School-wide response to return of in-person learning

written by Kelsey Pease

CCSC students returned to in-person school on Aug. 24 after doing remote learning for two weeks. That previous Wednesday, Aug. 19, it was officially announced to guardians and learners that they would be returning. This came as a shock to many and created lots of controversy before that first day back. 

“It makes me nervous, but I also understand that kids need to be in school,” responded math teacher Philip Dysart. 

In a poll sent to all RA and CHS students and staff and even a few parents/guardians, 83 responses were submitted. 51.8% of responders were in support of this decision to re-open. Meanwhile, the other 48.2% were in disagreement. 

“I think that this is the best thing that can happen right now. Since being in quarantine and social distancing, we really haven’t had the chance to spend time with other people like we are used to. I feel like going back to school full time will help people’s mental state and lift their moods,” responded sophomore Emma Winsor. 

For those who were in agreement, many were ready for some normalcy. They expressed their desire for reconnection with students and teachers after several months of being out of school and several months without much human interaction. Others discussed how remote learning had been hard on them. It made it difficult for teachers to plan thorough lessons and aid students who were not good with online learning. It made retaining knowledge and full-understandment of lessons a struggle for those who favor hands-on learning. Although, this was not the same situation for others. 

“I am prefacing this with my previous belief that no matter how odd or backwards a decision by our school board has been, I have always believed that there has been at-least one positive that caused the decision to be made. I used to believe that until now. I see no point in the re-opening of schools as we know that they will be shut down. It will cause more kids to get sick. It will not only worry the students, but also their families of the possibility of catching COVID, and the best case scenario is that somehow nobody catches it from school despite the unthinkably low chances that this happens,” said junior Alex Tubman. 

Those who disagreed with the re-opening were filled with worry about their own families and the increased possibility of spreading it to those who may be more at-risk than others. This horrifying reality is what kept so many in shock that going back to school was even being considered. They also worried about themselves. For some, doing the online academy that was recently added to the CCSC district seemed like the safest choice. They wouldn’t have to go back to in-person school and could continue their learning from their own homes, but this option was not available to any senior or others who wanted to take dual-credit courses. This was a big frustration as many felt like they were being forced to choose between their safety and education. 

“I think that the safety measures that the school is taking are good, except for lunch. I believe that lunch is an absolute mess safety wise and there is little to no protection from Covid at all during lunch,” said Tubman referring to the lines of students who struggle with keeping a safe distance from one another. 

Expectedly, the opening of school did cause a lot of controversy. Although, administration put many safety precautions in place. Now, after every class teachers go around and sanitize each desk and all supplies or equipment that might’ve been touched by a student. All students must wear a mask unless eating at lunch, which has expanded from two to three different lunches to limit the number of students in the cafeteria, and students must sit in their assigned seats both at lunch and in-class. As of right now, several students are out for COVID-19 related reasons, which includes showing any signs from a headache to a runny nose or actually being diagnosed. The school has not reached the 20% absentee cut-off set by the health department which states that if 20% of students or more are out for Coronavirus related reasons, the school must close down. 

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