Features

Should Schools Reopen Sooner than Later?

By Madison Felix ’22

Loneliness and lack of human interaction have prompted several students and their families to question whether Immaculate Heart will bring students back to campus with a hybrid schedule anytime soon, or even at all.

According to news reports, Los Angeles County remains in the “purple” category, the worst tier based on the county’s level of coronavirus cases. However, as cases continue to drop, so has the county’s positivity rate among those tested. That lower rate now meets one of two standards needed to reopen schools. However, the county’s new cases per 100,000 still remain too high: They are currently at 11 and need to drop to under 7 to clear the way for in-class learning.

Despite encouraging stats, IH students remain uncertain about their future, especially as fall arrives and a potential second wave of the virus looms. The only certainty is that the school’s new class schedule is designed to make a seamless transition to a hybrid schedule. Each class period on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday will be divided between students in the classroom and the other half viewing the class remotely. On Wednesdays, everyone would attend class remotely.

Returning to campus cannot happen soon enough for some students, including junior Renée Murga. “If we don’t go to school and we stay online, I feel that students will have more anxiety because of the pressure and amount of work we have to experience during a school week,” Murga said.

Citing excessive amounts of homework and screen time, students like Murga feel Immaculate Heart should return to in-person schooling to restore a healthy balance academically and mentally. However, other students offer differing opinions, and some believe that while returning to school would be ideal, it would impose an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus. 

Junior Sofia Shoupourian said simply, “It would be great to return back to school and be in an in-person learning environment! However, it would be necessary to take great precautions in order for everyone to remain safe and healthy.”

While returning to school would be most beneficial for the students mentally, students may be subjected to increased risks of becoming physically ill if they are frequently exposed to a densely populated environment, Shoupourian said.  

Junior Meiyah Go shared even bigger concerns. “I feel that schools shouldn’t reopen because even though COVID has gone down, we shouldn’t be that carefree about it. COVID is one of the worst virus cases in history and being with a big group of people might still spread it around.

She added, “You wouldn’t even know if the person sitting right next to you has been with someone who has it. It is a bit scary knowing that many people have died because of it. Also, it would be a lot more work for schools with many students because they would need to keep everyone apart and [see] if they can fit everyone.” 

Junior Milla Duguay noted, “I personally prefer to do online school because I get to work in an environment that is most comfortable for me and I get a few more hours of sleep. Additionally, physically being in school during a global pandemic may be dangerous as students may come home with the virus and spread it to family members”

For just as many reasons, it may be difficult to return to school, especially given the current circumstances.  Meanwhile, many students said prevention is their top priority in the midst of a pandemic. It is crucial that every person continues to wear a mask as students adapt to the new “normal” and have any glimpse of hope in returning to life as we knew it prior to COVID-19.  

Featured image from School Library Journal.

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