edition of 6425 News. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people who get back from traveling should test three to five days after they get back. The Echo Editorial Board agrees with CDC regulations and believes Park should encourage testing for students who travel. To make it accessible, the Board believes Park must include a testing service open to all students.

At the start of the year, the administration tried to implement a testing service, but it was delayed until some time in November, well after the three to five days after MEA break. For students who don’t automatically think about how they could impact Park with their traveling, this could create or dissipate an outbreak.

Even with a testing service, Park might still be in trouble because many students may get back Sunday night from traveling or visiting colleges. The CDC recommends getting tested three to five days after travel, but what about all those missed school days before the students should get tested if they get back late? Are the students supposed to miss all those days? According to the CDC, the incubation period is two days. Even if the student got a negative test right after the trip to get back to school, they could still be contagious and not show symptoms for two days, while spreading COVID-19 throughout Park. This could be set straight by the administration by providing guidance, but instead, Park has left students out to dry.

Overall, the testing process is unclear and a mess. The Echo Editorial Board believes Park needs to provide guidance to students for when and where they should get tested, otherwise it will only cause stress to students who traveled and other students in the school district.