Attendance office emphasizes importance of weekly COVID-19 testing


Davis Marks/Chronicle

Before school starts, students gather on the fire road in order to be tested for COVID-19. This testing occurs weekly, with sophomores, juniors and seniors being tested on different days.

Davis Marks

The school issued a reminder to students about the weekly pooled COVID-19 testing policy Monday.

Upper School Student Discipline and Attendance Coordinator Gabriel Preciado wrote to all Upper School students explaining the details of the school’s policy. Every week before school starts, sophomores are tested on Tuesday, juniors are tested on Wednesday and seniors are tested on Thursday. Preciado said that it is students’ individual responsibility to make sure they get tested, whether faculty guide them to the testing tables or not.

The school had already been testing students and faculty since the beginning of the school year. However, Monday’s email served as a reminder for students to ensure they get tested and help keep the community safe. Previously, the testing policy helped the school in wake of a positive COVID-19 case in September.

Preciado reiterated that the testing policy is mandatory, and students who don’t act responsibly by getting tested will face consequences.

“Please be advised that COVID grade-level pool testing is a school requirement,” Preciado said. “If you are on campus on your scheduled swab day and fail to take your test, you may be assigned detention or similar consequence even if you are a student-athlete and may have recently taken a test earlier in the week.”

Students consider the importance of the COVID-19 testing policy 

Daniel Maresca ’22 said that he believes the policy of requiring testing is beneficial as it ensures COVID-19 does not enter the community. However, he also said he thinks the punishments for missing testing are harsh.

“Overall, I think that the testing is a good thing because it allows for the Harvard-Westlake community to stay safe,” Maresca said. “But I do think that the consequences for missing the testing are a bit severe.”

Sabrina Liu ’24 felt similarly to Maresca, saying that she feels safer knowing there’s weekly testing reducing the potential of the spread of the virus. Despite this, she feels that the punishment for missing a test is severe.

“I feel slightly more assured knowing that my peers will go through weekly COVID testings,” Liu said. “I’m sure that as we do more to keep the community safe and virus-free, the possibility of outbreaks and the return to virtual school reduces. Although I understand the rationale behind setting up consequences for missing the testings, I do think that the current repercussion of detention is a bit harsh.”