Student Opinions Vary on the COVID -19 Vaccine Despite Proven Effectiveness

Story by Raquel Lopez

Like many other issues in theUnited States, COVID-19 vaccines have become divisive and politicized. Additionally, with the Pfizer vaccine being fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the possibility of vaccine mandates in public spaces is increasingly becoming a reality.

Currently, all evidence points to the conclusion that the vaccines are both safe and effective. Studies by the CDC show that all approved vaccines provide strong protection against COVID, including the delta variant of the virus. According to theCDC, unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than their fully vaccinated peers.

At JeffersonvilleHigh School, while vaccines are not required, they are recommended. At the time of this publication, the policy has recently changed. When school initially started, vaccinated students were not required to quarantine if they were asymptomatic and had proof of vaccination on record; on the other hand, unvaccinated students would have to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they tested positive or negative. On Aug. 24, Greater Clark County Schools announced that the quarantine time could be decreased to eight days if the student had proof of a negative test result. On Aug. 31, following the Indiana Department of Health guidelines, schools were no longer required to contact trace if a student were to test positive regardless of vaccination status.

Meanwhile, views on COVID vaccines vary among Jeff High students. While there are students who are clearly for or against vaccination, some students are undecided. Senior Claire Storz is pro-vaccination. “I always hear or see the numbers of deaths due to COVID and I want people to get vaccinated so we don’t have to lose loved ones. Or so I don’t have to hear people complaining about the mask mandate. I highly encourage it [getting theCOVID vaccine], especially if someone they know is immunocompromised. It can help protect them as well”

On the other hand, Senior Vaughndez Banes is against the COVID-19 vaccine. “I feel like theCOVID vaccine was rushed and I personally had COVID and I was sick like a lot of other people but it never got too bad,” Banes said, before adding, “and knowing the COVID vaccine won’t prevent COVID, only help with symptoms just isn’t enough to push me over the edge.”

In California, students attending Los Angeles Unified Public Schools are now required to be vaccinated by the end of the calendar year, according to CNN. Banes says that if vaccinations were to be mandated in Greater Clark County schools, he would transfer schools. “The way I see it is, if your mask works so well, why are you worried about mine. Same thing with the vaccine,” Banes explains.

Freshman Savannah Monroe is in the middle of the debate, supporting them in certain circumstances. Monroe explains that she feels as if maybe they were developed too fast. However, she also said, “But I definitely think a vaccine was needed due to the rising cases. But overall, I’m for the vaccines but I think they [scientists and the government] should prove the effectiveness and safety to convince the public to get them”

Staff Editorial: Climate Change Coming Home

For many years now, students at Jeff High have only encountered climate change through indirect information. We have read about it in textbooks and seen its effects from watching the news. But climate change is no longer limited to distant coastal cities and extreme weather events like hurricanes and wildfires. The effects of climate change are growing, and something must be done to tackle this threat.

In the past, when climate change was discussed in this newspaper, we primarily relied on non-local stories and scientific predictions, but recent weather events have caused us to wonder about the impact of climate change on students at Jeff High. This is a fact that many athletes know all too well considering the number of canceled practices this fall due to extreme heat.

Although the cost of climate change has only resulted in a few missed practices so far, future heatwaves may have more severe consequences for students playing sports at Jeff High. According to The New York Times, temperatures from June to August across the United States were the hottest on record. If we fail to respond to the climate crisis, then these heatwaves will continue into the unforeseeable future.

While it’s hard to attribute any one event to climate change, a recent report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists draws a devastating connection between climate change and an increase in the number of heatwaves across the U.S. Midwest. Unfortunately, these increases are expected to continue as humans pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Even under the best-case scenario, in which fossil fuels are curbed quickly, the report claims that “The average number of days per year over 90 degrees Fahrenheit are projected to increase 2-3 times by end-of-century.”

Heat is just one of many changes that we can expect to see until something is done to combat climate change. Although most of our readers are high school students, hoping for a bright future in the face of a global crisis created long before they were born, we can still take action to reverse the effects of climate change in our daily lives by conserving energy, reducing the use of plastics, and recycling, and by reaching out to our leaders, at all levels of government and business, by asking them to do their part to rescue this planet and preserve it for future generations

Staff Editorial: Moving Forward

This year, our coverage has been dominated by one topic: COVID-19. The pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives. Articles about what were the usual high school moments – sports, dances and clubs now included precautions and notes about how the pandemic affected the event. 

Despite this, we don’t believe the pandemic was over-covered, as its effect can barely be understood even now. Its impact has been all encompassing and has forced us to reconcile with long held beliefs and norms in the face of unprecedented change. We too have reflected not only on our work, but what this pandemic has taught us about ourselves and our world.

As vaccination rates rise and cases fall, life will start to look more normal. However, we as a school and a community should not immediately snap back to the ways of before without question. We would be remiss if we allowed this pandemic to come and go without teaching us something about ourselves.

Here are some things we have learned:

1.) We need community. While America has always been a nation that prides itself on individualism, we must realize that some issues are too widespread and important to face alone. In times of trouble we need help; we need each other.

2.) Division is our weakness. There are important differences in politics today, and those disagreements should be hashed out and vigorously debated. But it is when we fail to recognize our common humanity that those small differences become irreconcilable. That’s when we fail.

3.) School is more complicated than we thought. With virtual school, our learning drastically changed. For some it was a dream come true – the chance to work at your own pace and make your own schedule. For others it was a nightmare – sitting in bed on your chromebook with motivation decreasing by the second. But as we move forward we understand that school is about more than learning in a classroom. It’s about social interaction; it’s about the structure of the school day and it’s about our personal growth.

4.) We all can benefit from some personal changes. In quarantine most of us took up new activities. Whether it was crafting, meditation, or baking, we learned new skills, and as life slowed down we were able to make the changes that we needed. Many people also had changes to their friend group and peers. While change isn’t always easy, sometimes change is what we need.

5.) We need to pay more attention to local government. Often all eyes are on our national government. We hold our breath for presidential and congressional elections, but often the most important governing is done at the local level.In the beginning of the pandemic it was state governments that took action, shutting down businesses and schools in the name of public safety. As we attempted to reenter school this year, it was the school board who set guidelines and rules for how we went back to school safely. While sometimes hard to understand or less exciting, local government matters.

As we enter our new normal, we hope all people learn the lessons this past year has given us. As we head optimistically into the future, let’s make sure to not return to the status quo, but rather, to re enter our normal routines with an open mind, an appetite for improvement and the will to change our lives for the better.

Online Testing: The Challenge of Ensuring Fairness and Avoiding Dishonesty

Jeffersonville High School teachers are using a range of approaches to make sure students are keeping it honest when testing

Story by Amber Walker

With the introduction of Chromebooks, Greater Clark County Schools students were able to switch to online lessons and assignments relatively quickly and easily during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one issue stands out as a sticky subject: online assessments. 

Cheating on tests is not a new problem. Even before COVID-19, students were able to cheat using a range of methods, from writing notes on your palm to sharing pictures to wearing special sunglasses that allow you to spy on your classmates’ papers. However, the large number of students who are attending school online during the pandemic makes it much more difficult for teachers to spot and prevent cheating. 

Since the pandemic started, many schools have adopted tech solutions to prevent cheating. For example, GCCS Chromebooks have built-in monitoring software called Classwize. Using this service, teachers can monitor students’ screen activity and task behavior. Brittany Wright, who teaches Algebra 1 and Geometry at Jeff High, says she has used Classwize to keep students on task whether they are at home or physically in class working on their Chromebooks. “I can close their browser if they are doing something they’re not supposed to,” Wright says. However, the system is not foolproof because students may still have access to other devices such as phones and tablets. Still, Wright says, Classwize is “better than nothing.”

Some teachers approached the issue by making more thought-provoking, opinion-based test questions. English teacher Taylor Troncin says, “This school year, I have had to think outside of the box when it comes to assessments. Instead of doing multiple choice or true/false questions, I have started using more open ended questions, which challenge students to not only answer questions, but to explain their reasoning.” Troncin is also looking at the concept of an assessment more creatively. “I have moved more towards projects that can be completed virtually,” she says. 

While open-ended questions make it more difficult for students to cheat, there is a major drawback: it takes extra time for teachers to grade long-answer questions. 

Another tactic being used is scrambled questions and answers. Some teachers are also limiting the time students have to complete tests. Finally, open-book and open-note tests have become more common — even for traditional, in person classes. 

As for fairness, it might seem like online students have advantages over traditional students because they are not monitored as easily. Also, as science teacher Eric Robinson points out, taking tests at home allows for “opportunities that aren’t available in your more traditional classroom” such as a more comfortable environment. However, Robinson has noticed one thing in particular that works against online students: motivation. Robinson says, “It’s made students not as concerned about test-taking. It doesn’t feel as concrete to them.” In short, when it comes to testing online, Robinson says “there is more opportunity, but there is also less desire.”

The reasons students are inclined to cheat are often ambiguous. Perhaps it is done out of a simple necessity to move onto the next level in life. Perhaps it is done to achieve a perfect score or avoid failure. Sometimes students just don’t feel up to the task. Even if academic dishonesty cannot be prevented entirely, Jeff High teachers are taking steps to minimize cheating and level the playing field for all students.

Story by Amber Walker

Photo Gallery: It’s The Look of The Century

Vintage, Cottagecore, aesthetics galore! All throughout Jeff High, there are plenty of students who have their own unique sense of style. Some of these students agreed to an interview to talk with us about how it all comes together.

Captions by November Shawler and Chloey Trinkle
All photos submitted


When someone chooses their sense of style, it may come from a multitude of different sources. It could come from a certain era of fashion in the past, a certain celebrity who wears certain styles of clothing, experimenting with old items of clothing and revamping them into something new, or even just seeing something from a store and developing your own style based on that. Whatever it may be, everyone has their own taste and it comes down to preference. In the end, it’s all about expressing yourself.

Jeffersonville High School Leaders Considering Whether to Stick With Block Schedule Next School Year

At the beginning of this school year, Jeffersonville High School implemented a block schedule as part of the school’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. According to Principal Pam Hall, “When we went to [block schedule] shortly before school started, the main reason was contact tracing and limiting exposures. The other was to limit movement.”


Now, as Jeff High starts to plan ahead for life after COVID-19, the question arises: stay on a block schedule next school year or go back to “normal”?


Hall says the process of making that decision is underway, but it could take a while to make sure all perspectives are considered. Step one was sending a survey to faculty and staff. This occurred in early January. Of those who completed the survey, 55 percent said they prefer the block schedule and 45 percent said they prefer seven periods a day.

Staff survey provided by Jeffersonville High School


Next, Jeff High’s administrators met with leaders from] other high schools in the district. Those schools had also conducted surveys about whether to keep the block schedule.


The next step in the process is to meet with the building leadership team at Jeff High (a group of people who
represents different departments and interests) to discuss the pros and cons of each option. The survey data is just one part of the puzzle. They must also consider the potential impact on student scheduling, lunch times, teachers’ planning time and more.


Whether Jeff High stays on block schedule or reverts to seven periods, Hall says the longer classes have been
beneficial during this challenging year, and not just for contact tracing purposes. “We learned we need to slow down and make sure students have the skills to be successful.”

Story By The Hyphen Staff

PDF: February 2021

The Hyphen is back with our first print issue since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This issue includes:

  • News and reader voices about the possibility of keeping a block schedule next year
  • An exploration of the term “politically correct” and its role in today’s cancel culture
  • A photo gallery featuring students who have a unique sense of style 
  • Interviews with new boys and girls basketball head coaches
  • A look inside how COVID-19 affected this year’s wrestling season
  • And more

Download PDF

Photo Gallery: Winter Storms Coat Jeffersonville in Ice and Snow

Photos by Amber Walker, Marni Scholl and Max Fisher

Jeff High to Move Homecoming to Spring due to COVID-19 Restrictions

On Thursday, Jan. 14, Jeffersonville High School announced the decision to postpone Homecoming until Spring. The decision was made based on the results of a survey to seniors on when they prefer to have Homecoming. Natalie Bronson, a Jeff High science teacher who was in charge of the survey, said she and Principal Pam Hall were surprised by the survey results being in favor of moving Homecoming. 

They presented the option of moving Homecoming to the spring based on restrictions from COVID-19. Currently, Clark County is in the “red zone” – a label the Indiana Department of Health gives to counties most affected by COVID-19, because of the circumstances, Homecoming would have been very different than during football season. “The difference is we were outside. We didn’t have to worry about all that stuff,” says Bronson. 

Because of the circumstances, seniors opted to have Homecoming during baseball season, in hopes COVID restrictions will be eased by then. Bronson had some concern with the spring Homecoming citing that there are no sports in the Spring with a half-time.

Senior Kyle Guepe was indifferent to the choice, saying, “It’s not a big deal, when it happens doesn’t matter as long as it happens.” 

Junior Justus Bowman, who was planning to run for homecoming in the Winter, still plans to do so despite the change. She believes it was the right decision to push Homecoming to Spring saying, “hopefully our cases will go down, and it will be safer for us all to participate and enjoy ourselves.”

While most students and teachers seem indifferent or supportive of the change as long as they are able to have a homecoming, it is just another example of how COVID-19 has changed people’s lives.

Story by The Hyphen staff

Teachers and Students Pivot and Adjust to a New Way of Learning

Coronavirus forces sacrifice and leads to innovation

Teachers have always been subject to a certain societal pressure to succeed: they are accountable for educating the next generation, after all. They are having to face new challenges teaching in the global pandemic. Crucial to academic development, teachers are given little leniency amid this global crisis, especially when the safety concerns are, now more than ever, absolute. For example, teachers must enforce the mask mandate and are expected to correct misbehavior regarding it. Jeffersonville High School is a school that relied on traditional means of education, the norm was physically going to school. However, which path is the right way is no longer clear, and the traditional method no longer stands alone.

Ahnya Evinger, a grade 9 English teacher, is balancing the needs of both traditional and online students. “It is important to understand that different students have different needs, and different families have different needs,” she said. Teachers must now cater to two different student bodies in the same classroom atmosphere. “It’s like everything else at the beginning of the year: getting into the swing of things, and starting to adjust to having students simultaneously in both methods.”

Ahnya Evinger, grade 9 English teacher

Teachers must familiarize themselves with new online systems and can no longer rely on physical work alone. Traditional schooling presents challenges, and they are expected to adhere to safety regulations as well as enforce them. Since going back, they must follow a new protocol, which includes wearing a mask, frequently washing hands, and cleaning desks between classes. With this new year, despite its massive shifts, they are prepared.

“I appreciate that Greater Clark County Schools is on the cutting edge as far as technology goes,” said Evinger. “When we had to shut down in March, we were prepared for E-Learning. We had already practiced that.” They had insight into what the future may look like despite COVID developments, which gave them leverage when it came to schooling online.

Students are also learning how to navigate this new online system and adjust to other changes. For example, block scheduling was implemented this year. Evinger says the block schedule allows for more time to interact with students. “It also gives me that time to really get to know my students right off the bat,” Evinger said. “I’m spending more than an hour with them everytime I’m with them.” A large influx of collaborative effort has also poured into the new year as well. Teachers are relying on one another a lot more and depending on their students to continue doing their part whether they are in the classroom or not.

Learning to prioritize certain matters and procedures has been instrumental in establishing these new grounds. There are times where safety takes precedence, even if that means taking the last few minutes of class to sanitize the room. 

Essentially, the current circumstances have required trade-offs and sacrifices, while also revealing opportunities to make learning more effective for everyone. “There are teachers all over the building who are pivoting what they’re doing. They’ve realized that what they’ve worked on and done in the past might not work this year, and so they’ve had to pivot in a new direction […] and finding new ways to reach their audience,” Evinger stated. This new year has proved the resilience among staff and students, and we can only hope it will continue to expand.

Written by Amber Walker

COVID-19 Casts a Shadow Over Winter and Spring Sports Prep

Jeffersonville High School athletes are trying to keep in shape and healthy even as there are some concerns about how things will unfold this year with COVID-19.

Basketball, a winter sport, presents many challenges specific to the sport such as physical contact, touching the same ball, and being played inside. Sophomore boys basketball player Conner Lyons has some concerns but is ready to start the new season. He says his most pressing concern is “guarding people and close contact,” but Lyons’ concerns are overpowered by his drive to get back out on the court. “It’s always been my dream and that’s what I want to do when I get older,” he says. As of right now, the first game for Jeffersonville boys basketball is scheduled for December 5.

Members of the Jeff High baseball team, who have already lost their spring season this year, are trying to stay positive but realistic despite losing some senior talent. Baseball also has the benefit of being a more spaced out game that is played outdoors. Sophomore baseball player Sam Whallen isn’t getting his hopes up, saying, “we might not end up playing this season because of COVID.” The Jeff High baseball team’s first game is scheduled for April 2. 

Members of the Jeff High softball team are also trying to prepare for a spring season in 2021. Senior Danielle Monroe says the team is beginning winter workouts, which are different this year because of social distancing. Still, she feels like the effort will pay off in the spring. “I’m hopeful. I think we’ll have a season,” Monroe says. “I really hope so because it’s my senior year.”

The Indiana High School Athletics Association (IHSAA) has said the organization is committed to letting students play, saying they believe it is “essential to the physical and mental well-being of student-athletes to return to organized physical activity and build team relationships with their peers and coaches.”

Although every sport has its own precautions for the safety of players, coaches and fans, they have one thing in common: in the age of COVID, athletes are optimistic but unsure about the future.

Story by Caleb Vincent