Students question whether going back to school second semester is the safest choice

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Wootton has not had students flooding the hallways and Commons in seven months due to the Coronavirus.

Montgomery County Public Schools have been closed since Mar. 13 and will continue to be closed until the end of January. MCPS handled the pandemic to the best of their ability and shifted students to virtual schooling. However, students and staff are still unsure what the second semester will look like and whether going back to school is ideal.

Some students believe that schools should open back up for the second semester because Maryland has entered stage three of the reopening initiative. Since the state is opening back up people believe that this means it is safe to go back to in-person learning. According to Maryland.gov, “On June 19, the governor announced a return of limited outdoor visitation.”

Although Maryland officials lifted the initial COVID-19 restrictions that prevented people from leaving their homes, nothing is back to normal. Various restaurants are only offering pickup services. While others are offering indoor seating, it is limited. Appointments need to be made when going out to places and masks are a general requirement. As of Oct. 20, there are 590 new coronavirus cases in Maryland.

In a school that about 2,200 students attend, it is not safe to allow everyone back into the building at once. This may result in more chances of Coronavirus spreading because it may be difficult for people to maintain social distancing. According to the CDC, Coronavirus spreads when someone coughs or sneezes and can survive on the surfaces for hours or up to a few days.

As much as I miss seeing my friends and being with them in school, I do not want to put myself or others at risk to do that. I think that online school is the best option for right now.”

— Christina Lee

Although students would wear masks to school, they would take them off to eat and drink water. It is not realistic to have every surface of the school cleaned every second of every school day. Resuming in-person learning would risk the health of the students and faculty. “As much as I miss seeing my friends and being with them in school, I do not want to put myself or others at risk to do that. I think that online school is the best option for right now,” senior Christina Lee said.

The fall and winter months contain major holidays where families and friends travel to see each other and by doing this the risk of the virus spreading increases drastically. According to Vox, “The fall and winter threaten to make things much worse. Schools will continue to reopen. The cold in northern parts of America will push people back inside, where the virus has a much easier time spreading than the outdoors. Families and friends will come together for the holidays.”

Mixing going back to school on top of the flu season would ultimately be a disaster for everyone. According to CNET.com, “Much of the attention, this fall has now shifted to concern over the possibility of two potentially lethal viruses circulating at the same time—COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, the latter of which kills around 40,000 people in the U.S. per year. Because of certain overlapping symptoms such as fever and cough, it may be harder for doctors to immediately determine which infection you have.”

As much as everyone is sick of being trapped in their house doing school and not seeing friends like they used to, it’s not realistic for schools to reopen for the rest of this school year. There is too much risk involved with opening the school back up, especially for immunocompromised students and staff or those who have family members who are immunocompromised.

As a person with underlying health issues, contracting the virus could be detrimental to my health. I think it would be best if schools remained closed for the rest of the year. With cases rising daily, it would not be in the best interest of the school or the community to switch back to in-person learning.