It’s Our Voice

It's Our Voice

Kennedy Torrez, Journalist

“The importance of reopening Americas School this fall”-CDC. “ More Schools are reopening as Covid-19 cases rise Nationwide” – Wall Street Journal. “Back to school with Covid-19 Rules” – Wall Street Journal. “ Schools start too early”-  CDC. Article after article has been published about the controversy of students returning to school this year during a historic time, for the first time the world is faced with a problem that has affected every single person and every aspect of their life. If you haven’t figured it out I’m referring to Covid-19 otherwise known as the Coronavirus disease. At the beginning of the year it started as a small problem few were worried about, most people thought we would have seen an end to it by may and the President of the United States even claimed it was not something anyone should be concerned about. However it is now the middle of October and there is no end in sight with no vaccine being distributed amongst the people. So parents and government officials are faced with another problem, should they send students back to school or have their education be primarily online? 

Here is the underlying undeniable truth… there is no perfect solution because things are changing everyday. Keeping students home would make them less at risk for contracting the disease but it could have a negative effect on their education, learning online is something new and not always the easiest thing to do. When asked how students feel about doing school online I got varying responses but all of them had one thing in common, students feel uncertainty and stress about the whole situation. One student who goes to South High school in CO, Denver even said, “ I am considering dropping out, I feel overwhelmed with the amount of work I am getting from all my teachers. And what they fail to understand is two assignments each week is difficult because I have seven classes, so it ends up being a total of 14 assignments and when I’m not given class time to work on it and they all become homework it is pretty much impossible to complete them all on time.” 

Consider this for a second you’re a high school student in the middle of a pandemic and you go to one day of school, at South the average day has 3-4 classes, each class you are given an assignment and each assignment takes about two hours. You spent all day looking at your screen listening to a teacher’s lecture and when you are finished with your classes you have 6-8 hours of homework. And you have to repeat this process tomorrow, so if you decide  to not do one assignment or don’t have time because you have other obligations then you fall significantly behind. The whole situation is stressful. And based on the classes you’re taking and other things happening in your life it can be way worse. But isn’t having students work mainly online better because there is less of a health risk? 

No, not necessarily because it also affects their mental health, Something most parents and government officials have failed to consider. Parents are pushing for their students to go back to school so they can focus on work, and some are pushing to keep them at home so it doesn’t affect their health. Most government officials are worried about the economic perspective of keeping kids home and making the wrong choice upsetting the parents.But no one has stopped to ask the students how they feel about going back. Just like before I got varying responses from students I asked but two stood out to me, a student in Connecticut currently doing school in person said, “ There is really nothing I’ve benefited from coming back to school to be honest” . His education was still for the most part the same except now he was risking his life by showing up. Another student who attends South High school in Co,Denver said, “ I think it is funny that the superintendent Susana Cordova is comfortable with sending students back to school in the middle of a world pandemic that has killed millions and yet also decided a minor snow day with less than 4 inches of snow is to much of a safety risk to allow students to go into school.” So then what is the solution, should we send students to school or keep them home?

Neither, the solution is to talk to the students themselves! They are the ones participating not the parents or the government officials, and while it’s understandable that parents’ opinions are needed cause it concerns them too and government officials are making the final call no one has stopped to ask the students how they are doing. It may be easier for some students to go back in person and others to stay home and do it online, but it is a case to case basis. For some doing it online has caused more harm to their education then not learning at all and for others going in person has caused more than just a physical health risk. Out of all the articles I have googled on this subject I still have yet to find one about how students truly feel and what they wish they could tell their government officials.