New School Year Brings New Sicknesses


Outside of Hellgate’s nurse and health office. Photo courtesy of Ila Bell

Ila Bell, Reporter

You’ve probably heard it, the coughing, the sniffling in the back of the class. More and more people are missing school because of the cold that is wiping a portion of the Hellgate student body out. This is Hellgate’s first fall in two years coming back to school with no masks, and while Covid maintains, the large issue has proven to be a common cold.

According to a study by the CDC, since reopening of schools, there has been a spike in kids getting sick. However the sickness is not Covid but a virus called Rhinovirus, another name for the common cold. This spike in cold cases could potentially be due to a number of things: lack of masks, lack of immunities from social distancing measures, or solely due to the back-to-school germ season. 

Lisa Flanagan, Hellgate’s school nurse, has seen this outbreak firsthand. She said there has definitely been a spike in people coming into her office in the past weeks since school opened with a cold. Flanagan said the reason she thinks there have been so many common cold cases is, “I think everyone’s back together in the school not wearing masks.” 

This is unusual for schools since the past two years we have grown accustomed to the constant Covid cases. “We didn’t have the regular cold, we didn’t have the regular flu, for the last two years, we had Covid,” said Flanagan. 

While most students are coming to the Nurses office with just a common cold, a portion are still coming to school with Covid. The distinction is hard to make between a cold and Covid, and as we get more and more cases as a school of both it can be hard to avoid either. 

English teacher Anna Bacon has seen the growing sicknesses throughout the student body as well. Teachers are struggling to accommodate the increased absences as students continually miss class due to sickness. “One day I had like 8 kids missing in each class,” said Bacon. Bacon said she can also hear the sicknesses in her classroom, “definitely a lot of sniffing,” said Bacon. 

As the fall progresses and sickness continues, staying healthy is increasingly important. Flu season is approaching and illnesses often continually get worse as winter progresses. Especially now, washing hands and staying home when sick is important and can help the student body recover from the absences and colds going around.