Return to School During COVID - A Student's Perspective Sept 3, 2020 18:41:56 GMT -8
Post by Monika on Sept 3, 2020 18:41:56 GMT -8
It seems like anyone is debating whether students should go back to school. I'm referring to K-12 rather than colleges. I have read a lot of articles on this subject and read a lot of comments with individual opinions. What I have not read in any article or in any comment is a perspective of one of these students. Seriously, not a single student. I am one of these students who are literally being discussed.
I know there is a political battle in many states and in the country overall. There are also educational arguments being made. Still, there are health concerns which, I believe, should be at the forefront of any discussions and decisions to be considered. Really, at the end, this is what that should be all about.
I'm itching to get back to school. There is a stereotype about kids how they hate school. Getting up in the morning with someplace to go with deadlines which have been met with last night's homework, and the new deadlines which will present themselves in the coming day, are not the most fun to be had for any kid. However, I'm one of those kids who doesn't mind the homework and the learning. Being the youngest of eight children in my family, I've seen the benefits of hard work in school from my older siblings. A sister is a successful attorney in Portland and a brother is a lead paramedic for a nearby fire department. For my oldest brother, our local K-12 school district prepared him for life in the Army and now even further as he is entering the private sector. While I am young, I understand the importance of school and even the homework. I know that there is an end goal and this is part of the path to take to reach that goal.
I miss my teammates and classmates dearly. I've spoken face to face (behind masks) to only three of them since early March and that's only because we live on the same block. The rest has been through phone calls, texts or video chats. I miss hanging out at lunch time talking about whatever it is we are talking about, joking about and laughing about. Virtual hugs and emojis just aren't the same. I miss working on class projects with a classmate or two. I love collaborating on those things and coming up with a solution while learning along the way. Sometimes that learning is more than just about the project itself. That kind of it is all about teamwork. I talk with my family about those kind of things and they have relayed practical examples of how they have done and continue to do them with their co-workers in professional life.
Teamwork isn't just some throw out word to me. I see it a lot. In a normal year, I would play basketball, softball and run cross country. These are all team sports; even the third of them. The close friendships and camaraderie are very special to each of us. We are friends with each other, we protect each other and we coach each other. As a team, each individual girl sees it as her job to make the others around her better. Not just better teammates, but better students and examples for our other classmates. Basketball season had just ended for us when the pandemic really came upon us. It seems like it hit like a sudden summer thunderstorm. The emptiness of the cancellation of our spring school sports, such as softball, was like a blue sky after the thunderstorm passed.
However, as we all know, the storm has not passed. In some cases, it seems like it's picking up steam. The one thing on which we all should be able to agree is that it's not under control. No, despite all of our best efforts, it is not under control at all. And it won't be for quite some time. Regardless of what one person or another may say and regardless of reports of light at the end of the tunnel, The thunder is still roaring and the lightning is still striking. We are still in a downpour. We are still in the thick of that thunderstorm.
I love my friends. Outside of my home and tight-knit family, they are my lifeline. I love zooming and skyping with them, but it's not the same. I want to see them in person. I want us to return to our laughter, our bad jokes and our version of news of the day. I want to return to learning; Learning like normal. I want to return to the day-to-day personal instruction from my teachers and the day-to-day collaboration with my classmates. My friends. But, there is something I don't want.
I don't want my friends to get sick and I don't want my friends to die. As my parents and I discussed this (with the input from an older sibling or two), we starting listing the pros and the cons of going back to school for the fall quarter. We had around a half dozen of things written down in each column. Finally, I added those to the cons column. My feelings then became abundantly clear; not only to everyone else, but to me as well. As long as there is that very real threat, it's not even worth it. For everything I love about school, health and safety of my friends, teachers and myself have to be the number one priority.
It's said that precautions can be taken to make things “as safe as possible.” That's great. It's no guarantee. Look, I know no one can guarantee one of us won't be hit by a car on the way to and from school, or behold some other unforeseen mortally tragic event. But this, making sure we don't get sick; even sick enough that we lose anyone from our school is just not something on which we can take enough precautions. And, as we have seen in the news, there are those who simply not adhere to the requirements it takes to make sure those precautions turn out to be successful. It's the whole a few ruining it for the rest sort of thing.
So then, with what am I left? My mother at one time or another home schooled each of my seven older siblings. Perhaps surprisingly, I've never been home schooled Should that have been the outcome, I have tremendous confidence in her. What my school district is offering is virtual schooling. I believe this is the best that can be done at this point. This still will allow my classmates and I to learn and, more importantly, stay safe. If I have any questions, I can e-mail my teachers. In the goal of staying safe, this is the way to accomplish that. I appreciate that my state Department of Education and my school district are making this possible.
One day, my classmates and I will be back in the classroom, in the cafeteria and in the halls learning and talking about all the news of our day. For now, we'll have to wait. On that last note, I don't believe there should be any further discussion nor debate.
Monika, Regional Board Editor at SCtoC, is a student at an Oregon School. Entries of this blog will appear periodically and cover a wide range of topics.
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