Students congregate in the high school quad, largely unmasked. Country Day's guidelines for the 22-23 school year removed all masking requirements. (Photo by Adam Akins).

Country Day removes Pick-Up Patrol and biweekly testing for new year

Country Day announced 2022-23 COVID-19 policy revisions in a recent schoolwide email.

The major changes include optional masking indoors and outdoors, less frequent COVID-19 testing and the elimination of the Pick-Up Patrol app.

All policy changes follow the Sacramento County guidance for schools, said Head of High School Lee Thomsen.

Biweekly testing is no longer required. However, all students are required to test before the first day of school and after major breaks, such as spring and winter breaks, though this is subject to change.

“The county recommends dropping frequent testing because surgical testing is more beneficial and a better use of resources,” Thomsen said.

Junior William Holz agrees with the COVID-19 testing changes.

 “I think we’re slowly being able to transition into a regular school year,” he said.

Holz said that wearing masks and biweekly testing is too excessive because so many members on campus have already been vaccinated.

Masking outdoors and indoors is optional, but is still strongly recommended by the school. 

Masks have always had a strong impact on people, whether they are unmasked or masking, Thomsen said.

“As a school we want to be respectful of anyone who decides to mask, even when they don’t have to,” Thomsen said.

However, individuals who are recovering from COVID-19 or are close contacts with someone who has COVID-19 must wear a mask for 10 days.

Families of close contacts or COVID-19 exposed family students will be notified and given instructions for masking and testing by the school.

Thomsen said that these changes to the COVID-19 policy would allow important parts of the school to come back, like field trips for all grade levels.

“I think that these policies will progressively but cautiously get us back to resembling a new normal.”

In addition to biweekly testing, the Pick-Up Patrol app will no longer be in use.

The app reminds Country Day families of COVID-19 symptoms. Parents, or students, had to  fill out the app’s list of COVID-19 symptoms by checking whether or not their families experienced any of them.

According to Thomsen, Pick-Up Patrol helped to remind the community of COVID-19 symptoms and to be aware of the symptoms, but eventually outgrew its usefulness and took too much of the students’ time.

Thomsen said the app became less essential as the number of positive cases on campus declined.

“Barring a major outbreak on campus or a resurgence statewide, we’re getting much closer to what school used to look like,” Thomsen said.

The Country Day community is close-knit, almost like a family,  but COVID-19 restrictions, such as masks, threaten that bond, Holz said.

Holz struggled to bond with the community during his first year at Country Day due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  

“I just don’t want the same to happen to anybody else,” Holz said.

— By Ishaan Sekhon

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