Why You Should Reconsider Returning to School


Courtesy of the LA Times

Many students are considering returning to school when PYLUSD begins using a hybrid schedule, but students should rethink whether a return would be worth the risk.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

Recently, PYLUSD announced that students are being given the option to return to school under a hybrid schedule. For many students, this announcement was something that they have eagerly anticipated for months. As schools have begun opening up across the nation, it was only a matter of time before our district would make the decision to allow students back on campus.

At first, it may seem like returning to school would be the perfect way to meet our teachers, reunite with our peers, and to find a sense of normalcy in the midst of a pandemic, but a return to school is not as wonderful as it may seem at first glance. 

The main reason that many students have considered going to school is a chance to interact with their teachers and their classmates in person during class. However, This will not be possible when students return to school because teachers must accommodate for students who choose to remain at home.

Teachers will lecture on Zoom, and the students, both in class and at home, will watch through Zoom. While students at home will watch from the comfort of their rooms, students at school will sit at desks surrounded by shields while wearing a mask. Because of this, there is no advantage when it comes to returning to the classroom; in fact, some people may argue that returning to the classroom would be more inconvenient than beneficial. Megan Chou (10) says that she “used to believe that returning to school is what [she] wanted, but now that [she knows] that we will be using Zoom but at school for class, [she] no longer sees any advantage when it comes to returning to school.”

Data from the CDC shows that on March 13, the day that schools in PYLUSD closed due to the pandemic, the United States had only 565 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This month there are almost 50,000 confirmed cases. How does it make sense to close at so few cases, but reopen at so many?

This shows that the nation is nowhere near ready to safely reopen schools. The district has installed shields around desks, the number of people permitted on campus has been significantly reduced, and masks have been made a requirement. Despite all of these precautions, when students go outside for breaks, masks will come off and social distancing will be nonexistent. 

People may argue that the mental health of students may improve when they return to campus, but when they are sitting at an isolated desk surrounded by shields on Zoom, there really are few advantages. Sure, academic dishonesty will decrease, but students will still spend the majority of their week at home.

In the end, returning to school will only put the community at risk. As high school students, we do not need in-person teaching to keep us accountable. If we all make the decision to stay home, we can help keep COVID-19 cases in our community low so that in time, when it is safe to do so, we can return to a school where education and safety can coexist.