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Annual school sickness wave encourages caution amongst the community

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Anoushka Dugar

Since the start of the 2023-2024 school year, sicknesses ranging from the common cold to COVID-19 have resulted spikes, at certain points during the school year, of student and staff member absences from school.
The window between September through October is where sickness season starts, Assistant Principal Heather Morelli said.
Biology teacher Ann Nguyen said that she estimates about 5 to 10% of her class have been absent over the past two months.
“[The rise in sickness] is cyclical. It happens every year at different times of the year,” Nguyen said.
The first few months back at school are a general time for more exposure between students, along with warm weather which results in air conditioning circulating potential viruses, Nguyen said.
Due to lessened restrictions, not all students will stay at home if sick, Nguyen said.
“Students are kind of returning back to their old habits of going, ‘I don’t want to miss school, I feel I can still learn, I’m just gonna show up’,” Nguyen said.
Furthermore, there is no placeholder to stop students who have illnesses other than COVID-19 from attending school Nguyen said.
Freshman Austin Bea tested positive for COVID-19 around the middle of September after displaying typical COVID-19 symptoms of chills, and body aches. “-I think this was probably the worst sickness… I’ve gotten,” Bea said. Over a course of 5 tests in about 2 weeks, Bea said he continued to test positive.
According to Morelli, the COVID-19 protocol at MVHS is that students are recommended to test at home if displaying symptoms. If positive, they can come back to school after five days or as soon as they test negative. Students are no longer required to present a negative test after being sick like in the past.
Due to these changed protocols, students can come to school even if they are actively displaying sickness symptoms.
“There are kids that come to school sick and not masked … and there’s not a lot you can do about it. You can just only really protect yourself,” Nguyen said.
Junior Juliette Bru said she has gotten COVID-19 three times over the past two years, and her most recent case was around a month ago. Bru was absent from school for a week, and experienced symptoms of painful headaches, stomach issues, and intense fever.
“It was probably like the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, but like worse than the flu,” Bru said.
Bru had attended a Drake concert at the Chase Center a week before she got sick, where she said she most likely contracted COVID-19.
Both Bea and Bru said they are more aware and careful about getting sick now, after facing what they believe was the worst sickness they’ve had.
During increased periods of sickness, Morelli said she recommends students to carry a mask with them, as a precaution if they feel someone is sick in the room. She said she advises students to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep and to eat well.
“I know it’s old school when I say eating well, [but] either taking multivitamins or being really good about eating your fruits and vegetables gets the vitamins to help protect your immune system,” Morelli said.

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About the Contributor
Anoushka Dugar, Staff Writer
Anoushka is a freshman and serves as a staff writer for the Oracle. Outside of school, she enjoys baking, watching movies, and dancing.
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