Commentary: In-person learning may not be worth the effort–or risk

(Illustration by Eden Wening)

By Dora Horaitis, Commentary Writer

Many Maine South students have asked themselves if they should attend school in-person during hybrid learning. The answer to this question depends on the person, but the tedious precautions teachers and administrators have set up coupled with general uncertainty have led many students to choose to participate in school virtually. 

Students attending in-person must follow a new routine: using hand sanitizer when entering or leaving a classroom, wiping down the desks they sit, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and wearing a mask at all times. Students also must complete a self-certification and have their temperatures checked whenever they enter the building.

These absolutely necessary procedures bring students back in-person and keep the best interests of the students and staff in mind; however, students at home do not have to follow these procedures. 

In-person learning demands more effort than at-home learning doesfor little benefit. Each student experience is different, but many have found remote learning comfortable. They can sleep in, avoid commuting, and of course, not wear a mask. As much as students may want to go back in-person, learning at home has its perks, and the benefits of going back to school do not outweigh the risks for some students. Despite the tediousness of the sanitization procedures, they keep the school a healthy environment; however, among other concerns, these expectations can be an annoyance.

The issue of family concerns many students. Is returning to school and potentially exposing yourself to COVID-19 worth getting you or your family sick? In the wake of Thanksgiving, where many families got together, this question remains in the minds of students. Families could decide to follow the CDC’s recommendations or, more disturbingly, not follow them.

A surge in cases outside of schools could correlate to a surge of cases in schools.  According to the CDC, nearly a quarter of the cases in our region are currently due to school exposures.

With the winter holidays approaching, students want to stay healthy. The winter holidays bring a time of joy, and the healthier the student population and their families are, the more we can all enjoy them.

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