Opinion on Full Reopening

Alison Sinicki ‘22, Sports Editor


In eighth grade, my English teacher told us that every generation has an event that every member of the generation remembers clearly. For our grandparents, it was JFK’s assassination. For our parents, it was 9/11. I think we have had our event. Despite it only being nine months (though it feels longer) since March 13th, I believe we will all remember exactly where we were when our lives came to a stop. Now, nine months later, things are finally resembling normalcy. Schools are starting to go back to full time with everyone in the classroom. After one week, both students and teachers have opinions on how this new model is going to work. Many students are excited about being back, but they have concerns. As one junior said, “I think it is a bad idea. Especially with the first day of us all the way being back, it seems unsafe and not anything near 6 feet, let alone 3 feet of social distancing which was supposed to be their goal. We are risking 1 person getting corona, meaning we all need to go back to fully virtual. In the halls, there is no space whatsoever no matter what, and there are far too many people.” Many students feel this way. A sophomore added, “I feel like we should have stayed hybrid due to safety. Moving out of a hybrid plan increased the number of people on campus and the amount of people with the ability to spread COVID. That being said, I’ve felt fairly safe healthwise since school has reopened.” 

 

This past week has been an exciting one, with everyone resisting the urge to hug friends that they haven’t seen since March. It is a miracle that anything got done during classes as both teachers and students are adjusting to new routines and 400 people being in the building at the same time. For those online, however, not much has changed. But, they are worried about their in-person peers. As one online student states, “I’m not happy that Oakland decided to go back full time. With the COVID cases being so high in Allegheny County and increasing, hybrid would have been a better option. Also, why we have not had many cases is because only half of the school has been in the building at a time, and we’ve followed the six feet social distancing rules. It doesn’t make sense when what we were doing was working pretty well that we would change what we do to something riskier, especially with [the] percentage positive increasing in our county. I hope that this decision does not lead to the school having many cases. I understand it is a hard decision.”

In March, teachers experienced a whole new world: online teaching. Along with online learning came the struggle of trying to control a classroom when half the class has their camera turned off, new technology that no one knew how to work, and background noise that didn’t exist before. Then came August with hybrid learning:it was the same thing, but with the added challenge of connecting two groups of students that were not physically near each other. Needless to say, some teachers are relieved to be back full time where they only have to navigate Zoom for the one or two students in each class that stayed online. As one teacher said, “Hybrid is very difficult for me as a teacher, so I prefer us being in school.” Another teacher stated, “I can understand how it would make people nervous because the number of students in the building at any one time has been doubled. But, academically, a full reopen[ing] makes it easier to learn, and it’s nice to see everyone in the building again!  Hopefully everyone continues to follow social distancing and mask wearing so our community stays healthy!” We hope so too!