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The Delta Variant and the Educational System in Florida

Written by: Gabriela Chahade

From: Florida, USA

Edited by: Luana Mayer

Covid-19 has damaged several businesses throughout these past two excruciatingly long years; the educational system has been no stranger to the damaging havoc brought upon by the coronavirus. In the United States, students had a glimpse of hope for a normal, or somewhat usual, fall semester. Covid cases were at an all-time low. Vaccines have been available for youngsters since late April. Any person who wishes to get vaccinated can, for no cost whatsoever. 

However, in the past couple of months, coronavirus cases have reached the highest it has ever been in Florida. The Delta Variant, which originated in India, not only contaminates unvaccinated people but also vaccinated. Around 50% of Florida’s population has been fully vaccinated. Anti-vaxxers claim that the vaccines have not been tested enough and that the virus is not a threat. Few vaccinated people have become seriously ill with the coronavirus, while the vaccine is not one hundred percent effective, it dramatically decreases a person’s chance of becoming gravely ill if they are contaminated by the virus. 

Due to a high percentage of people who share this belief, many have refused to get vaccinated. Thus, with the new variant and unvaccinated people, the proliferation of the new strands of Covid schools have to, once again, deal with Covid while still creating a safe environment for students to learn and grow. 

I am currently a Freshman at the University of South Florida (USF). While I am currently living on campus for the Fall semester, three of my courses are being taught through an online platform and two courses are in-person classes. Some professors who have no been able to get vaccinated or have a preexisting condition are lecturing online, hence creating a more secure environment. 

Two weeks prior to classes starting students received a letter stating that faculty and students are obliged to wear masks on campus. The mask mandate had been lifted when Covid cases were low; however, with the escalation of cases, it has been reinstated once more. Several private institutions have made vaccination a requirement for attendance; nonetheless, public schools are not allowed to follow suit. Although they highly encourage students to get vaccinated as the number one prevention protocol, public schools do not have the authority to make the Covid vaccine mandatory. 

In spite of the fact that cases are rising, people are hopeful that the vaccine will once and for all end this pandemic. There are several campaigns encouraging people to get vaccinated and spreading awareness about the dangers of the virus. Students are slowly returning to an in-person school environment and with a buoyant outlook for the future. 

The Delta Variant: Feature Story
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