Jesuit Chronicle

As Oregon Battles Coronavirus, Kate Brown Says No School Until Infection Rates Drop

Pictured above is Oregon Governor Kate Brown (flickr.com), who ultimately decides whether or not Oregon High Schools can return to in-person learning. (Oregon Department of Transportation)

Last month, Oregon Governor Kate Brown stated that unless infection rates drop, students won’t be seeing the classroom anytime soon(Willamette Week).

The news came at a press conference when Brown announced that, at Oregon’s current rate of infection, it would take over 200 days to get back to school, although more recent data shows that daily case rates have risen more than 30% since September 11 (Willamette Week/OregonLive).

The Governor’s requirements for returning to in-person learning are a less than five percent positive test rate statewide and an infection rate of fewer than 10 per 100,000 Oregonians in each county over the course of a week (Oregon.gov). Jesuit principal Paul Hogan weighed in on this issue.

“I trust that Governor Brown is making the best decisions she can with the information that she’s getting,” Hogan said. “The 10/100,000 is a very strict measure compared to other states. At the same time, we’ve had families in our community that have experienced COVID and even one is too many.”

Principal Hogan also said that he believes the campus is safe enough to bring back small groups of students for in-person instruction.

“I do think we can begin to bring groups of students back safely, as other states have done,” Hogan said.

Junior Rishabh Sharma stated that Governor Brown’s shutdowns and mask mandates have prevented a lot of Oregonians from contracting the virus.

“From what I’ve seen and heard on the news, I think she’s done a pretty good job of trying to handle COVID,” Sharma said. “She closed everything down, and after a little bit she allowed some stuff to reopen but still restricted other stuff, and she has been strict requiring masks in public places.”

Although Sharma supports Brown’s efforts, not everyone in the Jesuit community thinks the same. Junior Matteo Campbell says her handling of the virus has not been satisfactory.

“Some of the stuff she’s done has not been extremely positive in my opinion,” Campbell said. “Closing schools way back was a very poor decision.”

As a result of Sharma and Campbell’s different takes on the Governor’s handling of the virus, their views of when to return to campus vary widely as well. Campbell believes that we should return to school as soon as possible.

“If people are so concerned with masks, why can’t we just go to school with masks on?” Campbell said. “People who want to go back to school on the hybrid schedule can go…and the people who don’t want to go back to school…can stay home and watch [Zoom].”

Sharma, on the other hand, believes that vaccination is when schools should open.

“I don’t think we can have full school until there’s a vaccine,” Sharma said. “In Oregon… [in-person] school should not be a possibility right now.”

But when might a return to campus happen? Principal Hogan gave us much needed hope, saying that hybrid school could come next semester.

“I think it’s going to take us through the fall to see if rates stabilize while people start to go inside,” Hogan said. “I’m hesitant to speculate, but hopefully we can enter a hybrid phase before the end of the semester.”

About the Writer
Photo of Anton Baricevic
Anton Baricevic, Managing Executive Editor

Anton Baricevic is a proud editor for the Jesuit Chronicle. As a member of the class of 2022, Anton decided to take Journalism because his sister Mia,...

Mental health challenges among students during quarantine

Charlie+Crusader+says+hello+to+his+geese+friends+over+Zoom.

Steele Clevenger

Charlie Crusader says hello to his geese friends over Zoom.

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-72461b20f0824d8fe148adc7df00670a.jpeg' }}

Mental health decreases amongst high school students during quarantine

By Steele Clevenger


Editor and Creative DIrector

It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has hindered people—with no exception for age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, or location in the world—from day to day interaction with one another. For students at Jesuit High School, they are spending some of the most formative years of their lives cooped up in their homes, missing out on the social connection required for the mental well-being of teenagers.

“Kids are struggling a lot more not being able to hang out with their friends, not being able to be on campus, not being able to go outside the house. It didn’t have as much to do with school. It more so had to do with the social aspect [of their day],” said Jesuit High School counselor Jason Barry.

Additionally, Barry noticed that social distancing is difficult, since teens are at an emotionally-driven stage in their lives.

Said Barry, “Teenagers struggle with [social distancing] because their first instinct is to hug and to touch. Look how many kids are shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, in the hallways or at Mass. They want physical contact with their friends. When you put five kids next to each other and tell them “don’t touch,” it’s hard.”

Teenagers aren’t the only ones having a hard time adjusting to the all-virtual school setting. For health teacher and Mental Health Awareness Club moderator Liz Kaempf, “For the first week, I went into school because I thought it would make the kids feel more like they were at school, but it just made me sad because I missed the students.”

Kaempf pointed out that while it is difficult for her to have relationships with the students, it is even more difficult for the students to have relationships with one another.

“The hardest part is not being able to interact in person with students and with colleagues. The kids give me energy, but I miss that face-to-face interaction with them because they get me excited for the day. Now, trying to develop relationships with students that you are just meeting for the first time on a screen is super hard,” said Kaempf.

Amidst the decrease in mental health, one Jesuit student not only noticed the disconnection and loneliness the Jesuit community is facing, but created a solution to ease those feelings.

Junior Jenny Duan, leader and creator of Jesuit’s Mental Health Awareness Club, recognized anxiety and stress amongst her peers, and has come up with effective ways to correspond with club members and focus on improving their mental well-being.

Duan said, “We try to facilitate conversations in our club and through social media. The other part of our club is focused on self-care. We play games together, we do short meditations, and we provide ideas for practicing self-care at home.”

What are some ways students can improve their mental health right now? Duan suggests focusing on what is most meaningful.

“Take a larger outlook on things. It’s easy to focus on a test or something, but we need to remember there’s more to life than that,” said Duan.

Kaempf encourages students to set a schedule.“Establish some type of normalcy in your day. Get outside, even if you just sit outside. Reach out to people. I challenged some of my students to text some of their friends and meet for a Zoom lunch,” said Kaempf.

Both Barry and Kaempf suggest ways to physically distance safely. They propose teenagers get outside and meet up with friends while wearing masks and remaining six feet apart.

“We want kids to be interacting. We had a lot of kids playing video games where you put on a headset and talk to your friends.” Barry said. “Some kids talk back and forth through social media—anything that we can encourage kids to do in a safe social distancing manner.”

About the Contributor
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Navigate Left
  • The Jesuit online club fair website in which every student has the opportunity to come and join the diverse variety of clubs.

    CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES

    Jesuit Clubs Have Returned

  • Student-led Organization Students Tutor Students Grows Drastically

    CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES

    Student-led Organization Students Tutor Students Grows Drastically

  • https://logos.fandom.com/wiki/Dairy_Queen

    FEATURES

    Dairy Queen Summer Workers

  • A student

    FACULTY AND STAFF

    Digital Learning: The Difference Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

  • 2020 Jesuit Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Logo

    CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES

    Creating lasting change in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department

  • Charlie Crusader says hello to his geese friends over Zoom.

    FEATURES

    Mental health challenges among students during quarantine

  • (Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)

    FEATURES

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion of Women

  •  ASB President Jack Ensimnger (left) posing with last year’s ASB President Will Deklotz during the Ignation Family Teach In.

    FEATURES

    Jack Ensminger: Bringing Students Together in a Time of Distance

  • Honoring our seniors: Shawna Muckle

    ALUMNI

    Honoring our seniors: Shawna Muckle

  • Honoring our seniors: Virginia Larner

    ALUMNI

    Honoring our seniors: Virginia Larner

Navigate Right
Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.
#Covid19