VAPA students follow through with mandatory COVID-19 tests

Weekly COVID-19 tests are essential for students to perform

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Angelina Ruckman

Vocal Music Department members Aurora Goularte and Sofia Petroulias take COVID-19 tests in BVH’s gymnasium during fifth period. These COVID tests are available on Mondays for all Visual and Performing Arts programs.

Madison Knudson and Anaissa L. Del Rio

Every Monday, cohorts of students make their way to Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) gymnasium throughout the school day, following a schedule indicating which programs are allowed to get COVID-19 tested per class period. Students must provide negative COVID-19 tests in order to participate in their practices and rehearsals outside of school.

A new guideline was introduced by the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) to BVH, requiring several Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) and athletic programs to take weekly COVID-19 tests. This regulation was put in place because many of the programs participate in off-campus activities.

“I think we are all really grateful for [weekly COVID-19 tests], [and] that the school is coming out and providing the testing for us to make sure that we are safe and not just [saying] ‘Hey, you guys need [to get tested] [in order] to do what you’re doing but we aren’t going to help you,’ ” Club Blue President Alexis Garcia said.

Prior to Fall Break, COVID-19 testing had begun to be a requirement for the VAPA programs like Club Blue. However, the current requirement is not only instructed for VAPA students but also for many other programs hosting off-campus events such as tournaments, athletic games or rehearsals. 

[I’m] just grateful that we are able to continue doing what we are doing because it keeps us all safe”

— Club Blue President Alexis Garcia

“Anybody that has anything outside of school hours is supposed to be tested,” Club Blue band Director Mark McCann said. “That includes anything from Robotics, Football, us [Club Blue or] cheer. Anybody that has any practices outside of the normal school day needs to be tested.”

According to the website of San Diego Unified School District, the Mental Health resource center is a program that “provides comprehensive child and adolescent mental health services”; it also supplies the COVID-19 testing for BVH and visits weekly to perform the testing for students. Students are gathered in multiple groups depending on the size of their class. They then go through the testing procedure, where they head to the outside of BVH’s gymnasium where the organization performs the testing promptly.

“I have not received any feedback from team members but I would like to say that I am glad we are taking these extra precautions as it is beneficial to the safety of our team,” varsity Cheer Captain and junior Ariana Hernandez said.

Recently there has not been any pushback received from any students in Club Blue or the varsity cheer team who have gone through the weekly testing procedure. Many students have expressed feelings of gratitude for the tests as they are able to not only continue to take part in after school and off-campus events but also maintain the safety of students within their programs.

“[I’m] just grateful that we are able to continue doing what we are doing because it keeps us all safe,” Garcia said.

With the weekly COVID-19 tests available for students, they are able to continue participating in their activities while following safety guidelines. However, there are other guidelines the VAPA programs take part in, other than the tests, that pertain to the activities circumstances like special masks and bell covers used when playing instruments according to McCann.

“Regardless of where you stand on masks [or the vaccine], everyone at least in our program is on the same page; we want to keep doing what we are doing,” McCann said. “[Since] we were told this is what we have to do in order to keep performing, then we are going to do it because we just love making music together. We love being able to work together on a regular basis.”