Weekly COVID Testing, Facemasks No Longer Required at Pali

After a year of following COVID-19 restrictions, Pali students are no longer required to test weekly or wear a mask on campus. In its commitment to maintain a safe learning environment, Pali’s most recent COVID protocols update state that Pali will continue to monitor positive case rates and provide updated information. 

These policies are in contrast to the 2021-22 school year, which included indoor and outdoor masking, weekly testing and mandatory quarantine periods for students who tested positive for COVID. 

Senior Carlie Given supports the new policies, saying: “I honestly like them because I don’t have to remember to get a test every week. It’s also nice because we can just walk onto campus, and we don’t have to do the whole checking thing and wait in the big long lines.” 

However, Given also said that she is concerned that some students will come to school while positive for COVID. 

“There isn’t much we can do because people aren’t afraid to lie, especially teenagers,” she said.

With a supporting role in Pali’s upcoming production of “Mamma Mia,” Given said that she is worried about COVID’s potential to affect her extracurricular activities. “Especially with ‘Mamma Mia,’ missing a rehearsal is a really big deal and [contracting COVID] would be really hard.” 

Despite this, Given added that “it’s nice to see everyone’s faces and not have to be forced to wear a mask every day.” 

Physics teacher David Schalek, who continues to wear a mask while teaching, also approves of these new policies. He said that “the school should adopt a wait-and-see attitude as the semester progresses… but [he is] fine with the way things are.”

“Initially I wasn’t OK with the voluntary testing… but we haven’t appeared to have had any outbreaks at school, so it seems to be OK for now,” Schalek added. 

During the first day of school, third period teachers distributed take-home rapid COVID tests to all students that wanted a kit.

On the other hand, senior Ginger Simpson has reservations about the new polices. Despite feeling safe among her more cautious friends, she remains wary of the virus while at school.

Simpson said that “there’s hundreds of kids at school who don’t even care and didn’t care last year when all of the stuff was in place.” 

She continued: “We should be doing more to protect [immunocompromised people] and just all of us in general. We’re not really being as serious about this as we should be.” 

However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the COVID pandemic is nearing its end. On Sept. 15, 2022, WHO said that “reported deaths have dropped to their lowest number since March 2020.” 

As this death toll decreases, Pali policies continue to adjust accordingly. With the guidance of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Pali’s latest COVID protocols update stated that they “are committed to ensuring the health and safety of [the] school community.” 

Despite these improvements, Simpson said that “we should be doing more, putting more things in place or just restoring the regulations from last year to make the school a little bit safer.”