Safety of school community should be priority

Reopening of schools jeopardizes health of all

Conversations flooded the halls on the first day regarding when schools would shut down again. It was almost like guessing a baby’s due date. Predictions ranged from two weeks to two months. According to “Washington County, Arkansas Coronavirus Cases and Deaths,” over 8,300 COVID-19 cases have been announced in Washington County, which is why schools should have remained closed. 

It is not right to go to school Monday-Friday as tens of thousands of Americans have passed away due to COVID-19. Arkansas is one of five states with a state-ordered in-person instruction where schools are required to offer onsite instruction five days a week.

It is unsafe to have hundreds of students and staff members in one building.  For example, Northside High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas was closed Sept. 1, ten days into the new school year, to be disinfected. There simply is not enough room for everyone to social distance. During lunch, we are not six feet apart and students take their masks off to eat. If an asymptomatic person comes to school every day, in 30 minutes they could possibly infect students, teachers, bus drivers, and other staff. 

Of 151 students surveyed, 51.7% of them said school should have remained closed. One student said virtual learning may be difficult, but it is the best option for us all right now. Others said they feel not every person is doing their part in keeping good hygiene. 

However, in-person instruction provides structure to everyday lives. It allows for students to socialize with classmates and friends. It also ensures teachers students are completing assignments. Onsite learning eliminates distractions from home. Onsite instruction also gives students access to free internet, breakfast, and lunch everyday. 

The pandemic has impacted students one way or another. Rushing into reopenings causes more harm than good because there is plenty unknown about the virus, such as the lasting effects. It does not make sense to reopen schools mid-pandemic. Safety of students, staff, and families should be prioritized.