Editorial: The Community Health Pledge

High school inevitably brings more responsibility for teenagers, especially at MBS, where students are given a tremendous amount of time during the school day to spend on activities of their choice.  With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, even greater levels of responsibility must be exercised by all, including high school students.  The current situation is not ideal for any student, especially those researching colleges or hoping to enjoy their final months of high school as the many classes have before them.  However, it is our collective duty to help to maintain the health and safety of the MBS community.  Whether that means wearing masks, eating lunch in advisory behind plexiglass, social distancing, or giving up past traditions such as attending sports games dressed as a Crimson Crazy, we must prioritize the well-being of every community member and not just ourselves.  

…it is our collective duty to help to maintain the health and safety of the MBS community.

Without the unified determination and cooperation of our School community, the virus will continue to rob us of our ability to remain on campus, as it did last spring and has intermittently this year.  Although acclimating to a new ways of doing things is not easy – in fact, it is incredibly difficult – we can still create special moments if we make the effort.  This is the time to reimagine our day-to-day activities in innovative ways.  Make an effort to create new traditions for those we have lost – watch an online stream of a hockey game over Zoom with friends (still dressed as a Crimson Crazy) instead of going to Mennen, or attend a Virtual Pet Show hosted by Mental Health Matters instead of playing with your friend’s dog.  The possibilities are vast if you put your minds to it.

It is understood among the medical community that quarantine and the isolation of social distancing can heighten mental health issues, especially among teens who are already vulnerable to increased social pressure.  Without taking the adequate measures to combat COVID-19, we will only spend more time in isolation and these issues will only worsen.  To ensure mental safety, physical safety must be prioritized.  A lack of civic responsibility can lead to drawbacks far beyond punishments from MBS, including serious health issues for classmates and teachers – according to a report from Harvard Medical School, half or more of those who contract COVID-19 have long-term symptoms lasting months, even in younger patients.

It is especially important to refrain from the mindset that “nothing will happen to me, I won’t get sick,” or “I’m young, even if I do get sick, I’ll be fine.”  Every one of your actions impacts the rest of the community, not just you. You may not have strong symptoms, but someone you pass it to might. We should be following the spirit of the Community Health Pledge, not just the words themselves by taking precautions beyond those specifically outlined.  When you decide to do something, think not only of yourself.  Think of the person who sits next to you in English class with asthma, or the member of your advisory group who might have to take a standardized test next weekend.  How will your actions impact them?

Every one of your actions impacts the rest of the community, not just you.

MBS faculty and staff are working tirelessly to maintain our safety, whether it be ensuring that each student is practicing social distancing guidelines or helping with COVID test collection and distribution.  Our weekly tests may hold the community accountable in a larger sense, but we need to hold each other accountable as well.  Although it may feel awkward, tell the person wearing their mask under their nose to pull it up, ask your classmate to stand six feet away from you if they are getting a bit too close, and say no to attending a big weekend get together with friends or extended family.  You need to feel comfortable at school, but so does everyone else.  It is okay to set boundaries, especially ones that abide by the Community Health Pledge.

Do you feel that there should be repercussions for violating the Community Health Pledge off campus?


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There are ways to alleviate the discomforts of the pandemic when we are on campus.  Most teachers are more than willing to give mask breaks, and a breath of fresh air can always improve a difficult day.  As the weather improves, try to get your Advisory to eat lunch out in the sunshine, or convince a teacher to hold class on the quad.  By adapting our daily activities to the present circumstances, we can create new lasting memories.

We decide how we let COVID-19 impact the rest of our school year.  While the spread of the virus is often unpredictable and beyond our control, there is still so much we can do to combat the pandemic.  By honoring the core values of MBS – namely cooperation, empathy, independence of mind, and awareness of diverse perspectives – we can limit the spread of the virus on campus, and maintain in-person learning for as many days as possible.  And for that we will all be thankful.