Large indoor gatherings at schools not allowed just yet; Board cites high number of Covid cases

As of late Thursday, the district was reporting 186 COVID-19 cases on an online dashboard it maintains, including 143 among students.

With indoor and outdoor venues once again hosting large crowds at the same time school starts, you can’t blame students at Palm Springs High School from feeling a little confused: They’re still prohibited from gathering indoors to do anything at all in large in large numbers.

At issue: A dozen students attended the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) Board of Education meeting this week to have their concerns heard and attempt to compromise with district officials. They were represented by Anjolie Manjarrez, a senior who currently serves as Associated Student Body (ASB) president.

  • Many students, including those in their final year at the school, were looking forward to rallies and dances, but can’t have them indoors due to ongoing COVID-19 regulations.
     
  • Holding them outdoors in triple-digit temperatures, Manjarrez said, is not exactly a solution, because “It’s too hot to be outdoors for an extended period of time.”

  • Manjarrez offered that students would be willing to wear masks and make other adjustments If they were once again permitted to gather in large groups.

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Board members and Superintendent of Schools Mike Swize were sympathetic. Still, they said that for now they will continue to follow guidance that recommends against large indoor gatherings.

  • “I know if I was a high school senior, I would feel pretty sad not having a dance or a rally in the first month of my senior year. I don’t think it will be that way forever, and my heart certainly goes out to students.” – Superintendent Mike Swize

Bigger picture: Increased vigilance is necessary, officials said Tuesday evening, because PSUSD currently has the highest rates of any school district in the Coachella Valley. That could be due to the fact its school year started earlier, but “We are seeing an increase,” Swize said, adding, “Those numbers do concern me.”

  • As of Thursday afternoon, the district was reporting 186 cases on an online dashboard it maintains, including 143 among students.

  • The most cases are at Palm Springs High School. Where 17 students and three staff members reported they were infected with Covid.

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