Climate Change Crisis Still Concerns Students

by Cadence Gutman, staff writer

SEPTEMBER 2022 — The Federal government of the United States officially began to take an active role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by passing the Inflation Reduction Act Aug. 16. Although there have been previous attempts to combat the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, none have ever been this aggressive.

In its entirety, the Inflation Reduction Act intends to lower the costs of prescription drugs, health care, and energy. According to a statement made by the White House, President Joe Biden’s promises to take “aggressive action” to tackle climate change.

“Climate report shows that unless there are immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, 1.5°C is beyond reach. However, there are options available now in all sectors to halve emissions by 2030,” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote. Photo obtained from the International Panel on Climate Change’s Instagram @ipcc.

The section of the bill regarding energy aims to modify and extend tax credits for producing electricity from renewable resources, specifically for wind, biomass, geothermal, solar, and hydropower through 2024. The bill targets larger, wealthier companies that actively put carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Analyzing the bill, Bio-Med Science Academy 10th-grade integrated mathematics instructor Melissa Cairns said, “I think that if those companies were being forced to meet those marks, then yeah, it could totally work. But you know the problem is that they keep trying to shift the blame to us, like we’re not recycling or composting, but the real criminals are industry farming and manufacturing, so if we could rein them in, that could definitely make a difference.”

Cairns has worried immensely about the lack of knowledge surrounding climate change, especially among students. “Education is like our first line of defense. It has to be spoken about in education, but there are also all these bills trying to be passed that tell teachers what they can and can’t speak about, and they turn things that aren’t political agendas into political agendas.”

Cairns plans to host a course about climate change during Bio-Med’s accelerated term, where teachers are able to offer courses that count towards students’ elective credits. Accelerated term begins after Thanksgiving break and concludes at the start of winter break.

Arguments regarding climate change have affected the amount of knowledge many students have today.

Junior Katherine Lennox shared her perspective on climate change.

“I know that solar panels are good, and I would like to believe that recycling helps, but I don’t know what it has to do with climate change,” Lennox said.

“I think any progress is progress though, right?” remarked Catherine Panchyshyn, the 10th-grade science instructor at Bio-Med Science Academy. “I think it’s good that this information is being taught more in school. I know when I was younger, I think a lot more people thought [climate change] was a hoax or something that we would never see in our lifetime. I think since a large majority of people do know what’s going on, I’m not as [concerned].”

Electric cars are built to function by connecting to a charging point and taking electricity from the grid, and they store electricity in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Photo obtained from autoevelution.com.

Panchyshyn continued, “I feel like I should be more [concerned], knowing the data…. It’s one of those things that you tend to blackout of your mind. I think being in Ohio, we are a little luckier, because we don’t have severe weather, while people in Florida are going to feel it a lot more.”

Bio-Med sophomore Nami Miller worried, “I think that I’m concerned enough [regarding climate change], but I definitely think that there are other people, especially people who still don’t believe climate change is a thing, that should be more concerned. Because it’s real, and it’s really bad.”

Cairns talked about her extreme concern with climate change in the U.S. 

“I mean we [the U.S.] are definitely one of the biggest problems when it comes to [climate change].”

Part of the movement against climate change has involved the introduction of electric cars into the general public. Electric vehicles are designed to emit fewer greenhouse gasses and air pollutants than petrol or diesel cars.

Miller expressed, “My family has an electric car, and it’s amazing. You know, even taking the lithium batteries into consideration, it’s still better for the environment when compared to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that regular cars put into the air.”

While lithium batteries are often thought to be an essential part of the future with fewer carbon emissions in the atmosphere, they can be harmful towards people and the environment. Lithium batteries contain potentially toxic nickel, copper and lead materials. Used batteries that are stored improperly and uncontrolled can become explosive, and possibly turn into an environmental disaster.

Electric vehicles may be the start, but the movement has pushed further.

The infographic above describes the several effects of climate change on the environment and society around the world. Photo obtained from Globalchange.gov.

Along with China and Russia, the U.S. has been responsible for a majority of the global greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution. While the U.S. only accounts for 4.25% of the total population of the world, they have been responsible for 30% of global energy use and 28% of carbon emissions, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI)

Cairns explained, “Our lifestyle since the industrial revolution has put a lot of carbon dioxide and a lot of methane gas into the atmosphere, and some of that is necessary to keep the planet from freezing.” She later countered, “But we’ve doubled the amount that we should have in the atmosphere. So it’s kind of like a snowball effect on the entire planet.”

Transportation was most recently one of the main sources of greenhouse gasses, taking up 27% of total emissions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, between March and Dec. 2020, there was a dip in the level of gasses being produced by 4.6% due to the declining use of public transportation. However, between Jan. 2021 and Aug. 2022, greenhouse gas emissions have rebounded by 6.4%.  

Other offenders contributing to the total emissions include industry development at 24% and electric power at 25%.

Cairns explained where her concern currently lies.

“At this point it’s not just about saving the planet, but also saving ourselves.” She concluded, “The planet will be fine with us completely wiped out probably even better but it’s about saving our future generations. It’s not just about you, it’s about future generations after us, and how we are going to set them up to be successful.”

General Interest STEM

Monkeypox Madness: Is There Another Pandemic on The Rise?

by Alexandra Levy, staff writer

SEPTEMBER 2022 — Monkeypox infection rates are rising, according to the Ohio Department of Health, and many Bio-Med students wonder how the virus will impact their educational experience during the school year.

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) explained that monkeypox is currently known to spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or their bodily fluids, touching surfaces recently touched by someone with monkeypox, contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person, sexual intercourse, and from an infected animal’s scratch, bite, or product, such as meat or milk.

“I know it’s a rash that started mainly on rats and monkeys in Africa, but I also know it spread to multiple different countries. I heard a bit about it spreading through populations with men in the LGBTQ community, but I don’t recall if that was a misconception,” said Katherine Lennox, a junior at Bio-Med Science Academy.

 A “sanitation station” pictured in Bio-Med 11th Grade Jenna Bates’s room. The station is a table with supplies to wipe and disinfect desks after each core, the supplies include: paper towels, disinfectant wipes, and disinfectant spray. Photo by Alex Levy, staff writer.

There is currently a misconception that monkeypox only spreads among men in the LGBTQ+ community, and while the virus can affect any person, it is currently most prevalent in the gay male population, according to the World Health Organization.

“Monkeypox can be spread between any people with prolonged skin-to-skin contact,” said NPR’s Ari Shapiro, “but the reality is, this disease is not affecting everyone equally. According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, 99% of the people diagnosed with monkeypox are men and 98% of those who specify their sexual orientation are men who have sex with men.”

Many high schoolers feel that the virus wouldn’t have a significant impact on the student body, because there is less of a chance for sexual transmission.

Lennox doesn’t think monkeypox would affect students within the high school age range, saying, “I don’t think it’s a major concern in our age group, and I don’t think that there’s a lot of ability for it to spread through direct contact.”

Kay Conley, the Director Of Administration and Support Services at the Stark County Health Department, explained that, because of how monkeypox spreads, it is unlikely to have outbreaks in schools.

“Monkeypox is not easily spread like COVID was. It’s transmitted from person to person through close contact,” said Conley. “For the general population, the risk of getting monkeypox is low, including schools, early care and education programs, and other settings serving children and adolescents.”

The recommended prevention plan from the CDC includes sanitizing surfaces and promoting behavioral changes, including abstinence and contact tracing of sexual partners in areas with a high case rate, especially for men in the LGBTQ+ community. Bio-Med follows the guidelines by encouraging students and teachers to wipe their desks with disinfectant at the end of each class.

The current monkeypox vaccine, the JYNNEOS vaccine, is pictured in a San Francisco pharmacy. The vaccine is currently in a shortage due to high demand and the CDC recommends that high risk groups (such as men in the LBGTQ+ community) are given the vaccine first. The vaccine is given in two separate doses and it takes two weeks after the second dose for the vaccine to be fully effective. Photo obtained from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Another prevention method for monkeypox is the JYNNEOS vaccine, also known as the smallpox vaccine. Doses of this vaccine are currently being distributed to locations with the highest number of cases, such as New York and California.

Conley commented on how people can prevent monkeypox in their community.

“In Stark County at this time, cases are very low. Prevention measures are typical of all communicable diseases: Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox; Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used (Do not share eating utensils/cups or handle bedding/towels clothing of a person with monkeypox.); and wash your hands often,” they said. “Also due to the data, there is a recommendation to reduce or avoid behaviors that increase risk of monkeypox exposure such as a temporary break from activities until two weeks after your second dose of vaccine. Some of these high risk activities can include having multiple sexual partners and attending private or public sex parties or events. Using condoms may offer some protection, but they alone may not prevent all exposures.”

Doctor Tara Smith is a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University’s college of public health. Public health is the science of preventing diseases in a community instead of in individual patients.

Smith explained how public health organizations are attempting to make it easier for the public to find the most current, reliable information on monkeypox.

Smith reflected on the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “I’ve talked about plagues and pandemics for a long time and never wanted to see one first hand. At the beginning of 2020, I tried to see what the pandemic plan was for Kent State and Ohio. I ended up working with Kent for virus-response protocols. I also ended up working with public health agencies and did a lot of communication about the pandemic. I was a resource for the history of plagues, the history of coronaviruses, and updating policies throughout the pandemic. I was on the front lines in administrative response and communication.”

Smith also discussed how monkeypox may look compared to COVID.

“I hope it will be less prevalent,” said Smith. “We are already seeing in New York City that cases of monkeypox are slowing and declining due to the response of vaccination campaigns. And so far, we have only seen one large outbreak of monkeypox. We’re also not starting at ground zero like we were with COVID-19; Nigeria already has experience with monkeypox, and there is already a vaccine. I also have hopes that public health officials are getting knowledge to the public on the spread of monkeypox.”

Many students worry about whether monkeypox will lead to another pandemic outbreak, like the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

Lennox attended school virtually during the 2020–2021 school year to protect an immunocompromised member of her household. She was unsure if she would do so in the event of a large monkeypox outbreak.

“It depends on if there is a rise in the number of monkeypox-related fatalities, and it depends on how Ohio and Portage handle it and on the information at the time,” she said.

Rootstown High School sophomore Kyo Williams also attended school virtually during the 2020–2021 school year due to an immunocompromised family member.

Lacy Schlute’s papers with information on monkeypox are pictured. Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, swollen lymph glands, exhaustion, headache, respiratory symptoms, and a pus-filled rash. Photo by Alex Levy, staff writer.

“I know what monkeypox is, and I am fairly familiar with the side effects,” stated Williams. “If an outbreak were to happen, I personally would go into lockdown again.”

Williams explained that with changing guidelines for the virus, they feel the best thing to do is to try to isolate themself.

Williams stated, “As a person with a guardian who is at a higher risk of contracting viruses, I just want to take whatever extra precautions I can in an academic setting.”

Bio-Med freshman English teacher Brian McDonald shared this feeling. McDonald was also quarantined for a portion of the 2020–2021 school year to protect an immunocompromised member of his family. He observed that many of his students chose to remain virtual for the school year after the initial COVID-19 quarantine.

“It was a tricky year, because everyone was virtual for the first portion of the year. For my family, our advice was to remain isolated until we were all fully vaccinated,” he said.

 An infographic with an overview of monkeypox including the definition, symptoms, and details of what can be done to reduce the spread of monkeypox. Photo obtained from The Illinois Department of Public Health.

Many reflected on the COVID-19 protocols after initial quarantine and fear that those methods may be inadequate at preventing all viruses, including monkeypox.

Wiliams said, “While being online was a huge preventative measure for myself, in the case of a future virus, I would still ask more of my school when it comes to contact-tracing and supporting students in that situation.”

McDonald agreed, saying, “I wasn’t really confident in all of the precautions we took as a school. I know people were trying to do their best, but as a teacher, you are in close contact with a lot of students throughout the day, and not having a vaccine readily available was problematic when there were outbreaks.”

Elissa Fusco, the Biomedical Engineering teacher at Bio-Med, felt as though the school was more successful than most schools in virus prevention, but that at some point, the virus was nearly impossible to prevent.

“I’m lucky that my room is big, so I had enough space for social distancing and the tables in my room are already three feet apart,” said Fusco. “In terms of all viruses, Bio-Med helped to provide teachers with resources. I’m grateful we had masks offered and provided for us.”

Fusco also explained how she is personally adapting to the new guidelines on monkeypox while being in a health-oriented class.

“I think that it is really important to make sure that you are using straightforward, reliable, and current information,” expressed Fusco. “And I try to tell my students that in class and teach them about where they are finding their information.”

Lacy Schulte is the Clinic Coordinator of School Health at Bio-Med. Schulte helps to advise virus protocols in Bio-Med. She also works at Akron Children’s Hospital.  

Schulte explained how she keeps the guidelines up-to-date with the changing information on monkeypox and COVID-19.

“We do a lot of evidence-based research, and a lot of the administration team at Akron Children’s Hospital will do the research and relay the information to us. Trying to keep up to date on all new treatments and prevention plans,” she said.

Schulte expressed her current understanding of the monkeypox outbreak as a healthcare employee.

“So far, it doesn’t sound like the virus is likely to put someone in a critical condition, and so far it sounds pretty treatable. I don’t know too much about the treatment regimen, but it doesn’t seem like the scope of the virus would be anything like COVID was,” said Schulte.

Smith concluded, “I wrote an article on monkeypox early on in order to try and close some of the miscommunications about the virus. I think we need to keep emphasizing that the information we have is current from when it was presented. People need to realize that information evolves with viruses. What was once true about vaccines and masks has changed, and sometimes faulty information that’s presented was actually correct for the time. There is change involved in pandemics —flexibility, unknowns, and questions that are being answered and better understood all of the time.”

To find more information on monkeypox and other viruses, the CDC’s website can be found here.

Bio-Med Health STEM

Blood on Backorder

by Jesse Mitchell, staff writer

Pictured is Tessa Wood, a junior at Bio-Med Science Academy, who donated blood for the second time this year on March 10, 2022. Wood described the process as “pretty quick and fun.” As a part of donating Wood got to track where her blood went after she donated, and in her case, it went to UH Portage Medical Center in Ravenna, OH. Wood encourages others to donate saying, “If there’s any time to donate blood it’s now. Most people don’t know you can donate under 18 but you can donate as soon as 17 in Ohio.” Photo provided by Tessa Wood

MARCH 2022 – The American Red Cross reported January 11, 2022 that the United States is experiencing a national blood crisis, another unprecedented change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis is being referred to by the American Red Cross as “the worst blood shortage in over a decade.” The organization described the effect of the shortage, stating, “The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced some hospitals to defer patients from major surgery, including organ transplants.”

The American Red Cross is one of the leading health organizations around the world that works to aid in humanitarian efforts in the medical field. In the U.S., the American Red Cross accounts for donating and collecting more than 40 percent of the country’s blood and blood component supply. In addition, the American Red Cross is the leading facilitating agency for blood drives in Northeast Ohio and is responsible for collecting and providing blood for many hospitals in the local area.

Christy Peters is the regional communications director for the American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region. During the month of January, the peak of the national blood crisis, there was less than a one-day supply of Type O blood, Peters said in an interview with Record-Courier, “We’d like to see a five-day supply.”

In Northeast Ohio, major hospitals affected by the national blood crisis include University Hospitals, Mercy Health, and Cleveland Clinic. The Record-Courier interviewed Dr. Christine Schmotzer,the Division Chief of Clinical Pathology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in February of 2022.

In the published article, Schmotzer described University Hospitals’ strategy, which has been to monitor its blood supply amounts cautiously. She further added that its blood bank has been working with other divisions of the hospital, “looking for ways we can safely decrease usage so we can have enough to cover as many patients as possible.”

WKSU, a local radio station based in Kent, Ohio, conducted an interview with Dr. NurJehan Quraishy, who works in transfusion medicine at Cleveland Clinic. In regards to the blood supply at the hospital, Quraishy said, “There might be a delay, but we have managed.” There is also a new process Quriashy described as “triaging,” where the hospitals evaluate if patients can wait to receive blood until the next shipment.

The American Red Cross said that, “On certain days, some hospitals may not receive as much as one-quarter of the blood products requested.” The organization noted that this crisis has led doctors and hospital staff to make, “difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available.”

The cause of the national blood shortage has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing Omicron variant. During the beginning of the pandemic, the American Red Cross noted a 10 percent decline in volunteer donations, citing low turnout of donors due to the safety risks posed by the epidemic. In Northeast Ohio, some of the added struggles have included recent winter weather and worker shortages keeping donors at home, worsening the low blood supply.

Pictured is a blood drive from March 11, 2022, on the NEOMED campus. This blood drive was facilitated and run by the Red Cross in the NEW Center to allow students of both the university and Bio-Med to donate blood. This is an example of a string of blood drives the American Red Cross has been running recently to get more donors to give blood. Photo provided by Tessa Wood

The effects of the pandemic go further than that, according to Jim McIntyre, who works for the American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region. He said, in an interview with Cleveland 19 News, that part of the reason for the sudden national blood supply crisis is because hospitals put off elective surgeries during the height of the pandemic in 2021. Now that COVID cases have started to fall, hospitals are reducing those procedures as the amount of emergency cases from the pandemic has dropped.

Through the challenges of the pandemic, the American Red Cross has remained “grateful for donors,” and understanding of donors and what is best for them. The American Red Cross encourages all Americans and Northeast Ohioans to come to their blood drives and donate if possible. McIntyre said to WKSU, “People can make appointments to donate blood. It’s the only way to mitigate the shortage.” The Red Cross plans to continue working tirelessly to ramp up Blood Drives and slowly curb the effects of this national blood crisis. Ultimately though, they “need the help of the American people.”

For those interested in donating blood or blood products,  visit The American Red Cross’s website to find upcoming blood drives in the local area.

Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Mercy Health, and the American Red Cross did not respond to The Hive’s request for comment on the situation.

General Interest Health STEM

International Day of Women and Girls in Science: February 11th 

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

FEBRUARY 2022 – Women around the world have fought for spots in male-dominated fields for years, and that fight still continues. Feb. 11  marks the seventh annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science, as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

Kiara Krunich, a ninth-grader, learns how to solder in her engineering class. Bio-Med strives to give opportunities to students interested in STEM fields. “I like that we get to do lots of hands-on activities and everyone gets to work together. My favorite part about engineering is learning about the different things you can do in it,” Krunich stated. “Another thing about STEM is that we get to do activities and it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, it’s all equal.” Photo provided by Cadence Gutman, staff writer.

According to The American Association of University Women (AAUW), gender stereotypes affect young children. As a result, children as young as preschoolers are underestimated in their studies and steered away from STEM fields. This is a driving factor that steers young girls away from STEM.

Becky Hill-Dickey, the eighth grade technology instructor, said, “I think about when I grew up and the reality of how I thought STEM jobs weren’t possible for me. The jobs that were advertised for females were very traditional roles, so I think this is important to recognize now that anyone could do any position.” Hill-Dickey continued, “It’s important to create more diverse settings, so they are more inclusive to everyone. Education [will help address gender disparities in science,] if  people don’t know about the field or what it does, they won’t know if they’re interested. I think that’s why I like teaching. My ultimate goal is to expose those who are interested and help create possibility and passion.”

Heidi Hisrich, the ninth grade science instructor, stated, “Men far outnumber women in STEM educational tracks and also in the workforce, especially in high income and fast growing fields like engineering and computer science.”

“Women make up half our population and should theoretically make up half of the STEM workforce, but they currently only make up about 28% of it. The International Day of Girls and Women in science can help raise awareness about the lack of representation of females in science and also about the importance of changing that,” she continued.

Women represent only about 33 percent of researchers, as stated by the United Nations (UN). In fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), only about one in five professionals is a woman. This makes up only about 22 percent of people in those fields. Of the small percentage of women in STEM fields, Black women only make up about two percent, according to Barnard.

Additionally, women are generally paid less than men in career fields. In 2020, women only earned about 84 percent of a man’s salary, according to Pew Research Centers. It was also found that for 25- to 34-year-olds, for every dollar a man makes, a woman would make only 93 cents.

Along with a pay gap, women are often offered smaller research grants compared to men, Hisrich stated, “I have not [been affected by smaller grants.] I have applied for grants, and often received them. Sometimes I have received grants in part due to my gender. For instance, I benefited from a grant from the Wayne County Women’s Fund when I lived in Richmond, Indiana.”

Hisrich offered her thoughts on how gender disparities can be addressed: “We need to purposely develop confidence in females in the areas of math and science. This can be done by intentionally giving them the chance to master skills in those fields.” Hisrich continued by stating, “We need to improve STEM education, starting as early as kindergarten. Colleges and universities need to actively recruit women into their STEM programs, as do employers need to continue to support women once they have enrolled or been hired.”

Feb. 11 is a day dedicated to celebrate women and girls who love STEM and strive to make a better world. As education evolves, teachers like Hisrich and Hill-Dickey want to help students succeed in STEM fields and encourage them to continue.

STEM Uncategorized

COVID-19 In The New Year

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

Chloe Cook, a freshman, received her booster vaccine to help prevent the spread of new variants like Omicron. The booster helps protect against symptoms like headaches, night-sweats, shortness of breath, and losing taste and smell. Though COVID can still be contracted when vaccinated, vaccines can help reduce the length of infection. Photo provided by Chloe Cook

JANUARY 2022 – With the start of a new year came more threats from the COVID-19 virus. During the late months of 2021, Omicron, a new variant that spreads faster than the original virus, appeared in the United States. Though not much is known about Omicron, the best way to fight it is through vaccination.

The Omicron variant was first found in Botswana, South Africa, and made its way to the states once travel restrictions were lifted. In the United States, Omicron was first found in San Francisco, California, according to the New York Times. In the new year, there have been 63.2 million new cases in the USA.

As COVID progressed through the states, booster shots were made available starting Nov. 19. PBS reported that people ages 12 and older are able to get booster shots. According to Vaccines.gov, if a person has received a second Pfizer or Moderna shot, they can get a booster six months later. If a person has received a Johnson & Johnson shot, they can get a booster two months later.

Elissa Fusco, the 11th-grade biomedical engineering teacher, shared her opinion on the boosters and new variants. “The booster shot is an excellent step to take to prevent yourself from experiencing the full effect of COVID’s symptoms,” she said. “At this point, it’s a matter of when you get COVID versus trying to completely avoid COVID. Getting the booster allows a higher potential of a quicker recovery too, which is desperately needed in the workforce!”

Though many caught COVID-19, the quarantine time has decreased from 10 days to five days. The CDC stated that this was to keep the economy running and avoid another shut down. Even with a five-day quarantine, COVID is still transmittable. It is recommended that the individual continues to wear a mask even after their quarantine date is up.

Pictured is a COVID guideline chart sent to Bio-Med families. This chart helps students and families decide if their student should come to school or get tested. Since guidelines changed, a new chart was developed. Chart provided by Bio-Med

Charmayne Polen, chief operating officer and principal, shared COVID procedures for the school year, saying, “We are staying with the same protocol that we had this year and last year until January 17th. This is in terms of quarantining and exposure, if you are vaccinated but exposed, you don’t have to quarantine. The moment someone has symptoms, they go home and test and we send home rapid tests with everyone who shows symptoms and has been exposed.”

While Omicron surges around the world, health reports have stated that symptoms can be long lasting. Though the Omicron variant is less aggressive, symptoms like respiratory issues can continue to affect patients long-term. Omicron patients report that COVID was more of a common head cold. Symptoms like coughs, fatigue, congestion, and sore throats are more common. While symptoms like loss of taste and smell are less common.

The CDC recommends that everyone ages five and older get vaccinated to protect themselves and others around them. COVID testing sites have been set up in each county. Places like CVS have websites to help find free testing, COVID-19 Testing and Locations | MinuteClinic. Sites like Vaccines.gov help find vaccination sites. 

STEM

How COVID Affected Volunteering 

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

NOVEMBER 2021 – Bio-Med Science Academy students need 60 volunteer hours to graduate. Due to COVID-19, many places shut down their volunteer programs or changed their policies to keep everyone safe. This has affected many students who wanted to complete their volunteer hours.  

During the shutdowns, places like libraries and The Red Cross ended their volunteer programs as well. These places are high-risk areas since so many people are using the same surfaces and borrowing items. Alex Smith, Assistant Manager of Customer Experience at the Twinsburg Library, stated how many different kinds of volunteers they have. “There are a few different volunteer departments at the library. There are teen volunteers, circulation volunteers, and home delivery driver volunteers.” She continued, “COVID caused all of the volunteer programs to halt, and so far the only one that has resumed is the home delivery program.” The Twinsburg Library only reopened to the public in May of 2020.

Past volunteers have also been dropped due to the rise of COVID-19. “We didn’t have much information about surface spread at that point. So they [the volunteer center] wanted to wait until the level of COVID spread went down,” Smith stated. 

This delay has made work more difficult for many people, Smith commented, “We still get many requests for volunteering from people who need hours for school, but in circulation, there hasn’t been as much of a need to restart their volunteer program, as the current staff has been able to handle the workload.”

The NEOMED library helps volunteers by providing them with different resources including directions for OCLC, a program frequently used for records, and more.

Volunteering has helped many people find the career they want. This helps prepare many students, not just high-schoolers, to prepare for the real world and support themselves with time management and responsibility.

Charli Kavali, a ninth-grader, stated that it has been harder to find places to get her hours. She plans to “volunteer for teachers or work at a pet shelter.” She also stated that she is interested in these fields for her future career. “I’d like to take a course on how [veterinary jobs] works, how {animals’] minds work, and how [animals’] bodies work.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, many were discouraged to help their communities through volunteering. At the NEOMED Library, Morgan Whiteman, a tenth grader, explained their situation with volunteering. “I’ve been volunteering for about six months. My main job is recording and going through records.” Whiteman also stated, “It’s been a bit rough. [During COVID] the main change is that there have been fewer people.”

Ms. Stephanie Hammond, guidance counselor for grades 10 through 12, has emailed all high schoolers volunteering opportunities. “Many times they’re from emails I get from other organizations and others to share out!” She continued to state, “Mrs. Lee and I are working on a new Google Classroom so that we can have all of those opportunities available at all times for students.” While student’s work on getting their hours, submitting their timesheets is also important. These forms are located on the table outside of the counselor’s corner while also being on the Bio-Med website.

Other ways to find opportunities include websites like BVU Volunteering and VolunteerMatch. Sites like this have helped many students find places to get hours and help their communities.

Bio-Med STEM

A Billionaire’s Space Race: Bezos’ and Blue Origin’s Fight to Win the Right to Take Humans Back to the Moon

by Logan Cook, staff writer

OCTOBER 2021 – NASA plans to return to the Moon by 2024, but there is controversy over who will take humans there. NASA’s Artemis program, the set of missions to take people to the Moon for the first time in 50 years, has been subject to many delays. Inadequate government funding has been a main cause of these delays and, more recently, billionaires have protested NASA’s plans.

NASA contracted three companies, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, and Dynetics, to design a Human Lander System (HLS) on April 30, 2020. The task given to these companies was to design and develop a lunar lander that could safely ferry humans from the Orion capsule (the deep space habitat for astronauts) in lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon and back. NASA planned to take care of launching the astronauts from Earth via the Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket, and orbiting them around the Moon via the Orion Crew Capsule.

These Starship prototypes are ready for flight tests at SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas launch facility. SN15, pictured on the right, was the first Starship to complete a high altitude test flight without subsequent explosion. NASA chose SpaceX to modify this Starship design to be able to land the next humans on the Moon.

SpaceX and Dynetics chose to make their designs alone, while Blue Origin formed the “National Team,” a joint design team composed of Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper.

NASA’s $2.89 billion contract to build the HLS was awarded solely to SpaceX, on April 26, 2021. Lisa Watson-Morgan, the project manager for HLS, stated “We’re confident in NASA’s partnership with SpaceX to help us achieve the Artemis mission and look forward to continuing our work toward landing astronauts on the moon,” when asked about the contract in a phone conference with the Washington Post.

A long time partner of NASA, SpaceX was founded by Musk in 2002, with the mission of pioneering the commercial space industry. NASA chose SpaceX to demonstrate the ability of its Falcon rockets to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) in 2006. SpaceX’s Falcon rockets proved themselves as reliable resupply vehicles and have launched both supply and manned missions to the ISS in collaboration with NASA.

Musk, a multibillionaire, has been able to use his fortune to foster innovation within SpaceX, namely leading the way for reusable rockets. SpaceX’s combination of innovation and continued success has made them one of NASA’s most trusted commercial partners.

SpaceX’s HLS design includes the Starship, a reusable, multiplanetary rocket and the largest rocket ever built. SpaceX hopes Starship, which is currently being developed and tested, will have the capabilities to take humans to both the Moon and Mars.

SpaceX is modifying a version of Starship to function solely as a lunar lander for HLS. SpaceX’s plan for a lunar landing involves launching the lander into Low Earth Orbit with subsequent Starship launches to refuel the lander. After being refueled, the lander would take its trip to the Moon. This process could take a total of 16 launches in two week increments, a focal point for the argument of Blue Origin, who is trying to win a piece of the contract.

One of the other companies chosen by NASA, Blue Origin, was founded by Bezos in 2000. Bezos, the founder of Amazon and a multibillionaire, claimed to be passionate about space, but rarely provided Blue Origin with the funding requested by engineers. Blue Origin’s flagship rocket, New Glenn, is still in the design stages, has faced multiple delays, and has yet to perform an orbital launch of a system designed in house.

The National Team split the overall design among its members, delegating the transfer vehicle to Northrop Grumman, the lunar lander to Blue Origin, the ascent vehicle to Lockheed Martin, and the navigation systems to Draper. The proposal does not involve designing new rockets, opting to use already proven United Launch Alliance rockets. The transfer vehicle, lunar lander, and Orion capsule would each launch separately, a total of three launches. The components would then dock together in lunar orbit.

Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper all publicly accepted NASA’s decision to award the HLS contract solely to SpaceX.

In contrast to its National Team partners, Blue Origin began a public relations campaign to protest the choice of SpaceX. Blue Origin designed a series of infographics that described the risks behind SpaceX’s plan, calling the plan “Immensely Complex & High Risk.” The National Team’s design was displayed on the infographics, being described as “Safe, Low-Risk, Fast.” Blue Origin’s argument stands on the basis of SpaceX’s possible 16 launches being unnecessary compared to the National Team’s proposed three launches.

Pictured is a Blue Origin infographic outlining the risks of SpaceX’s plan to take humans back to the Moon. Blue Origin has used these infographics to attempt to gain public support in an effort to overturn NASA’s choice of SpaceX as the sole company to design the next lunar lander.

Blue Origin used the public relations campaign to claim that NASA’s decision to only choose one company would breed uncompetitive business and delay the program. Blue Origin claimed that if NASA were to award the contract to two separate companies, it would incentivize the companies to work competitively and improve their designs.

Blue Origin filed a complaint based on these claims, with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in late April, which was just days after SpaceX won the contract. The GAO determined that NASA’s actions were fair and lawful, stating in their decision that “NASA’s current fiscal year budget did not support even a single [HLS] award.” The protest delayed SpaceX from starting the contract for 95 days.

Blue Origin filed the same complaint with the Federal Court of Claims (FCC), after the GAO’s ruling. A U.S. Judge set a hearing date of Oct. 14. In response, NASA delayed SpaceX’s ability to continue work on the contract until Nov. 1. The FCC has the ability to overturn NASA’s decision on the contract.

“I understand why NASA would choose SpaceX over Blue Origin,” said 10th-grader Zachary Totaro. “SpaceX is actively testing their design, and Blue Origin is not testing their design, yet. [Blue Origin] has been around for longer than SpaceX but has gotten less done, so I think NASA’s decision is just common sense.”

Musk took to Twitter to voice his view on Bezos’ actions. “The sad thing is that even if Santa Claus suddenly made their hardware real for free, the first thing you’d want to do is cancel it,” Musk wrote in a tweet. Musk and SpaceX have taken no legal action to counter Blue Origin’s.

All four National Team members, along with Musk and SpaceX, did not respond to The Hive’s request for commentary on the situation.

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The Virus: More Deadly Than Before

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

SEPTEMBER 2021 – In early March 2020, schools shut down, countries closed their borders, and millions were infected with COVID-19. The pandemic has reached a breaking point; at the time of writing, there were 100,000 new hospitalizations in a week due to Covid infection. As the pandemic returns back to how it was in December, many wonder what this means for humanity and if humanity  will ever return back to normal. Additionally, the Delta variant has begun to take over, killing millions worldwide and keeping many in hospitals. As schools start back up, health officials worry how this will affect the spread of the Delta variant. 

Schools throughout the world are enacting mandates to protect their students and staff. Among these schools is Bio-Med Science Academy. With the onset of the new school year, Bio-Med is attempting to keep its students and staff safe. Measures include a mask mandate, cleaning surfaces after use, social distancing, and ensuring students are quarantining when needed. 

“There are so many variables to these questions, many of which depend upon vaccinations.  If a person is exposed, but vaccinated, then they must wear a mask indoors for 14 days, unless they take a test at day five and it’s negative.  If a person is exposed, but not vaccinated, then they must stay home for 10 days, as they did last year,” Charmayne Polen, chief operating officer and principal, stated. Bio-Med had charts are released to help Bio-Med families and we take precautions to keep the Bio-Med family safe. 

“We are consistently watching the CDC and ODE guidance on mask wearing.  If the situation changes and our county’s numbers decrease, we will look at that and determine if masks are still a necessity.  So, I can’t say if it’s temporary, as they may be all year if the numbers continue to rise.  No one has a definitive answer to that. We encourage social distancing as much as possible,” she continued.

Aaron Ettinger’s class practiced safe learning and established social distancing to fight Covid. Photo by Meadow Sandy, staff writer.

Masks are required for all students and staff members. Though many have their own opinions on the mask mandate, the CDC is still highly encouraging wearing masks and social distancing when possible. Masks have been enforced to keep everyone safe. The mask is believed to be the most efficient way of keeping the spread low so the outbreak does not get out of control. 

“The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants,” stated the CDC, “Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons.”

With the school year continuing in person, we have found a different way to keep track of Covid cases at each Bio-Med campus. The schools have made a chart for each week showing how many cases each campus has had in that one week. This chart also includes how many students and staff are quarantined. This tool will help parents and students keep track of how many cases are on their campus.   

Sig Leichliter, a seventh grader, offered his opinion of the mask mandate. “I don’t really care. To be honest, if it were my choice I wouldn’t be wearing a mask. I would probably just make it so there’s no masks because I absolutely hate wearing them all day,” he said.

“The mask mandate is right. We should wear a mask; it keeps everybody safe,” said Kamaira Huffman, a ninth grader, “We should enforce mandates more, because of the whole nose thing. Honestly, I think [Bio-Med is] they’re doing it quite well.” Huffman had recounted her own experience with COVID and continued to state, “It definitely sucks, I know that. I’m annoyed with the people who think it’s completely over and it’s not real; it evidently is. Ask the people who have losses in their families because of it.” More than 645,000 people have died because of Covid in the United States. Older adults are more likely to get Covid but everyone who is not vaccinated is at risk of contracting Covid or a strain of it.

Zach Hamilton, another ninth grader who was infected with COVID-19, feels resigned about the situation at hand. “I feel that there were people in power who could’ve done something about it but didn’t do anything about it. I think that everyone should get the vaccine and keep wearing their masks until there’s no cases.” Hamilton recounted his experience with COVID-19, saying, “I’ve had it three times. None [of the symptoms] were ever severe but I still can’t taste right. Like nothing tastes right to me at all and nothing smells right.” As Bio-Med enforces COVID precautions ,  some students, like Hamilton and Huffman, still get infected. 

In mid-December 2020, the first dose of vaccines were rolled out to essential workers, eventually becoming available to teens. According to US Today, more people become reluctant to get the vaccine, this is due to fake news and their own beliefs. As many think that the vaccine is unreliable, this causes the unvaccinated to be the most at risk of contracting the Delta variant stated by the CDC. The age range of the vaccine and people not believing in it will also affect children who are unable to get vaccinated due to the age range. About 15% of cases in the last month are cases of children who are unable to get vaccinated, said NPR News. 

Those who are vaccinated can still carry COVID-19. Even with taking the correct precautions such as wearing a mask indoors, getting a vaccine, cleaning surfaces, social distancing, and using sanitizers frequently, COVID-19 can still be spread. 

As the cases of the Delta variant rise, Bio-Med continues to implement precautions to protect staff and students as new mandates come out to help improve the infection rates of its students and staff. 

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