Illustration by Chelsea Lam

Reopening School

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PRO: Failures of distance learning necessitates school reopening

By Chelsea Lam

As the first semester of the school year ends, there has been debate on opening school for in-person learning in 2021. In-person learning is especially crucial since distance learning fails to be a good substitute to the usual experience of learning with your peers and teachers at school and less participation. Reopening school would not only help students gain the best learning experience, but also ease families’ worries on caregiving. 

Many students have been struggling in a learning environment where teachers cannot offer direct help. With distance learning, students are not able to efficiently learn with less teacher-student time as everything is submitted and graded online. Reopening would prevent this problem of students failing to get a deeper understanding of their work by offering honest, detailed feedback. At home, it is inevitable that students will face distractions from their family, phones, and other activities during instruction. Education is vital in building success for students, especially through engagement and participation from each student to allow more in-depth learning. In-person learning allows teachers to control distractions and offer less opportunities to leave during class. Students will receive the most effective education from in-person learning. 

To parents, the stress of job loss and lowered incomes have been magnified by the additional stress of home care. Many parents usually leave their oldest child to care for their siblings. When students are in school, the parent will not need to worry about their children, and the student will not need to take care of their siblings. Instead, they are able to prioritize and focus on the importance of their jobs and education. 

Opposers to reopening school would argue that attending school in person would risk  spreading COVID-19. However, when returning to school, strict policies are implemented to provide the safest learning experience for students with frequent sanitization and keeping distance between students. With hybrid learning, attending school in person is optional. In this alternative, a number of students attend and learn at school, while the other half learns at home. 

Overall, the concern of risking the spread of COVID-19 would be at the lowest prospect with careful, mandatory policies for students to coherently learn in a safe environment.

CON: Reopening school brings disaster

Illustration by Destiny Chow

By Aaron Lu

As the school year heads into its second semester, returning to campus is being considered. Due to distance learning not being as effective as traditional schooling, the district plans to reopen it for some students by the end of Jan., adhering to LA County public health guidelines. However, maintaining school closure and distance learning is necessary to prevent a potential spread of COVID-19 cases among students.

Efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our state have been ineffective. Cases have continued to spike dramatically with the current number of cases in November alone charted at 4.2 million, and in LA County, 21,846. The persistent spread of the virus shows no sign of stopping and reopening the campus introduces a possibility of more infections and another stay-at-home order. This endangers the life of students and their family. Sticking to distance learning and having students stay at home allows for a less infected population and a faster chance of returning to normal.

Even with added safety precautions like wearing a mask and staying six feet apart, the district must not take this risk. These precautions do not fully protect someone throughout an entire school day where students are constantly moving from class to class. At school it would be too troublesome to monitor every student for potential risks of infections. Staying at home relieves students’ worries about going to school and the risk of contracting the virus.

Understandably, distance learning has proven to be subpar to the traditional classroom. In a classroom environment, it was much easier to accomplish student involvement with learning. Still, during uncertain times, distance learning is sufficient enough to continue as it is. It is a good balance between the safety of students while still achieving education. Distance learning is brand new and will not be perfect, but it can be improved to fit student needs while also being normalized. 

Keeping the campus closed and continuing distance learning through the second semester is a must to keep students and faculty safe. The only way to go back to school is with a tried and trusted vaccine that is guaranteed to be safe to use, and even then, caution will still be necessary.

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