Returning to School, is it Safe?

By: Saron Amdemeskel & Tess Maloney
November 20, 2020

Starting on January 26th, 2021, FCPS will be opening schools using a concurrent system. The concurrent instruction will consist of two days of instruction in the school and two days of virtual instruction at home, both will be led by a teacher. Students will be assigned to 1 of 3 groups, Group A (In-school), Group B (in-school), or Group C (online full-time). FCPS also has many protocols set in place to help keep students, teachers, and staff safe.

We interviewed some students and teachers in the Glasgow community to find out how they felt about going back. When asked what her thoughts on returning to school were, Ms. Audant, an 8th grade Civics teacher, said, “Just in general….I feel like I have a mix of feelings. So, on the one hand I am cautiously excited just to have at least a little more sense of normalcy…I miss going to school, standing in the hallway, talking to my students, just those like casual interactions.” When asked if she thought it was safe to go back to school she said, “I think the school district is trying their best to keep things safe. I feel encouraged knowing that they have measures in place….. I appreciate knowing that our school system is going based on health guidelines…..but looking at the plans they have in place I’m cautiously optimistic.”

An 8th grader, Rewan Farag, was asked if she thought it was safe to go back to school, “I don’t think it’s safe for them to go back to school because I feel like germs get passed around easily. So even if it’s in one place to start, it can be transported easily. I also feel like students will be sitting next to each other for too long. Kids this age don’t show that many symptoms, so it’s hard to identify whether someone has Covid.” When asked what she thought about the concurrent schedule that FCPS would be using she said, “I feel like this is part of the reason why I would stay online, because two days won’t really make a huge difference. Two days in school, I mean you could catch Covid in a second, but two days won’t really make a huge difference in school or online. Also, nothing will be normal anymore, everyone will be worried about masks and cleaning, and that could possibly have an impact on their learning.”

Aside from the two interview’s we conducted, we gathered some information from two surveys we sent out. When asked if students think we should return back to school, 62 out of 172 students said we should. On the other hand, an equal amount of students said we shouldn’t, and 55 said they weren’t sure. One student said it’s a wonderful decision to return to school and stated, “It builds relationships between people,” and “helps to cope with stress and major life changes.” Well another student shared they believe FCPS is rushing into this, and students not taking it seriously will cause a rise in cases in our county.

As we’ve seen, there are many different opinions on returning back to school. At the end of the day it’s your choice, so think it through and pick the best choice for you.