The Student News Site of Traverse City West Senior High

The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist


Should School Personnel Be Armed?

  • No (55%, 17 Votes)
  • Yes (45%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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Sickness Runs Rampant in Schools

As the cold weather sets in, an influx in sickness can be seen
Christina Copenhaver
Graphic Credit: C. Copenhaver/staff

  As the year begins, sicknesses are at higher risk of spreading in our school community. With students in such close proximity to each other every day and extracurriculars creating more exposure, TCAPS works hard to mitigate the spread of illnesses. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down, TCAPS staff has had less control over how students prevent getting sick in school.

  “As our country transitioned out of the immediacy of the pandemic, a lot of those restrictions around how kids interact moved away from being requirements, to being recommendations, to being at a student or family’s discretion,” Olympia principal Andy Wares said.

  During the height of the COVID pandemic, students were required to wear face masks and wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes. Now that COVID is a less pressing issue, those rules no longer apply.

  “Masks and wipes are still around the school, but as it became less about us telling you that you have to and people being able to choose to do it, I think fewer people are doing it,” Wares said.

  Logan Keller, a freshman at WSH, is involved in football, wrestling and track. Extracurriculars and sports can create an additional factor in the spread of illnesses. People playing more physical sports are at higher risk of getting sick due to the high levels of contact with many other athletes.

  “Some sports, when they have contact, can spread infections a lot easier than other sports like track, which is running, and not wrestling each other and slamming into each other,” Keller said.

  Being conscious of your health is an important factor in not getting others sick while participating in extracurriculars.

  “Make sure you are keeping up on your hygiene and make sure that you are not coming to practice sick because you could get other people sick,” Keller said.

  Liisa Szarapski and Erin Johnson are the district nurses for TCAPS. That includes the Great Start Readiness Program, preschool and toddler programs and all the way through high schools.

  “In terms of illness, we receive weekly reports from each school detailing communicable diseases such as flu, GI illness, COVID, strep throat and other vaccine preventable diseases like measles and chickenpox. We work closely with each school, especially if we see an increase in an illness, so that we can help provide support and guidance,” Szarapski said.

  Their jobs consist of writing healthcare plans for students, providing staff training on how to support kids at school and on actions in case of emergencies when it comes to medical conditions, monitoring immunizations, traveling between schools to provide support and assistance as needed and more.

  “Having experienced the pandemic, TCAPS remains diligent in our surveillance of illness. The pandemic reinforced the importance of different strategies such as handwashing, staying out when ill, masking and timely communication between students and their families and school,” Szarapski said.

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About the Contributors
Marissa Ansorge
Marissa Ansorge, Page Designer
Marissa Ansorge is a freshman in her first year of newspaper. Marissa chose to take this class because she wanted to try something new that the middle school didn’t have to offer. Marissa is a journalist for the newspaper team. Marissa enjoys playing travel volleyball in her free time and hanging out with her friends.
Lainie Rintala
Lainie Rintala, Podcast Coordinator
Lainie Rintala is a freshman at WSH. Lainie took newspaper because she loves writing and editing and has an interest in journalism. Her current position in the newspaper is a writer. In her free time, Lainie plays volleyball and also likes to read, go to the beach, hang out with her friends, and try new sports.
Christina Copenhaver
Christina Copenhaver, Photo Editor, Assistant EIC
Cici Copenhaver is a senior in her second year of newspaper at WSH. She decided to take the class because she loves to write and edit stories, and also wants to assist with the photographic portion of the newspaper and website. Cici currently holds the position of photo editor. In her free time, she loves to read, write, ski, and bike. 

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