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Our opinion: Pacelli’s fast action an example of good caution

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the recurring concerns is getting kids back in school.

It’s been a nagging question throughout last year and into this year, even though recommendations relaxed and schools began welcoming students back either full time or in a hybrid type of situation.

The pandemic forced schools to look at how it educated its students with some of the most stressful times coming early on when districts pivoted to distance learning. It was never ideal and schools were forced to learn on the fly.

There was no clearer example of trial by fire, and yet districts — including Austin and Pacelli — did their level best, improving by leaps and bounds comparatively to last spring.

However, there were and continue to be gaps as schools recover and those in administrations will admit to as much. Nothing makes up for having students in seats and so as recommendations relaxed, teachers, families and students were happy to see schools begin to get back to some semblance of business as usual.

Still, districts have to be on guard and that’s why it’s bolstering to see Pacelli react to their COVID situation on Monday. On Sunday, administration was notified that somebody within the school tested positive for COVID-19. Administration reacted swiftly.

“We’re just trying to keep the kids safe,” said Principal Kane Malo. “We’re trying to finish the school year on a strong, healthy note.”

There was no outbreak at the school, but administration understood that taking steps now would result in students being able to continue again and experience those things that make high school experiences special for students.

The more you do now, the more you can do later. Pacelli administration felt confident that closing the school for two weeks now would result in a successfully completed school year down the line.

Austin Public Schools has been making moves like this throughout the year as well and while it’s understandable that some families would be frustrated by this latest move by Pacelli and ones before it, the fact remains that this kind of action will make the school better off in the future, and with variants of COVID-19 posing more of a threat to younger people, we’re comforted to know that our schools are willing to make these types of decisions to help ensure students get their school experiences.