Should we be Reopening our Schools This Fall?

By: ARIANE OCHOA

Staff Writer

Across the country, schools have been deciding whether or not to open up and offer the opportunity for their students to attend in-person. This has not only become a point of contention for K-12 schools but colleges as well. Many schools in states such as Texas, Florida, and Arkansas have already opened up, but is reopening schools a necessity in the midst of a pandemic? 

Recently, John Hopkins University reported that at least 36 states with colleges allowing in-person instruction have reported an additional 8,700 positive COVID cases. Many students at these schools have purposely chosen not to social distance or take safety precautions regarding the pandemic and consequently, case numbers have shot up. So who’s to say reopening high schools may not result in an increase as well?

Depicted is a socially-distant classroom, where students are both masked and distanced. (NBC News)

Earlier this year in March, many universities suffered great financial loss by going online and having to refund students. After losing millions of dollars because of these financial burdens, many colleges cannot risk losing any more by staying closed this fall semester. These universities are willing to put their own students and faculty at risk in order to keep a steady revenue. At the same time, particular universities are not providing these incoming students with proper resources to stay satisfied while they are quarantined. 

Circulating across the social media platform “TikTok”, New York University students have shared their underwhelming “meals” that they were given during their two-week quarantine as they settled onto campus. Not only are the meals provided to the students inconsiderate of specific dietary restrictions but they are also poorly put together. At the very least, these universities are doing the minimum to keep their students safe and healthy when a wiser decision would be to keep the campus closed altogether. 

However, public schools for primary and secondary education do not have to deal with the problem of tuition, and for the most part, at least in California, have started the school year online. But, I’m sure by now, many have mentioned going back to school soon, as Orange County has just moved into the red tier of California’s new tracking system. However, as of August 31, the Center for Disease Control announced that the United States has reached over six million cases of COVID-19, with California accounting for the greatest proportion of these cases. 

Online school is very new to all of us and more stressful than physically attending class, but for now, I think it’s best to make do with what we have. Teachers are working hard to make online school as accessible and reasonable for students as possible. Reopening schools when California — and more specifically Orange County — is at high risk for an increase in the number of COVID cases will only result in closing the school again once there is an inevitable breakout.

Just as much as the rest of you, I miss seeing my friends at school and would prefer to go back. As a senior, I really wanted to experience my last first day of high school and all the football games and school events. However, pragmatically, trying to go back to school less than a month into the year is questionable. Although there will be precautions taken to lessen the number of students on campus, high schools aren’t as big as you may think, and when students come pouring out of their classes, there is nothing stopping them from breaking social distancing guidelines and spreading this contagious virus.

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