Loyola Leads on Covid Safety


The Year

Students distance and wear masks to stay safe during the Covid epidemic. Loyola leaders work hard to ensure the community’s safety.

James Casey, Writer

After more than a year of stressful learning, spotty internet, and social distancing guidelines, Loyola Academy seems to have gotten a hold of the Coronavirus. Students across grade levels once again enjoy an in person learning environment, and teachers finally get the opportunity to connect with their students as people instead of rectangles.

Junior Israel Starks says he “likes the learning aspect of being back in person.”

Senior Anna Byrne likes, “Seeing everyone that I couldn’t see last year.” 

Yet, even with the worst behind us, trouble lurks ahead. The Delta variant, being twice as contagious as the original virus, is rapidly infecting people, filling up hospital beds, and destroying trust in the American medical system. 

Loyola Academy isn’t entirely safe either. On any given day, 2,000 students walk the halls of Loyola. Corridors are often crowded, and teachers become frustrated trying to persuade students to pull up their masks. 

Despite the gloomy details about the virus, Loyola Academy leadership has carefully planned for this year, and continues to stay on the side of caution. In the early days of the pandemic, Loyola stayed consistent in their guidance, shutting down the school for months, and instituting strict Covid prevention tactics when students were in the building. 

Executive Vice President Dennis Stonequist discussed how Loyola combats the inherent risks that come with a student body the size of Loyola’s. Mr. Stonequist said it’s difficult to make policy decisions for 2,000 people, especially considering mixed messages coming from government and public health officials. “You have to lead with caution in this thing because we want everyone to feel safe here.”

Nurse Braasch, one of Loyola’s Covid recovery leaders and organizer of Loyola’s vaccine event, has also cited changing guidance as a burden. “[Changing guidance] makes it confusing for families and parents to understand what is going on because the guidance keeps changing for schools.” 

In the face of a possible winter Covid spike, Mr. Stonequist says Loyola continues to trust in the uses of masks and on the ability of Loyola community members to continue upholding Covid guidelines. Despite worry stemming from the chaos in the outside world, there has been relatively low transmission rates at Loyola Academy. Loyola managed to function through the worst of the pandemic. 

Mr. Stonequist remains optimistic too. “I have never been more proud of the students, faculty, staff, parents, and our community as a whole.”