September 9, 2020
With local schools planning to reopen in late September, many have been weighing the pros and cons of going back to school. When San Clemente High School qualifies, many students will be going back 50% online and 50% at school. “I miss interacting with people and teachers in the classrooms,” freshman Gabriella Nacelli said. Nacelli opted into the 50% at school option.
Some students are staying 100% online for many different reasons, the most common of which is safety. Junior Madeline McDonald opted to stay 100% online because her family is “high-risk,” but McDonald says that she misses “being on campus, seeing [her] friends, and learning face to face with [her] teachers.”
Here are the pros for those opting to continue with full-time online schooling:
- Students are less likely to get COVID-19. For many, the thought of going back to school is risky, especially for those with underlying medical problems who could be “at risk” of getting sick.
- Distance learning may reduce stress levels since students are able to sleep for a longer amount of time without their daily commute. It is also easier for some to learn in a place that they feel is more comfortable than school.
- Students don’t have to miss school if they are traveling. It is fairly common for people to miss several days of school while vacationing, but now they can be in class at any location.
However, online schooling has its drawbacks as well:
- Both teachers and students are having a hard time using technology. With those who are not familiar with technology or have bad internet connections, it can be hard to keep up with the work given to them.
- Online students are easily able to cheat on homework and exams.
- It’s harder for teachers to interact with students. For many, the thought of having to stay home and not interact with their teachers at school makes it harder to learn. Lots of people don’t want to speak up in front of a silent online class.
For those opting into 50% online and 50% in school, here are the pros of this decision:
- Going back to school 50% of the time will allow these struggling teachers to be less stressed about technology and more focused on how they are going to teach their particular class.
- Online learning is making school harder for families without easy access to computers and WiFi. Although San Clemente High School offers these families Chromebooks, other schools may not have such widespread access.
- School provides a “safe haven” or “getaway” for both less fortunate students and students who need space from their families. 100% online causes many students to want to get away from their parents and life because there is a lot of pressure. 50% at school allows these students to see their friends more often, so they can escape the pressure they might feel at home.
Here are the cons of the 50/50 program:
- Teachers and students with health risks are more exposed to COVID-19.
- The CDC is promoting the 6 – 15 – 48 rule, which states that if one wears a mask, but is within six feet of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes, they are at high risk of getting the virus. This makes it extremely difficult for students to be in a confined classroom for up to 45 minutes during traditional days and up to an hour and a half during block period days.
- Going back to school risks the community spreading the virus. From 2018 to 2019, 3,012 students attended San Clemente High School. However, there is no way to tell how many students opted into the 50/50 school year, but there is a high chance that there are at least a couple of hundred students. Students are exposed to both their teachers and fellow students, increasing their chances of getting the virus and spreading it to their families.
Overall, parents and students should consider these pros and cons when deciding whether to go back to school or do it all at home.
CDC Link to 6-15-48 rule: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/public-health-recommendations.html