Assistant principal Mike Parker leads school through COVID-19 protocol

Maya Nordeen

Now that first quarter has come and gone, Assistant principal and COVID coordinator Mike Parker makes just how well Howell has handled this pandemic clear. 

Parker’s role as COVID coordinator is largely spent on phone calls and answering various questions by email.

“If students, staff, parents, if they have questions, they contact me, just to get an idea of what to expect. A lot of it is direction because people just don’t know so they’re looking for answers,” Parker said.

If a student tests positive, Parker’s job completely transforms.

“You have to set up contact tracing and figure out a student’s schedule, what classes they might have, who they were sitting near. We have to look at seating charts, what lunch they have, did they ride the bus, and we have to start calling home and quarantining students to make sure they don’t get sick,” Parker said.

One of the downsides as COVID Coordinator is Parker’s lack of interaction with students and colleagues since his job keeps him so busy.

“I don’t get to talk to the students as often as I would like, I don’t know a whole lot of kids, and I thrive off of those relationships, and really I don’t know all of the teachers the way I should,” Parker said.

To prepare for the incoming students in quarantine, not including those who chose to learn at home, Howell introduced an online learning option for those at home by using Canvas and Zoom. 

“Some kids do really well with it, some struggle. We’re social beings. We want to be around people, and that’s important,” Parker said.

Howell has been able to keep all case origins out of the building.

“Not one of our cases that we’ve had was picked up here, in building. Everything happens outside of school and is brought here,” Parker said. 

While Parker tries to keep that clean streak going, the best way the students can help is to be smart.

“I think it’s always important to remember to protect yourself. You got to watch yourself, right? … Just remember, use your head, social distance, keep your mask up, wash your hands, do that stuff, and we’ll be good,” Parker said.