At the start of the year, winter break was extended for students for a few days due to heavy snowfall. Then, as news spread about the Coronavirus, to avoid any liability in the event of cases, the administration decided to make attendance optional for two more weeks. Additionally, the school sent out an email that outlined the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
Many students took this opportunity to stay at home and enjoy a longer winter break, but most returned.
As the semester started, there was a commotion of rumors about potential cases within the community which led to students from East and Southeast Asia to face racist remarks.
“A kid from Southeast Asia has a cough [and] makes people worried and stressed and brings up their fear. Eventually, they make the person feel targeted,” Mrs. Deborrah Mondle, Alteridge dorm parent, said.
Even a sneeze, a symptom of common cold or flu, drives suspicion in students and leads to stereotypical comments.
“Flu kills many [more people] than the virus does,” Dr. Sarah Fanai, school doctor, said.
To prevent the spreading of these common diseases, which are a norm during this season due to Mussoorie’s cold climate, the school encourages students to wear masks to avoid giving or receiving illnesses. However, most students often refuse to wear masks. The ones who do are faced with jokes about having the coronavirus.
Additionally, in the past few weeks, social media has been constantly creating fear about the virus while also turning it into a joke. This, in turn, has led to people making more insensitive comments without realizing how they may be affecting others.
People know Woodstock to be an accepting place. A place where people from all of the world can feel welcome. However, in these past few weeks, there have been several baseless racist comments by several uninformed students.
Moreover, what many people do not understand is that the school has done everything it can to prevent the spread of the virus and that students, no matter what part of the world they are from, have been monitored by the health center.
“The travel history reports have helped the school a lot,” Dr. Fanai said. The reports help identify certain places people have visited and helps the administration eliminate all threats.
“The government asked us to monitor everyone who is prone to having any symptoms of coronavirus,” Dr. Fanai said. And, the government is satisfied with the school’s steps in educating its staff and students about personal hygiene and precautionary measures that are being taken.
Dr. Fanai is also in touch with the hospitals nearby and in Dehradun to see if there are any cases of the virus.
“Woodstock is a place far away from people which makes it isolated,” Dr. Fanai said. This greatly lowers the risk of the virus reaching Mussoorie.
Rushita Paladugu is the first person editor for The Woodstocker
Edited by Archita Aggarwal and Janvi Poddar
Photo by Fadumo Adam