Wilson needs a public record of community COVID-19 cases

Nacala Williams

COVID-19 has shown minimal evidence of stopping anytime soon, and teachers and staff have fought hard to keep school closed and only go back when it is safe. It’s simple: in order for school to reopen, COVID-19 cases have to drop. However, this raises an interesting question: Should there be a published account of how many COVID-19 cases are in Wilson’s student/teacher body?

I think that there should be available quantitative data of COVID-19 cases within the schools student/teacher community. COVID-19 is dangerous and highly contagious. We need data, especially when there is a conversation about whether or not it is safe to return to school. A public record of case numbers with names conflicts with people’s right to privacy because it gives information on people’s identity and health information. However, it’s extremely important that people within the Wilson community consent to having their name on a list. Over 22 million people have gotten the virus in the U.S and 370,000 plus people have died of it. Although people’s privacy may feel invaded by a publicized list, it could prevent more people from getting the virus and potentially save a student, parent, or faculty member’s life. Staff are at Wilson everyday to use classrooms, offices and to get supplies. Although they are following CDC guidelines, it is still possible for COVID-19 to spread. Some faculty and staff could be asymptomatic and can pass it to others if they come in contact with each other. 

Without a publicized count of how many cases are within our community, there’s lot’s of uncertainty which leaves opportunity for the virus to spread faster. School may be virtual right now, but Wilson students still hang out with one another. The lack of information allows students to unknowingly associate with other students who may have come in contact with COVID-19. Over 2,000 students and teachers are at Wilson. The school is overcrowded, and social distancing is near impossible on a normal school day. To ensure that everyone is safe, we have to know how many people have Covid-19.

 Without a case count within the Wilson community, students and staff are at risk. It possibly results in returning to school blindly and, given the seriousness of this virus, making a blind decision is irresponsible. Data on case numbers helps the Wilson community feel informed and safer. This allows for students and faculty to feel comfortable and confident in returning to school. The only way that a published account wouldn’t be necessary would be if staff were unable to use the building, and if returning to school were not an option. At that point, a count would not necessarily make a difference; it would just make people feel up to date.