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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

COVID-19 cases surge as the 2022-2023 school year begins

Nancy Lin (’23)
VWS students line up in front of “Ye Olde Testing Centre” to get COVID tested after Thursday chapel. Per new safety measures, all students must get tested at least twice a week during their free blocks and can grab a tasty Hi-Chew on their way out. “We’ve been doing this since last year, so it’s almost like a schedule I have in my mind to get tested every week,” Zaneta Yeung (‘25) said. The new testing schedule is just one of the many new guidelines put in place to ensure the safety of the Webb community.

After a bizarre year of rigorous COVID-19 restrictions and altered school traditions, the Webb community began 2022-2023 in hopes of a year of normalcy. With a brand-new class of freshmen eager to explore the school and a jaded class of seniors hoping to recover lost customs, the new year started off with a bang… of COVID-19 cases.  

In an email sent to the Webb community on September 4th, Melanie Bauman, Webb’s Director of Wellness, reported 42 COVID-19 cases among the student population in the week following August 29th. In response to this recent influx of cases, the Webb Health Advisory Board drew up a new set of protocols alongside the Los Angeles Department of Public Health’s guidelines to combat the spread on campus. 

New guidelines included enforcing active masking in all indoor spaces, suspending overnight school trips, and prohibiting dorm-to-dorm visitation and overnight guests. The health center has sought to ensure additional safety of the community by implementing a 5-day minimum for isolation and providing access to the new Omicron variant-specific booster shot for those eligible.  

These new protocols have been working, though, as the virus’s hold on the community appears to be waning.  

“We’re already seeing [the outbreak slowing down],” said Stephanie Baron, Webb’s Health Center Director. “When surges happen — from my experience — it’ll peak, and then it’s up and down, and then you start to see it really decrease. Part of that is a function of fewer susceptible people to infect. We are already starting to see it slow down.” 

Although the surge of cases seems to be losing steam, the sheer size of this outbreak within Webb’s student population has thrown a wrench into several start-of-year plans across all ends of the school. With infected students out of the classroom for up to ten days at a time, those students, along with their teachers, may have difficulty getting back on their feet as the school year continues on. 

“We knew that we are still not done with COVID, so [the new cases] were almost an expectation,” said Esteban Vasquez, world languages department faculty. “I think being able to be flexible and have communication one-on-one [with students] is important…If a student is [sick] with the unfortunate disease, they can always email us, and we will find a way to accommodate assignments, work around the schedule for them, but the communication has to come from the student as well.” 

Students who are out sick with the virus, along with missing their classes, have not been able to participate in many of Webb’s start-of-year traditions such as the Welcome Back Dance, Casino Night, and Theme Week. 

I feel disconnected from my friends — especially now, considering it’s theme week,” said Parker Tanyawong (‘24), a student who was in isolation. “I’m seeing all of my friends through social media getting to dress up and have fun. 

Students who have not been out sick are also experiencing an unorthodox beginning to their year. Larger community events have been modified due to this recent outbreak, with Webb traditions like Theme Night’s all-school after party being shifted once again to individual cast parties. Even with small alterations to these events, Ken Rosenfeld, Dean of Campus Life, assures us that the virus will not stand in the way of bringing the community together. 

“There are always going to be risks, because you know there are things out there that can happen,” said Mr. Rosenfeld. “There are colds, flus, and this, and that. COVID, obviously, is different than those other things, however the number one thing we must address is what the goals are for community events. Our decision to have Theme Night outside is actually not even COVID-related.” 

The athletic department, on the other hand, has seen much more direct changes to their plans. The WSC football team’s highly anticipated trip to Pebble Beach to face their rivals, Stevenson, was canceled in response to Webb’s high infection rate. The cross-country team has also seen the effects of the recent surge — its overnight trip to Avalon was cut short. 

“The fact that we are a boarding school in LA country is adding a lot of layers,” said Steve Wishek, Webb’s Athletics Director. “I do know that our goal is to minimize those disruptions as much as we can. We know that it’s had an impact on the football team and our cross-country team’s overnight trip to Avalon. The testing has ramped up and we’re asking spectators and anyone who’s not playing to mask-up. The goal is to play as much as we can play.”  

Although this influx of COVID-19 cases in the Webb community is slowing down now, its effects may persist through the end of the year with many major events at Webb being adjusted. How we, as a community, navigate and persevere through these changes is incredibly important. A community-wide commitment to following newly imposed safety guidelines will bring Webb students one step closer to that “normal” school year that they have wanted for the past few years.

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About the Contributors
Nancy Lin
Nancy Lin, Editor-In-Chief
Passionate, open-minded, and ambitious are three words that describe Nancy Lin (‘23), and with these characteristics, she is ready to lead The Webb Canyon Chronicle as the Editor-in-Chief.  Nancy is a very involved student at The Webb Schools, showcasing her strong leadership skills as vice student body president, a source of her strong leadership skills. Nancy was first born in Shanghai, China but then later moved to Vancouver, Canada where she spends most of her time away from Webb. Nancy spends her free time in many different ways: listening to a variety of music genres, practicing golf, playing the piano, baking, and rewatching for the billionth time, The Notebook. On the days she spends at home, Nancy makes sure to visit her family, spend time with friends, and most importantly, see her dog Yuanbao!  Although she likes her sweets, like chocolate, she also enjoys a nice Italian or Korean dinner. She stays up to date on school events and is very passionate about international news and global affairs. This year, Nancy is ambitious to hit the ground running as a new Head Editor, excited to publish stories about Webb and the world beyond.   Favorite song: "Runaway" by Kanye West
Dan Danylov
Dan Danylov, Co-Editor of Sports & Co-Editor of Opinion
Most Webb students spend their summer at the beach or relaxing with friends, but Dan Danylov (‘23) is not like most Webb students. Dan spent his summer in Romania assisting Ukrainian refugees to obtain the proper documents and find flights. His willingness to help others in need highlights Dan’s dedicated humanitarianism and loyal friendship. At Webb, Dan is the head dorm prefect in Jones, which he claims is the best dorm on campus. He is a perfect fit for the prefect role; he loves helping his peers and is adept at making the lives of those around him just a little bit better. Dan also loves the arts, playing both drums and guitar, and is constantly listening to his favorite genre, post-punk, also known as soviet rock. Not stopping with music, Dan is an avid film enthusiast in his free time and recently enjoyed Sorry to Bother You, an Afro-Surrealist film from 2018. When he’s not watching movies or practicing the drums, Dan spends his time with friends. If you ever happen to drop by his dorm late at night, chances are he will be forgoing a good night's rest to speak with his friends and family on the other side of the world. Dan hopes to use his position as Co-Editor of Opinion and Co-Editor of Sports to improve his and his peers’ writing and advocate for issues he is passionate about.    Favorite Song: “Redbone” by Childish Gambino 
Stratton Rebish
Stratton Rebish, Editor-in-Chief
Stratton Rebish (‘24) is a man of many titles. Holding positions as Head Peer Advisor, Editor-in-Chief of the Webb Canyon Chronicle, the founder and president of the Webb Thespian Group, Stratton is, “kind of a big deal around town,” according to him. But within these responsibilities, he has two main passions: football and theater. As a varsity defensive end and football captain, you might not immediately think of Stratton as a theater kid. A single conversation with Stratton will brighten your day with his bubbly and dramatic tones. His hysterical jokes come from his love of stand-up comedy and comics like Hasan Minhaj. As for sports, he is an avid New York sports fan; the New York Jets and Knicks will forever hold a special place in his heart, even when they disappoint him year after year. Aside from getting grilled for his poor sports team taste, he is a self-proclaimed “aspiring grill savant”. He aspires to be a grill dad and loves a Southeast Asian dish called Satay. And when you hear, “So guys, funny story, right,” be ready for Stratton’s theatrics, because he will always be in character, playin’ his role.  Favorite song: "Life" by Sérgio Mendes
Nicolaas Grobler
Nicolaas Grobler, Co-Editor of Photography
Relishing all the small moments, Nicolaas Grobler (‘24) captures them all by engaging with different forms of media, from video editing to photography. Aside from this, Nick enjoys skateboarding with friends, listening to artists like Playboi Carti and Tay-K or watching some of his favorite shows like The Office or BoJack Horseman. This past summer, Nick returned to Long Island, New York, where he often returns each year to spend with his family. From working as a busboy to volunteering as a nurse, Nick was staying busy. Whether in front of or behind the camera, he finds a way to capture his passions in the spotlight. His interests in both business from trading stocks and the medical field have inspired him to pursue a future in the biotech business industry. As Nick enters his final year at Webb and in journalism as the Editor of Photography, he hopes to expand the media content he puts out while enjoying his last memories here, one click at a time.  Favorite Song: "Out On Bond" by BabyTron
Lisa Peng
Lisa Peng, Co-Editor of Photography
Zodiac signs might not mean much to you, but once you meet Lisa Peng ('24), you will see that she embodies her astrological sign, a Capricorn. Lisa, like a Capricorn, is known for being persistent, hardworking, loyal, ambitious, and often making her achievements seem like they take no effort at all. Over the summer, Lisa exemplified these traits by immersing herself in rigorous programs that exposed her to different creative writing styles. She attended the New York Times program where she learned new techniques and practiced her writing skills. As a Photography Editor at the WCC, Lisa will make full use of the techniques she learned and continue her love for highlighting individual people. In other words, you had better keep an eye out: you may be featured in her next story.  Besides being a part of the WCC, she is also bringing her Capricorn energy to as a day student prefect and plans to be involved in organizing more Webb events. This year, Lisa plans to keep up her hard work taking on her new editing position while also incorporating many new creative pieces to the WCC using her greatest talent: an effortless ability to bring things from her imagination to reality. Favorite Song: "Fallin' Flower" by Seventeen 

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