Students Divided on Full-Time Return

Juliet Morris, Correspondent

Almost a year after the initial lockdown, schools are finally getting back to their pre-COVID state, or as close as they can be for the time being. Elementary and middle schools are already on course for going back five days a week with both cohorts beginning this week, but high school is still up in the air. No decision has been made yet, which allows for much debate amongst the students and teachers. Similar to the beginning of the school year with the debates about whether we should be back at all, different people have different stances on going back full time. 

Some are excited to see their friends in the opposite cohort for the first time in almost a year, and some think this is irresponsible and rushed. It’s nearly impossible to go a day without a teacher either offhand mentioning the potential switch or completely pausing the class to explore it. 

Students are definitely opinionated on it too. Stamford High junior Ivana Nique said, “I think it’s an irresponsible decision for the district to take. Classes are packed enough right now, and it seems like the hallways are already too full of students. There’s no reason to rush going back to full in-person learning when there’s only four months until we finish the year.” 

Whether you think we should go back full time or not, the fact that there are only four months of school left is worth acknowledging. If schools don’t go back full time until the fall, most students will be vaccinated by then instead of just the teachers. 

However, some students struggle with paying attention and staying engaged during their designated distance learning days. It’s hard for many teachers to find the right timing and pacing while seeing their students every other day, too, and many go about different approaches to this unprecedented situation. Some teachers have opted for Zoom meets every day, others only some days, and some not at all. It’s hard for students to keep track of which meets they have and when. 

Kaitlyn Pepa, a junior at Stamford High, supports returning full time.  “I think that it allows for students to have a chance at normalcy just before the year ends which they have been deprived of all year,” Pepa said. “Because the students have been going through this rigorous schedule between online and in person, it allows for those who do not work well online to be able to get a chance at proper schooling and not get further discouraged or distracted from their work, than if they were at home.” 

Just like the beginning of the year, Stamford High students and staff are divided on what should be done about the persisting pandemic. 

There are, of course, questions about safety, since classrooms are already filled according to the 6-foot distance regulation initially recommended by the CDC. 

When asked if going back would be safe, Stamford High seniorEmmy Sigtryggsson said, “I think we can. Understandably it might take a little bit to plan, which to my understanding is happening, but the CDC changed the restrictions to three feet instead of six. I think that it’s come to a point where we need herd immunity, and our education has suffered enough. I don’t feel like I’m learning anything.” 

Some don’t think the health risks are worth the benefits. Junior ( and Round Table Arts Editor) Selma Fuseni said, “I think it’s too risky, particularly for the high schools. I understand for the elementary schools because their classrooms tend to be bigger and they are the most negatively impacted, but having 2,000  high schoolers in one building even two weeks after teachers get vaccines is way too risky.”