Students Uncertain about NTI Days

A failure to properly educate students has left many worried that they won’t be ready if the school transitions to non-traditional instruction due to Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic’s effect is evident to everyone. It seems that after dealing with restrictions and rules for nearly two years, people should know what to do when their community is affected by Coronavirus. However, the ever-changing protocol has left many confused and disoriented, which may have grave consequences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website features a variety of measures people should take depending on a multitude of factors, including vaccination status, symptoms, and test results. Many Americans felt confused following an announcement by the CDC on Dec. 27, 2021, which reduced the quarantine time for unvaccinated individuals from 10 days to 5.

The buzz around the big change left many with the impression that everyone had to quarantine for 5 days if they came in contact with someone who tested positive, regardless of whether they were part, fully, or not at all vaccinated.

The volatile nature of the pandemic warrants constant alterations since every new strain of COVID-19 is different from the last. Experts believe that the CDC was not as transparent with its guideline changes as it should have been. 

It is okay to shift policies because of situational demands, but if people do not know why there has been a shift, the messaging becomes contradictory and confusing,” Timothy Coombs, a professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M, said. 

On a smaller scale, uncertainty occurred shortly after Fayette County schools returned to instruction, following winter break. 

A rapid rise in cases due to the Omicron variant, combined with forecasts of poor weather, led to talks about returns to Non-Traditional Instruction. However, multiple students were confused about what NTI would look like on a COVID day versus a weather day.

“I was definitely confused about the difference. I had no idea,” freshman Athena Mandzy said.

Following the first few days of NTI days, however, most students became aware of what they should do in case the district encountered another severe weather event.

Because the school has not yet transitioned to NTI due to Coronavirus, it is unclear whether or not these experiences will translate to a better understanding of “COVID days.”

The extremely infective Omicron variant appears to be on the decline, making it very likely that such a day will not occur soon.