Should vaccinated students have to isolate?

As the Delta variant is on the rise, the discussion of whether or not vaccinated students should quarantine if exposed to COVID-19 has sparked much controversy at Calabasas High School. With the uncertainty of the Delta variant that could potentially affect the health of students, staff and teachers, even those who are vaccinated should take the necessary precautions. 

The Delta variant, the current most prevalent COVID-19 variant in the United States, is an extremely dangerous virus that emerged due to a mutation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this virus is twice as contagious as prior variants and is likely to cause more severe long-term illness. 

The Delta variant has been proven to negatively impact everyone, no matter if the person is vaccinated or not. According to LA County Public Health, even though 85.9% of students are vaccinated within LVUSD, the COVID-19 vaccine is currently not as effective in immunity to the Delta variant. The current rule enforced on campus is that “vaccinated students and staff who are not symptomatic do not need to be quarantined if they are exposed to a COVID-19 positive or symptomatic individual” via LVUSD Parent Square.  In the event that an exposed individual contracts COVID-19, there is a significant potential of them spreading the virus throughout their time at school and beyond, even if they are asymptomatic. Therefore, vaccinated students who have been exposed should take precautions and protect their community by isolating themselves until their health status is proven safe. 

Throughout the entire pandemic, the majority of people have been dependent on the CDC’s guidelines. The CDC suggests quarantining and testing, no matter of one’s vaccination status. CHS should follow and strictly enforce that rule being that the Delta variant is very new and extremely contagious. As more knowledge and cases develop, the guidelines are destined to change, and CHS should adapt to those changes as well.

 Many argue that vaccinated people who contract the variant are less likely to face serious repercussions from COVID-19. However, just because a vaccinated COVID-19 patient has mild to no symptoms does not mean that they cannot spread the virus throughout the school. All students deserve to learn in a safe environment and no one should step foot on school grounds if they have recently been exposed, especially with no testing done. Additionally, many students and parents have been frustrated with the fact that quarantining also requires missing school. A simple solution to this is that the school should offer zoom meetings during support to help keep the isolated students from falling behind. 

Although the original COVID-19 vaccine is not as effective towards the Delta variant, the importance of receiving the shot should not be minimized. Vaccines serve the vital purpose of introducing your immune system to a specific virus. In the event one is exposed to the disease, the vaccine teaches their body to effectively fight off infection. It is important to note that vaccines aid in immunity but never guarantee full immunity. Receiving the vaccine will benefit the entire Calabasas community. 

The power lies in the hands of CHS students and faculty to keep life moving in the right direction. In the capricious circumstances being faced, people should strongly consider quarantining, getting tested and partaking in additional safety measures regardless of their vaccination status.