Durant High School Journalism

Senior Smith Sees Leadership In Her Future

Madison+Smith

Durant Yearbook

Madison Smith

Madison Smith has truly left her mark on the Cougar family.

Smith spoke of the memories she has made at Durant, and how her experience at the school have allowed her to have a one-of-a-kind high school experience. One of her favorite memories, she said, is when she received a Diamond Award for her AP research project on sexual misconduct and rape culture in schools. This was a hard subject to tackle her junior year, and it required a lot of motivation from her peers and teachers. Mary Martin and Holley Kimble, Smith’s AP Research and AP Capstone teachers at Durant, helped Smith focus on such a mature topic and kept her motivated to complete the enormous project. Smith said receiving the Diamond Award for this endeavor was especially powerful because she was presented with the honor by Martin and Kimble. Additionally, as testament to Smith’s hard-working and determined character, she did not just submit her project to her teachers-rather, she created a policy plan that she will present to a state representative and to the school board at a later date.

Smith also holds titles as a nationally ranked creed speaker for Future Farmers of America, a finalist for United States Senate Youth Program, and AP Scholar with Distinction, and was additionally featured as a calendar girl her sophomore year. Smith also received an award for her work with Tampa Bay Beautiful. She was awarded this year’s National English Honors Society scholarship. Smith is also in the top ten of her graduating class.

Smith will be attending the University of Central Florida this fall, and will be majoring in both Political Science and Public Administration with a minor in Women’s and Gender studies. She hopes to maintain a Pre-Law degree track and attend graduate school to become a lawyer.

“Sometimes you make more of a difference behind the scenes.””

— Madison Smith

One of Smith’s favorite quotes from Ruth Bader Ginsburg that she takes to heart is “Fight for the things you care about but do so in a way that will lead others to join you.” This has made Smith have such confidence in her abilities.

When talking to Madison many of her peers have made the comment of her being president someday and that could be so. She mentioned that many times when dealing with politics from talking to senators and presenting her own bills, to holding town halls and working on campaigns, that mid-conversation she has had the thought of “I could literally do a better job than them”. Which has empowered her to try and do so and helped her realize that “sometimes you make more of a difference behind the scenes” which will help her find where she needs to be.

When looking back on her years as a Durant Cougar there are a lot of people to thank. Being extremely thankful towards her teachers who have given her the knowledge she needs to succeed and her parents who have provided for her and of course her friends who have supported her, she has received many blessings that have helped her to senior year. Another person she really thanks is her boyfriend Caleb Stenger, who every time she doubted herself he would act as if it was so foreign and unacceptable that she was unable to accomplish something that enforced her to believe the same which pushed her to her goals. When she was nervous about something, he would act like it was crazy because of the kind of person she was, which helped her realize how capable she is. Most important she shared that he always brought her down to earth and showed her that there can be so much more outside of just school in order to have her achieve in areas other than being a student.

For her following peers at Durant she reminds them to remember the importance of being humble and staying kind. She shares that there will always be someone smarter no matter how hard you push yourself so don’t focus on the competition of things but be proud of your accomplishments you have received.

About the Contributor
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Marina Hawkins, Social Media Coordinator, Photo Editor

Marina Hawkins is a junior at Durant and is the Photo Editor and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of the Varsity...

Sommer Has Big Plans After Graduation

Colby+Sommer

Colby Sommer

Colby Sommer, one of Durant’s senior star lacrosse players originally started out as a baseball player. In fact, Sommer started lacrosse after seeing a series of lacrosse vine videos in middle school. The vine account, “Best Lax Edits,” edited videos of players, and highlighted exciting lacrosse moments during games. Sommer was hooked.

Sommer started playing in seventh grade at Fish Hawk Fields. Since starting the sport, he has made lacrosse a big part of his life by continuing with the sport all throughout high school and even earning a scholarship to play in college.

Sommer received a scholarship to St. Andrews University to play lacrosse. He was offered eighty percent financial coverage, along with an athletic dorm, a job in sports media department, and a food card.

Firefighting is, as Sommer says, his dream job.”

— Colby Sommer

However, Sommer has unfortunately faced some serious hardships that dramatically changed his plans for the fall. This season, Sommer collided with his teammate during one of their away games. While running down the field, he went headfirst into his teammate’s chest. After being rushed to the hospital, Sommer found out there was severe damage to his neck and spine.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Sommer could not stay long at the hospital, so he was sent home earlier than expected. He went home with crutches, and a neck brace to support the injuries from further damage. After many visits to the doctor and surgeries to help with residing injuries, Sommer is now completing physical therapy to help with regain full movement.

Although there has been much progress, Sommer will not be able to play lacrosse for his upcoming college season. Instead, he plans to stay home to recover from his injury while building a videography business. After fully recovering, Sommer wants to go into the fire academy to become a firefighter and attend Hillsborough Community College to continue schooling.

Firefighting is, as Sommer says, his “dream job.” Helping others has always been one of his priorities, especially throughout high school when many people need it most. Although SAU offered Sommer a student coaching position for the team, Sommer has decided to focus on this next path in the fire academy. He says he is “forever grateful for the opportunity” at SAU but is excited about his next steps with the fire academy.

About the Writer
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Marina Hawkins, Social Media Coordinator, Photo Editor

Marina Hawkins is a junior at Durant and is the Photo Editor and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of the Varsity...

Camryn Drummond Inspires Others

Camryn+Drummond

Camryn Drummond

Camryn Drummond is a senior at Durant who is not afraid to explore new activities. In her years attending Durant, Drummond has joined clubs close to her heart. Outside of school she participates in activities that support causes important to her.

Five years ago, when Drummond’s family lived in Hawaii, she suffered from a lack of self-confidence as a result of being one of two African American students, the other being her younger sister.

After realizing that she was not the only person feeling less than, Drummond founded Sisters Changing the World, an organization to build self-esteem and confidence in girls.

“I realized so many girls were going through the same thing, so why not create an environment where girls can feel like their authentic selves.”

Drummond has grown since starting this organization, stating, “I want people to know that I am constantly chasing happiness and I won’t stop expressing myself and searching for that.”

As a junior, Drummond competed in Miss Teenage Tampa for the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and won the title. The opportunity was given to Drummond by Assistant Principal Culpepper, who informed Drummond about the competition.

“Growth is a choice.””

— Camryn Drummond

The goal of the pageant is to create a sense of proactivity and success in young African American women by building their self-esteem. The sorority also teaches tools to help these women become positive impacts on the community.

Both activities allow Drummond to spread a message of a positivity among the young women of her community. Helping others recognize their beauty and self-worth is an important part of who Drummond is, as helping others change the way they see themselves is a cause that Drummond deeply cares about.

Beyond sharing that message in her community, Drummond is able to spread that message to young African American students on Durant’s campus as the President of Junior Rattlers. The club is meant to prepare young African American students for the next step in furthering their education or their future. Drummond has been President of the club for two years.

Fellow senior Shamari Buckley is one of many Drummond has inspired during her time as President.

“She drives me to do things I am unsure about. She will tell people to do what they want to do and support them in their endeavors.”

As president of the Junior Rattlers, Drummond played a large role in planning the 2020 Black History Month activities alongside African American Durant faculty members and with help from members of Junior Rattlers and SGA.

Drummond created the event Coliloquy in Color, an event where African American students could perform a song, poem, short story or display artwork. The event was the grand finale to Durant’s Back History Month celebration.

In addition to Junior Rattlers, Drummond has also been a member of National English Honor Society for two years. She joined the club to improve her writing skills, which is one of her favorite hobbies. As a senior she won an honorable mention for her personal memoir “I Am Her.”

She is also a member of the Alpha Cougar Omega Step team; this is her first year on the team. She joined the team to get out of her comfort zone and to have fun.

For her future, Drummond plans to extend her motivational speaking to start her own platform where she can continue to inspire others.

Her advice to her fellow students is, “Do not close yourself off to avoid being hurt, be open to feeling the waves of life to make yourself a better person. Growth is a choice.”

About the Writer
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Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

Lorentzen Graduates in Top Ten

Rebekah+Lorentzen

Durant Yearbook

Rebekah Lorentzen

Rebekah Lorentzen, a senior at Durant High School, is in this year’s graduating class. Lorentzen boasts an impressive 6.94 GPA.

Throughout her high school career at Durant, Lorentzen has participated in many clubs and activities, and she has maintained leadership positions in several of these clubs. As a member of the student council, Lorentzen has served as secretary, Vice President of Community Service, and Historian. During her senior year, Lorentzen took a step back from her leadership roles on council as she was appointed President of National Honor Society (NHS), after serving as NHS Historian the previous year. Lorentzen is also this year’s Social Media Coordinator of National English Honor Society (NEHS), a member of Spanish National Honor Society (SNHS), and a member of Students All Connected (SAC).

Lorentzen is also a valuable asset on the field. She has been on Durant’s varsity lacrosse team for the past four years, serving as team captain for the past two years. She is also currently the Editor in Chief of the Durant yearbook, and she has served the yearbook staff as Business Editor in prior years.

Outside of Durant, Lorentzen is also very active in her church, New Hope United Methodist Church, where she is currently a youth leader and regular volunteer. With her church, Lorentzen has gone on mission trips to the Dominican Republic for the past six years.

Lorentzen is also a prolific dancer. She has been a dancer at Judy’s Dance Academy for the past sixteen years and now volunteers her free time to teach dance classes for young children.

Lorentzen plans to attend University of Florida in the fall. She is planning on majoring in Health Sciences with a specialization in Physical Therapy. She plans to obtain a doctorate in Physical Therapy and eventually open her own practice.

About the Contributor
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Jennifer Dages, Editor-in-Chief of Writing

Jennifer Dages is a senior at Durant High School and is the Editor-in-Chief of Writing for PawPrint newspaper. In her free time, she practices Brazilian...

Durant Theatre Company Steals the Show

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Durant Theater Company

The Durant Theatre Company is filled with many talented directors, producers, singers, dancers, and, of course, actors and actresses. This group of remarkable students has put in so much hard work into their productions, kicking off the 2019 – 2020 school year with their play Brainstorm: A Journey Inside the Teenage Mind. While everyone in this organization has a very important role no matter what it is, Durant’s theatre productions would not be possible without the approach of backstage crew.

The backstage crew, also known as stagehands, works to ensure that shows operate and run smoothly. Stagehands do everything from taking care of the props all the way to controlling the lights and sounds, and through all that the backstage crew does; they create the charm of theatre.  Destiny Kyer, a senior at Durant who has done both acting and stagehand work, spoke to the importance of this kind of work.

“The backstage crew is incredibly important. Without tech, we would not have our sounds and lights; without stage, our scenes would not be ready in a timely manner, and nothing would flow together.”

“The backstage crew is incredibly important. Without tech, we would not have our sounds and lights; without stage, our scenes would not be ready in a timely manner, and nothing would flow together.””

With many seniors leaving the Durant Theatre Company as they graduate this year, they have to pass down their traditions to the underclassmen to keep the spirit of Durant theatre alive. Destiny Kyer remarked about their traditions that the Durant Theatre Company upholds.

“We do have a tradition, but it’s meant to be secret so when we have newbies they can get excited when it happens. It does happen before every show though.”

It is not just the traditions that are being passed down by the seniors, but also their knowledge. Jordan Maddock is a freshman at Durant and has been involved in only one Durant theatre production so far as a stagehand, but plans to be in more in the future; she spoke about learning the ins and outs of learning from the seniors.

“Our amazing tech, Gage Torgerson, has taught me everything I know as far as sound board, lighting, repairs, and how important it is to getting our shows running smoothly.”

It looks like the future of the Durant Theatre Company is in good hands thanks to the seniors.

The last show of the 2019 – 2020 school year was going to be Godspell, but, unfortunately, the Coronavirus outbreak caused a cancellation in a lot of school functions and field trips, including this play. While this was a huge disappointment for the Durant Theatre Company, they decided to look on the bright side of their situation by participating in The Coronavirus Time Capsule. This non-profit organization called Company Three is located in London, England and is all about teenagers expressing themselves through theater. Company Three has created a new mission for teens all over the world who are involved in theatre to create a time capsule filled with all the different ways these creative teenagers decided to do while in quarantine. Morgan Manigold is a senior at Durant and an active member of the Durant Theatre Company.

Manigold stated, “It is a great project to really document what this time was like for highly social and creative people like theatre kids … and how they dealt with it, and it is really cool to see how differently it is dealt with around the world.”

Morgan Manigold went on to explain that every week there is a new theme that everyone documents and submits to keep adding to the time capsule. To see the Durant Theatre Company’s weekly submissions for their time capsule, go to www.companythree.co.uk and check them out.

Overall, it has been a successful school year for the Durant Theatre Company. They had a fantastic production at the beginning of the year that not only was a big hit for the students at Durant, but also went on to win a “Superior” title at the District 9 One-Act Festival at USF; and while everything did not go as planned for the theater company as the end of the year drew closer, they closed it off by turning a negative situation into a positive one with their amazing time capsule project. The 2019 – 2020 year for the Durant Theatre Company is definitely one for the books.

Brianna Thompson Graduates in Top Ten of 2020 Class

Senior+Brianna+Thompson

Durant Yearbook

Senior Brianna Thompson

Durant senior Brianna Thompson is a hard-working student who earned a spot in the top ten of Durant’s 2020 graduating class.

Thompson’s goal is to pursue medicine in college. “I want to become a pediatrician or pediatric surgeon,” Thompson said.

In order to reach this goal, Thompson took some very difficult classes at Durant, such as AP Physics. Thompson said the class concepts were “challenging,” but she was able to master them with practice. Thompson said she studied every night, kept up with her work and grades, and made sure to be timely with turning in assignments. She said her favorite class was AP Calculus, although she also enjoyed chorus.

In addition to her study routine, Thompson also shared that the support of family was key to her success at Durant. “My mother has helped me and supported me in doing things like dual enrollment and AP classes,” said Thompson. “Even though school was sometimes challenging, my mother kept me upbeat.”

Thompson plans to attend University of South Florida in Tampa this fall, where she hopes to earn a degree in pre-medicine.

About the Contributor
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Nick Travis, Staff Writer

Nick Travis is a sophomore at Durant High School and one of the Staff Writers for the PawPrint. He has an outgoing and creative personality. When isn't...

Senior is Living the Chick-Fil-A Dream

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Senior Kyle Thomas

Chick-Fil-A, the fast food place that serves people and sells chicken, is also the place Durant senior, Kyle Thomas, goes every day. Thomas has been going there ever since he was a kid, when he remembers getting the chicken nugget kids meal. He fell in love with the food.

“The food at Chick-Fil-A is amazing,” said Thomas. “And the people that work there have good customer service.”

Thomas goes to Chick-Fil-A everyday and orders an eight-count nugget meal, with a large fry, and a large coke with no ice and four ketchups. He likes his Coke with no ice because he just wants soda. “It comes out of the machine cold, so I just get more drink if I don’t get ice with it,” said Thomas.

Thomas doesn’t eat all the ketchup, but rather he saves them, so he doesn’t have to buy ketchup. With all the money he spends on Chick-Fil-A, every little bit to save helps.

Thomas has the Chick-Fil-A app; and, after one month, he was a red member, which is the highest tier on the app. He loves the app because even if he doesn’t have money to buy food, he can redeem his rewards so he can get his meal for free.

Thomas goes every day because he says sometimes school can be too much for him if he’s hungry or stressed, so he goes over to Chick-Fil-A to relax. “I watch Desperate Housewives while eating Chick-Fil-A and that’s my cool down.”

Thomas even mentioned Chick-Fil-A in his senior quote: “Now that I’m done can someone please just get me some Chick-Fil-A?”

About the Writer
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Jayleen Nunez, Staff Writer

Jayleen Nunez is a junior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint. When she isn't writing for the PawPrint, she participates in Mindfulness...

Senior Ahmad Fitts Leaves a Baseball Legacy at DHS

Senior Fitts at bat

Senior Fitts at bat

Durant senior, Ahmad Fitts, is an accomplished baseball player at Durant High School. He’s excelled on the field with a .342 career batting average and .964 OPS. Some players put up numbers like that and get a big head, but not Fitts.

“Fitts, in general, is one of the greatest people to be around,” said junior and Durant second baseman, Javier Quintana. “He never boasts and never puts anyone down.”

Quintana wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Junior and Cougars’ pitcher, Zander Fisk, also described Fitts as a great teammate. “He is good friends with everyone on the team and hardworking on and off the field.”

Even the coaching staff had good things to say about Fitts. Coach Keith Farina, assistant to Head Coach Butch Valdes, described Fitts as a “quiet kid who works his butt off.”

Fitts has enjoyed his time at Durant thoroughly. “I loved just being around the whole environment and my brothers,” he said.

“Fitts, in general, is one of the greatest people to be around.””

— Javier Quintana

Fitts talked about one of his teammates who made a big impact on his life–Durant class of 2019 player, Brendan Queen.

“When I was a freshman and watched Queen play he seemed like a pretty good player,” Fitts said. “Then my sophomore year, Queen ended up getting moved to the outfield and I really got to know him well.” Playing with Queen, and the many other guys he’s shared the field with at Durant, has been “just fun all around” for Fitts. “My experience playing for Durant has been so great, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Fitts also has enjoyed his coaches at Durant. He liked having Coach Valdes around. “Valdes really makes you tough both physically and mentally.” Fitts insists, “When you really get to know Valdes, he’s just a buff teddy bear.”

Coach Scolaro is also a favorite of Fitts’. “He is one of the funniest coaches I’ve ever had” but also “knows what it takes to be great.” He addded, “Scolaro takes a lot of time to help each player be better at what they do.”

The feeling is very mutual from the coaching staff. “It’s been a pleasure to coach him,” Coach Farina said. “He’s a polite and respectful kid who only wants to continue to learn and improve his game.”

Fitts’ great attitude, top tier talent, and fantastic work ethic all paid off as last fall he committed to Florida Southern College and will be a part of the Mocs’ program there. Fitts was able to take a deep breath after he committed.

“I was so relieved because getting recruited is a very hard and stressful process,” he said. “When you finally find that school that’s for you it’s the best feeling.”

Unfortunately, during the winter, Fitts tore his ACL and was told by doctors he could not play the remainder of his senior season. Thankfully the injury hasn’t affected his relationship with Florida Southern. “They just want me to take my time and get healthy,” said Fitts.

The rehab for Fitts has progressed as planned. “For the moment I can’t exactly run or do anything extreme, but I walk normally and can do minimum weights,” said Fitts. He isn’t worried about his recovery–he is excited about returning to the sport he loves. “I will return better than ever.”

Quintana thanked Fitts for his positive attitude and leadership on the team, and then added: “Fitts, I’m up.”

About the Writer
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David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

Disney Springs Prepares to Reopen

As Florida eases social distancing regulations, Disney Springs will be the first major attraction in Florida to reopen.

Courtesy of Walt Disney

As Florida eases social distancing regulations, Disney Springs will be the first major attraction in Florida to reopen.

On Thursday, May 7, Walt Disney World Company made a statement that they will begin to reopen the Disney Springs shopping center in accordance with the current government and CDC guidelines in place.

The parks had originally closed on March 15, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic as an effort to help flatten the curve and keep guests safe. Late evening on Thursday, the Vice President of Disney Springs Matt Simon announced the partial reopening of Disney Springs. 

The area will begin opening by using a series of phases making sure to keep all cast members, employees, and guests as safe as possible. No word has yet been stated on what exact stores or restaurants will be opening at this time.

The reopening of the springs is scheduled to begin on May 20, 2020, while the rest of the theme parks are currently planning on remaining closed with no plan to reopen in the near future. The initial opening phase will include limitations on capacity, parking, and operating hours. 

The reopening will have new implemented safety measures including increased cleaning procedures, face coverings required by members of the cast and the visiting guests, and limited contact with guest services. Cast members will be required to attend additional safety training to help prepare for the reopening and return to work.

Simon states that the company will begin to use “learnings and ideas from leaders in the health and travel industries” and has been communicating with their unions on the proper ways to go about the shopping center’s reopening.

According to FOX 35, the reopening of the center will be partially modeled after the reopening at Shanghai’s Disney Town, a modified version of Disney Springs, which had reopened in early March, and Shanghai’s Disneyland, set to open May 11. 

The measures that were put in place on this park included a limited capacity of 30%, requirements for getting guests temperature checked at all entrances, and mandatory masks to be worn by guests. FOX 35 also states that visitors will be required to pass a health screening via a mobile app.  Many await the results of this opening in hopes of it shortening the timeline of the phases, causing the parks to open quicker.

Disney plans additional information considering procedures and protocols to be announced closer to the opening date. As the date draws closer they recommend checking  DisneySprings.com for more up to date information.

About the Writer
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Faith Miller, Staff Writer

Faith Miller is a senior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint. This year will be her fourth season on the varsity Durant...

Extreme Weather Hits the Midwest

The Midwest has been experiencing a variety of extreme waether patterns over the past month.

Courtesy of Associated Press

The Midwest has been experiencing a variety of extreme waether patterns over the past month.

 A major outbreak of severe weather came across the southern Plains with portions of Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma since last week on April 22 and 23 and has continued throughout the week.

Massive hail, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms with winds up to 80 mph strike the nation’s midsection with dangerous weather stretching from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast. 

The cause for the severe weather came from a battle of air masses that plagued the Plains. 

According to AccuWeather, there have been 492 tornadoes that have been reported across the nation. So far this year, 2020 has been the nation’s top years for tornadoes far above the average of 307 and has resulted in the most tornado-related deaths in the U.S since 2011. 

The first tornado was reported near Springer, Oklahoma and was tracked directly through Madill crossing Highway 377. According to the Storm Prediction Center, there have only been four tornadoes reported in Oklahoma all year. 

A large tornado was also reported in Polk, County, Texas about 80 miles north from Houston. The reports said that there were multiple people trapped and injured after the tornado hit 30 to 40 mobile homes in the area.

 Multiple buildings were damaged and huge trees were knocked down blocking roads. It was confirmed by the Polk County Emergency Management, that there were 20-30 people injured and about three deaths. 

Tornado threats are greatest across eastern Oklahoma and far western Arkansas. Over 14 million people are in the area under a huge risk for hazardous weather. 

According to the forecast’s models, strong tornadoes are likely over parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. A strong tornado is classified with wind speeds of 111 to 165 mph Whereas violent tornadoes can pick up to speeds of 166 to 200 mph sometimes even more.

Dallas-Fort Worth is at greatest risk since there have been severe weather outbreaks and deadly tornadoes that have struck parts of that same region.

Additionally, flooding has also been a threat with storms dumping one to two inches or more of rainfall an hour for multiple hours. With the number of storms moving through parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama there are high chances for flooding.

A cold front has brought an unexpected chill for the rest of the nation and these below-average temperatures stretch from Ohio River Valley, Mid-Atlantic. And Northeast. 

Meanwhile sizzling temperatures are in effect in the desert Southwest and the interiors of Southern California. Phoenix has reached over 100 degrees, the first of 2020, and there has been excessive heat warnings in the area.

About the Writer
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Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a junior at Durant High School. She was a staffer for the Durant yearbook and then became a Staff Writer for the Pawprint newspaper to...

Amazon Struggles During COVID-19 Pandemic

Amazon has to adapt their processes to align with social distancing standards while ensuring customers recieve their products.

Jordan Stead- Amazon

Amazon has to adapt their processes to align with social distancing standards while ensuring customers recieve their products.

Pressure has been put on Amazon as the company deals with delays for sold-out items. There have been complaints from employees about their workplace safety and their concerns about crowded hiring events. Workers are also concerned about limited disinfectants and the company following through with commitments.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 have hit more than a dozen Amazon facilities in the past weeks calling for centers to be closed for deep cleanings. Amazon’s decision was to keep the centers open for business causing employees to petition to close the building in order to follow the social distancing guidelines. 

Southern California Amazon workers are demanding the company to shut down infected warehouses for at least two weeks because social distancing has been almost impossible in some workplaces. 

The company’s Eastvale warehouse in Riverside county was the first to report employees testing positive for the virus has escalated up to three confirmed cases as of this week.

A delivery center in Hawthorne, an Amazon Prime Now warehouse in Los Angeles and two other facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties have been some of the facilities affected and some have reported cases in late March. 

Amazon is providing up to two weeks of pay to workers that are diagnosed with Covid-19 or quarantined to ensure they can self-isolate themselves and not suffer a loss of income. The company is also offering unlimited unpaid time off for hourly workers through the end of April.

Amazon is taking measures to reduce infection in facilities by sanitizing screens and door handles during the workdays. Time shifts have also been staggered to promote social distancing for employees. 

There have been daily temperature checks for employees in the United States and Europe which began Sunday, March 9. More than 100,000 employees are receiving temperature checks per day and are also being checked before entering their workplace.

Any employee found to have a temperature of above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will be asked to go home and not return until having gone three days without the fever. 

Employees have been told to stay three feet apart, wash hands or use hand sanitizers. Some workers have said Amazon isn’t providing sufficient cleaning supplies at facilities or properly enforcing social distancing. 

Concerns about Amazon’s safety measures have escalated as employees in at least 15 warehouses across the U.S. have tested positive. 

About the Writer
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Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a junior at Durant High School. She was a staffer for the Durant yearbook and then became a Staff Writer for the Pawprint newspaper to...

Understanding and Actions Against COVID-19

In addition to the information provided here, visist the FDA or CDC websites for helpful information on how to protect against COVID-19.

Courtesy of the FDA

In addition to the information provided here, visist the FDA or CDC websites for helpful information on how to protect against COVID-19.

In Wuhan, China in December of 2019, a patient reported to the local hospital with pneumonia like symptoms.  By December 29th, Hubei, China reported four similar cases of “pneumonia of unknown etiology” and Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization that a new strain of the coronavirus was rapidly spreading throughout the region.

Named for its crown-like shape, the Coronavirus is a common virus first identified in the 1960’s that causes flu-like symptoms.  The deadly strand of the novel Coronavirus causes a disease, named “COVID-19,” that is spreading across the globe is simply a more resilient and dangerous strand, spreading and evolving similarly to how the influenza virus changes each year (requiring a new flu shot to be administered annually). 

Doctors around the world went to work to identify the origin of the outbreak, naming snakes and bats as the possible culprit. The virus began to spread internationally, first into Japan then the Koreas, and took its first life mid-January, just a few weeks after being first identified.

On January 21st, Washington state confirmed the United States’ first case of the Coronavirus in a man who had recently traveled to Wuhan and the second American case appeared three days later in Chicago.  

With the number of infected rising, China prepared to build new hospitals dedicated to the care and quarantine of COVID-19 patients, the US joined Japan in evacuating their citizens from Wuhan and suspended travel to and from China.   The rest of the world soon followed suit, attempting to isolate themselves from the rapidly spreading disease.  

Despite measures taken to isolate this modern-day plague, the Coronavirus quickly spread to every continent except Antarctica.   Deaths began to mount in Washington state where, 21% of the nearly 40 deaths were over 80 years of age. The virus was proving to largely affect those with compromised immune systems and underlying diseases.

Cases quickly spread across the US, from California to Chicago and eastward to New York.  While the US has already reported its first intranational spread, the East Coast’s first case of the Coronavirus appeared on March 1st in Hillsborough County Florida from tourist returning from a trip to Italy.

Hillsborough County public schools informed parents of measures that would be taken to protect the health of its students and teachers via email and schools installed hand sanitizing stations at school entrances and bus ramps along with encouraging students to wash their hands frequently.  Additionally, schools began to limit large school assemblies and encourage students and teachers who feel sick to stay home.  

Durant canceled Friday’s pre-Spring Break pep rally, following this advisory and, Friday evening, the Hillsborough County School Board announced students would not be returning to their campus’ until March 30th.  Many teachers and students were prepared for the extension of Spring Break, encouraging students to take their workbooks home and check Edsby for updates. 

The Hillsborough County announcement provided a link for online teaching resources so teachers can resume lessons on Mach 23rd, when students were originally supposed to return to school.  Durant, along with other Hillsborough County schools, will be using the extra week to clean the campuses and attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

About the Writer
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Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Lily Belcher is a sophomore at Durant High School and she is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of Durant’s Flag Football team,...

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