While many students and parents are craving a return to normal, restarting in-person learning will hurt more than help


Haley Lewis

A student does her learning from at home, just like several have had to do over the past few months

Max Keller, Reporter

With more than five months of online learning under their belts, students and teachers at CHS are preparing to return to school. Of course, just like when sports were about to begin, the potential restoration of in-person learning has sparked a large debate amongst Clayton residents.
Is going back to school really the best idea? Well, no. While many students are eager to return to a normal way of learning, the drawbacks of returning to an in-person learning experience are too much to ignore.
The penultimate reason for waiting to return to normal education is the coronavirus. Cases are rising all over the country, not to mention the spike in cases that we have seen in Missouri. We didn’t go back to school in August or September when the number of cases was much lower, and yet we’re planning a return now? The whole idea seems rushed and risky.
If the administration wasn’t being pressured to make a decision, maybe the return to school would be carefully thought out and safe, but for the moment, it seems like students are being hurled back into the classroom with little afterthought.
With hundreds of students entering the high school every day, it would be almost impossible to completely stop the spread of the virus within school walls. Of course, parents are being told that it will all be safe because kids will wear masks and classes will be smaller, but safety should be everyone’s biggest concern.
With countless hours spent together throughout the entire school year, it would be a miracle if not a single infection occurred between students. Especially since many students will assuredly not adhere to safety guidelines.
Of course, the students themselves will not be in harm’s way if this occurs, but their unsuspecting relatives will be. People have become so eager to return to school that they seem to have forgotten that the real victims of the virus are the elderly, not the students.

This not only applies to students but teachers as well. What happens if a teacher is high risk? Do they forfeit their job, teach from home, or will they be forced to put themselves in danger by teaching in person?
One of the major arguments for returning to school is the social interaction between students that has been missing the past few months. But the advocates of this idea have not really thought hard enough about what going back to school in November actually means.
For starters, only half of a grade level will be in the school at a time. This means only half of a given student’s friends and classmates will actually be able to interact with one another. Also, those interactions will be expected to be very minimal. Students will probably be separated completely during class time, there’s no ability to go off-campus, and there’s not even an option for students to lounge in the commons or library. For any returning CHS student, this sounds like a nightmare, but it will soon be a reality.

Many of the concerns with returning to school seem to be directed at students, but teachers also will be bearing a large burden.

Many of the concerns with returning to school seem to be directed at students, but teachers also will be bearing a large burden. Every teacher will be expected to teach each class twice every day, not to mention the fact that a few of their students will be on a zoom call.

The fact that not all students will be returning to school is a major cause for concern for many teachers, as they will have to resort to an entirely online learning environment, to ensure that all students are getting equal opportunity in the classroom. Which begs the question, if we’re going back to school just to still use online learning, what’s even the point?
Returning to in-person learning sounds like a graceful return to normalcy, but in reality, we’d be stumbling blindly in the dark. Teachers and administrators have never been able to control the student body, and now it is believed that they will be able to control not only the students but also the spread of the coronavirus. To ensure comfort and safety, CHS should remain online for the foreseeable future.