Holden James// BHS Maroon Tribune // Berthoud, CO // 02/08/2021
On January 25th a petition was made by a student of Berthoud High school in hopes of the Thompson School District would “[...]allow ALL AGES to return to fully in-person learning NOW.” This petition has seemed to get quite a bit of traffic as currently as of writing there are more than 325 signatures, a multitude of different comments showing their support, and lots of posts on social media showing their agreement with the petition.
I believe that bringing every student back to school “NOW” is dangerous and ignores the reality of the virus. that we are currently in. COVID-19 is highly contagious and should be taken seriously, and every student returning to school is not currently safe. The current hybrid system is put in place for a reason, so contact with other students is lowered and infected students can be traced. If every student was back in school at the same time, it would be nearly impossible to contract trace, which is extremely important with COVID. If the petition was put in place the current safety practice would no longer work and would require even more safety and cleaning protocols. The janitors are already putting in a lot of work to be able to have a hybrid system working, there is no one they would be able to put up with all the work with every student returning to school.
Mental health was brought up quite a bit in the comment section of the petition. While mental health is a hard problem to fix and different for everyone, I believe that they are other ways that you can help your mental health in safer methods. The CDC advises people who are feeling stressed and isolated to “take care of your body”, this includes eating healthy, exercising well, and taking breaks such as meditating and deep breathing. The CDC also advises people to connect with people through facetiming, calling, and texting. As a teenager who has dealt with mental issues, I know how challenging quarantining can be. The feeling of Isolation can be hard to get over and sometimes you do need to see people, and over facetime just won’t suffice. It’s much safer to see people just one-on-one instead of everyone going to school. When seeing someone on your terms you can better contact trace, and see only people you trust and know.
Another topic that came up a bunch in the comment section of this petition was, the fact that online school is “ruining their child's education”. While I do think that some students suffer more with online school compared to others, I do believe that there are different safer alternatives to helping a student with schoolwork rather than everyone going fully in-person currently. Northeastern.edu says that a clean and organized workspace, goals, time management, and distraction elimination can greatly affect your online learning. If you're missing the social aspect of school then a good alternative is having a group call with other students, working together through calls and facetime can be a great way to stay connected with others. If you are a student that needs social interaction and face timing is not sufficient then a safer alternative is having a study group. With a small study group, you can easily contact trace and still help each other out with school work as needed.
I know that these troubling times and change is a hard thing to overcome but the risk does not outweigh the good in this scenario. Many students have elderly and immunocompromised people in their immediate family, and having everyone go back to school does not outweigh the lives of those family members. I enjoy the fact that a student created a social movement for something they believe in but, I feel like now is not the time to go to normalcy as it is not safe to.