Social Distancing Fails At Ocean City High School

Social Distancing Fails At Ocean City High School

A photo taken by an anonymous student shows roughly sixty 9th and 10th graders in the main gym with few wearing masks and little in the way of social distancing. 

By David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The photo was allegedly taken by a student, at Ocean City High School on Tuesday morning. It was the first day of school for the “O” cohort, during a period known as “Community Lunch.” On this day, due to it being a half day, the lunch period fell between 9:50am and 10:40am. According to the student, about half the students in this lunch period were outside when the picture was taken, as it was a nice day. It’s a long period at fifty minutes, so most of the students had finished eating by the time the picture was taken.

Community lunch is a period that the whole school has lunch at the same time. The idea being that kids can meet with their counselors or clubs, and get extra help from a teacher. It’s presumably a great idea in a normal year, but not so much in the middle of a pandemic.

Even though everyone is eating lunch at the same time, according to someone familiar with the school, each grade level has been given a specific place in which to eat. This picture shows the scene in the main gym with ninth and tenth grade students. School administrators were not enforcing social distancing and few students were actually wearing their masks. A witness claims there were three administrators close by when this picture was taken.

The student who took the photography wished to remain anonymous to escape any retribution from the administration.

9th and 10th graders sitting in close quarters for Community Lunch at Ocean City High School. Photo: Anonymous

In August, a student from North Paulding High School, outside Atlanta, Georgia, was retaliated against after taking a picture of her crowded hallway in between classes. Hannah Watters, the sophomore who posted it, said she was initially suspended over the act, but the suspension was lifted after a public outcry.

“I was concerned for the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county because precautions that the CDC and guidelines that the CDC has been telling us for months now, weren’t being followed,”said Watters.

A week after the photo went public in Georgia, North Paulding High School was forced to close after half a dozen students and three staff members tested positive.

Photo taken by Hanna Watters of North Paulding High School in Georgia.

According to one OCHS student, the area meant for juniors to eat in, the auxiliary gym, is even more crowded than the main gym, with more students than seats. The overflow is being forced to eat in the hallway.

Another freshman reported that she walked into the cafeteria on Tuesday and was so concerned with how crowded it was, that she chose to eat outside. Today, because of inclement weather, she ate in the hallway instead. 

She explained that it’s hard being a freshman because you don’t know any of the teachers or administrators. She said she had heard that some students, possibly with a note from their parent, were being allowed to eat in the empty classroom of a friendly teacher, but was unclear if this was a formal procedure or an under-the-radar arrangement.

After lunch was over on Tuesday, the Ocean City High School principal Dr. Matthew Jamison, reportedly announced that, “Lunch has been a resounding success.”

Let’s hope the results of that “success” are better than the optics.

If you have tips, anonymous or otherwise, you may reach us by emailing [email protected].
Follow David Todd McCarty on Twitter @davidtmccarty and The Standard @capemaystandard

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