School Opening Up During Covid-19

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School Opening Up During Covid-19

Daniel, Reporter

After California’s Governor announced the reopening of schools in April, school communities were thrown into a feverish state of confusion and happiness. After almost one entire year of shelter in place, schools have finally been given the green-light to reopen. “I think it is safe to open schools because the people that go in the afternoon are doing a great job of hand washing, wearing masks, etc.” says sixth grader Ellie.

First of all, you might wonder about the precautions that were made to make this possible. Ms. Shackel says, “Mask wearing, hand washing/sanitizing, social distancing, testing and tracing, and room cleaning. We also do temperature taking, wellness screening and students who have any symptoms need to stay home.” 

School will open after spring break. (April 8th) At this time most teachers will have had  their second vaccine; all the teachers will be safe to teach. 

“I do think it is safe for students to go back to school. However, I only think that if teachers, students, and staff all get vaccinated before. This is because a parent could catch the virus, then pass it down to their kid, then the kid could pass it down to the whole school, and we would have to go in lockdown again. But if we get vaccinated before, that is way less likely to happen,” says 7th grader Emma. Lots of other students feel the same way. Many say they think it is safe to open up schools when the teachers have gotten both of their vaccines.

While the majority of families say they plan to return to school, about twelve percent still plan to remain in distance learning.  Some students say they just prefer distance learning.  One fifth grader said, “I would prefer being online because I get to sleep more.” 

Reese from 6th grade said, “I opted to stay online because the system works well for me, and it would be more inconvenient to my after-school schedule if I was learning in-person (less flexibility)” 

One 8th grader said, “In my opinion, the best thing we can do during this time is wait for the vaccine to be available to children under 16. For these reasons, I would choose not to come back to school even if the option was presented.” 

Georgina from 4th also said, “Even if school was open, I would stay online because I am already used to doing school online. It would be hard to switch from online to in-person in the middle of the school year.”
Other students worry about safety.  “I don’t think it’s safe to open schools, kids don’t even have vaccines yet, it’s not required but, you need triple masks, and to wash your hands for 30 seconds. I’ll stay online, it’s a lot safer in my room, then next to some people who could have possible covid,” says a student from 6th grade. 

However, most students think it is safe.  “I think reopening the school would be safe. The school is taking a lot of very strict precautions, like not being allowed to take off your mask (or else you get kicked from your cohort) and always reminding the kids to stay apart. Reopening would also be a huge opportunity for students like me, who really can barely work at all in distance learning,” said one 8th grader.

However, NIkhil in 6th grade said, “If people are going inside and not social distancing 100% percent of the time, then I don’t think it’s safe.”

Ryan from the 8th grade also vehemently protested against the school’s reopening plan. “Safe to open school? Most definitely not. There are many people out there who think that since COVID is “over”, they don’t need to stay home or wear masks. The ultimate result there is that COVID cases rise again, we’re forced to lock down again, and forced to wear masks again longer, prolonging the pandemic.” 

I would not stay online because I think it is important for kids to get socialization,” says Ellie from 6th grade. This is true, many researches have shown that kid socialization is one really important factor for maturing. Another 6th grader shares this same view, stating, “I think that in In-Person learning the teachers find it easier to teach and the students can focus and learn more. If NSA opens I hope that they will be almost as normal as regular times and possible next year we could get back to normal.”  

However, school reopening has its darker side to it as well. As one student says, “I also think that making distance learners have little to no synchronous time with teachers is bullying people to choose between an education and safety.” 

Maya from 7th grade said, “I think that going back to school is really great, especially for people who really need to see and talk to people other than their family members, (like me), because we just haven’t had school in a long time so going back will help things feel normal again.”

We won’t be able to go back to full days until the distancing guidelines are lowered. I am guessing that will be in the fall, but we do not know yet. We have options for both, but 80% of students (plus another 8% who will come back) WANT to be on campus,” Ms. Shackel says, “You will stay with the same cohort of kids. (There can be 15 kids in a classroom) No rotations.”

Another con of all this idea is that there will be no enrichments next trimester. This, unfortunately, would result in that we have no real ability to continue the Gryphon Gazette actively together with North Star scholars working together. However, there is still content to be published, so stay tuned for the new stories yet to be published!

“I think it is very safe to open. We have been doing it already, and so far, everyone has stayed healthy!” says Ms. Shackel, “Most teachers will be fully vaccinated by the time school starts. It is great. I love having scholars on campus. 80% of scholars who are coming back to school report a happier and more positive mood each week! So far, there have not been any problems!” This is a risky thing to do, because it has many dangerous cons, and minor uncomfortability. However, the risks are minimized, and it will help our scholars learn more efficiently.

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