EHS fire drill defies social distancing orders

Eleanor Hutcheson, staff writer

The first fire drill of the minimum five required by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety took place at Edina High School Monday, October 12, at 10:20 a.m. All students and staff were asked to evacuate the building and take into consideration the proper precautions to avoid COVID-19.  Although many teachers did ask students to practice social distancing, the majority of students did not.  

“I was actually taking a test that period, so like [at] the beginning of the class the teacher had given us a heads up that we would have one,” sophomore Sabeeh Mirza said. “It was so crowded like it was normal.” Many members of the staff did notify students they would have a fire drill but did not give specific instruction to stay socially distanced when passing through stairwells, halls, and outside the building. 

The event that was held at 10:20 a.m. did not comply with orders from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety that state, “Sufficient social distancing with at least 6 feet between people must occur at all times.” 

Although there were many people close together in a small space, they were not there long enough to be fully exposed to the virus. According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, someone less than six feet apart from a person with COVID-19 symptoms in a time frame of 15 minutes has a chance of contracting the virus. “The fire drill was a lot shorter than they normally are. Like for us it was only two minutes or something like that,” Mirza said.

Schools have been trying to add back scheduled events while tweaking them through trial/error to ensure safety for students and staff. “It obviously could have been better,” Mirza said, “but I think they did the best with what they could have done.” Although this specific event was considered to many as a disaster, future safety drills can be planned with more organization to guarantee the well-being of students and staff.