A recap of COVID-19 at VHS


The past six months graph for positive cases in Ventura County, showing the winter omicron surge from January to mid-February. Photo by: New York Times

Sophia Denzler

How has the 2021-22 school year gone in terms of COVID-19 safety?

The third year since the very first COVID-19 shutdown has recently passed. With the first COVID-19 case popping up in late 2021, the world became in a state of pandemic a couple months later. The first shut down for VUSD was issued March 12, 2020, which stayed in place for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year and the beginning of the 2020-21 year. On April 1, 2021, VUSD opened a hybrid learning plan, forming A, B and C groups to divide how many students are at school. The 2021-22 school year started back fully in-person.

The 2021-22 year went through a large jump in numbers after winter break. Events such as the Senior Ball were postponed, but no major changes in guidelines were made. California Governor Newsom made public schools unable to shut down fully due to COVID-19, this made VHS unable to transfer online during the 2021-2022 winter surge, when there were almost 3,000 cases on a seven day average in Ventura County. 

After masks had been required indoors for the beginning of the school year, on March 14, 2022, mask mandates were dropped in school settings. Currently, in health and safety protocol papers around campus, masks are still advertised as strongly recommended by the district. 

Senior Breahna Roark said, “I think VHS/VUSD handled the pandemic as well as they could, they took a very strategic approach in keeping their faculty and students safe in which I’m sure we are all grateful for. I don’t wear my mask anymore because I’m boosted and you know, it’s just a personal choice that I’m comfortable with.” In the beginning of January 2022, the COVID-19 booster shot was approved by the FDA for 12-17 year olds, right when the cases were starting to peak. The booster offered additional protection, but it is still possible to have a ‘breakthrough infection’ after being vaccinated and/or boosted.” 

Major COVID events and the numbers in Ventura County and the US at that time. Graphic by: Sophia Denzler

Senior Ryan Palmisano said, “Personally I was more cautious, but it did feel like it was up to the individual if they wanted to follow precautions or not.” 

Palmisano said, “I think that we handled it [the pandemic] fine, personally I would’ve preferred a little bit more enforcement at the beginning of the year. I wasn’t really too worried about catching COVID, but I was worried I might spread it to the people I am close to.” Experts argue that COVID-19 may be moving towards becoming an endemic, instead of a pandemic. Between multiple variants, new vaccines and record peaks, the future of COVID-19 has yet to be predicted, the VUSD COVID-19 resources, along with the school dashboards can be found here.