Could Parties Derail In-Person Learning at RMHS?

Joshua Bedingfield ('21), Orbit Contributor

Since at least one area high school has put a hold on in-person learning due to a student party, is RMHS likely to experience a closure for similar reasons? 

In a news story about Lincoln-Sudbury high school, CNN said this: “At least 50 high school students attended a party hosted in the basement of a private residence in Sudbury, Massachusetts, on Friday evening — with complete disregard for social distancing and mask guidelines, according to the Sudbury Police Department. Because of the party, in-person learning at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School High School has been delayed, the town’s board of health announced.”

Reading does not want to be in the same boat.  I wanted to know how likely it was that RMHS in-person learning would be delayed because of partying, so I interviewed a RMHS senior to learn what the culture of COVID-19 rules were among RMHS students.

“I completely disregard quarantine protocol when it comes to groups of my close friends,” said William Xia (‘21). “At the start of quarantine social distancing protocol was followed precisely but over time with the same group of people we started to ignore it because we were so used to spending time together.  Masks are used when interacting with strangers in public places and I have hand sanitizer in my car for whenever my friends and I get food but aside from that I am bending the rules completely.”  It seems as if there is a new culture developing, that it is socially acceptable to break COVID-19 rules among close friends, but to follow the rules in public places and with strangers.  If Xia’s answer is common, then students of RMHS are deciding to take the risk of disregarding social distancing and mask rules with people they can trust.

So, how does this relate to the likelihood of school closure due to parties?  From what William Xia said, there does not seem to be a culture of massive parties at RMHS when bending the rules of quarantine, only small get-togethers with the close friends we trust.