Immunocompromised Remain at Risk

A lack of protections for at-risk people

     Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) have recently encouraged continuous masking to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, despite the absence of the mask mandate. While the Blake administration updated the masking protocol to optional masking around three months ago, the Blake administration has yet to address the safety and well-being of at-risk and immunocompromised students. This blatant disregard for immunocompromised and disabled individuals already exacerbates the pre-existing lack of support educational institutions have offered pre-pandemic. 

      Evaluating the vulnerability of our students, teachers, and families of Blake is a necessary measure to ensure the safety of our community. Community care involves wearing your mask, staying home if you’re sick, and getting tested regularly. It is also important to note that even though you may be vaccinated, you do not necessarily have immunity against subsequent infections. Being responsible about your transmission, as it poses significant risk to vulnerable people, is most important. 

      It is estimated that around 20 to 30 percent of people infected with COVID will sustain some long-term, and even debilitating, symptoms known as long-COVID. These symptoms entail migraines, brain fog, long-term lung conditions, and permanent vision and taste loss, among many more. 

     While vaccination has been proven to significantly decrease chances of long-COVID, they have also been proven to have less efficacy within immunocompromised individuals. Despite this, the Blake administration has not initiated any immunocompromised accommodations that we are aware of, nor have they provided any accommodations for students and teachers living with young, elderly, or immunocompromised individuals. Though these individuals may have not been eligible for disability accommodations pre-pandemic, they now find themselves with grossly inadequate protection, as the Blake administration continuously fails to prioritize their protection. 

     Jahnvi Chopra ‘23 lives with her mother who has beaten breast cancer. The Blake administration has never reached out to her or her family in order to prioritize their safety after the necessary mitigation requirements were lifted at Blake, such as the mask mandate. She states “I do wear a mask to protect her because I don’t know what I would do if [my mother] got sick again. I was pretty upset when the mask mandate got lifted because I know my mom’s immune system isn’t where it used to be, so this puts her at an even bigger risk for getting COVID.” She wants students, teachers, and administrators who ignorantly celebrated the mask mandate being lifted to know that “their selfishness is taking away from others.”    

This blatant disregard for immunocompromised individuals… exacerbates the pre-existing lack of support educational institutions have offered pre-pandemic.

The administration was far too quick to promote the “new normal” that disregarded the safety and well-being of immunocompromised individuals in the Blake community. Now, they have yet to prioritize the needs of these individuals, as they continuously fail those disproportionately affected by the pandemic.