On Monday, February 22, the Lowell Public schools brought back students who are a part of the substantially separate program (students who need learning assistance) for in-person learning. They are also arranging for students outside of the special education programs who previously participated in the in-person learning program to return to school on Monday of March 1st. For students who were never involved in the in-person learning program and are interested in going back to school, the Lowell Public schools are trying to expand the opportunity for in-campus learning on April 1st.
The news will evoke excitement for some and wariness in others. Some parents and students might be concerned about the spread of the virus if students are allowed back at school. To ease the concerns, the schools are going to follow safety protocols to minimize the spread as much as possible. Nevertheless, there are still benefits and risks for the schools to accept students back on campus.
One might expect that learning from the comfort of one’s own home would be more convenient for students. However, too much comfort actually interferes with their education. Many students reported that they have a hard time focusing in their virtual classes. Being at home meant that students gain access to many distractions from their phones, computers, or other devices that would otherwise be forbidden to have during their in-person classes. These distractions make it difficult for students to direct their attention on their lessons which can consequently hinder their academic performances. Some students argue that they can retain information more effectively at school without the distractions. Allowing those students to return to school will boost their performances. Furthermore, going back to school can provide a safe space for some students. It is harmful for students from troubled households to remain at home. Issues at home can severely affect their psychological and physical health in addition to disrupting their education. Returning to school will provide those students a safe place to escape from the problems within their households.
Learning on campus carries risks that some family members may not want to take part in. Everyone is informed of the fact that the virus, Covid-19, bears more danger towards elders and older people from ages 45 and older according to the CDC’s Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Some families have elders living in their households which require them to take extra precautions when it comes to minimizing the spread of Covid. Students living with their grandparents or older family members and are planning on attending in-person learning will have to face the risk of getting infected compared to those remaining at home. Being in school means that those students will come in contact with people outside of their home that are possibly carrying the virus. This can jeopardize the safety of their family members, loved ones, and the people who might come in contact with them. It is best for them to remain away from the public until the number of Covid cases further decreases.
We should open school for some…
Not everyone’s situation is the same. There are definitely pros and cons for students who choose in-campus learning. Students should be informed of the risks of returning to school. It is up to them to decide whether to accept the risk or not depending on their circumstances. The options for virtual learning and in-person learning should remain open to accommodate for the different struggles that students might face during this pandemic.