CUSD should not do in-person schooling second semester

Online schooling is a nightmare from which we’ve all been trying to wake up. From sleeping through classes and staying up until 12 am to turn in assignments, to struggling in classes we once considered easy, online school is not the ideal form of education, the hope is that CUSD will return to a version of in-person schooling in February which sounds great. However, what sounds like a good idea at first is often the worst thing that could possibly happen upon closer inspection. Students and teachers alike have just started to adjust to the new form of learning and going back to school in-person would require another transition. COVID-19 cases are spiking in unprecedented numbers and even with recent news of a vaccine it would still be too irresponsible to go back to in-person school within the next year.

Online school has been a demanding transition for everyone. Students have had to become more responsible for their grades and teachers have had to find new ways to communicate information to students. While it has been a challenge, people are finally starting to adjust. It would be a nuisance to grow into distance learning, only to have to re-adjust into hybrid learning. The current CUSD phase two plan is structured to make sure that only half of a class is present on any given day, while the other half of the class would continue to partake in distance learning. This could work a variety of different ways, but the predominant method is for teachers to stream the in-person class on zoom so those online would still take part in class each day. While this opens the opportunity for students to get more help from teachers, as they would be in-person, it also creates a variety of problems. One of the main issues is that the online students won’t be able to participate as well as the in-person students or if they were all online. Class discussions and activities would be increasingly harder to plan and execute, and teachers would have to monitor the in class students as well as field and respond to any online students. Which would cause even more strain on both teachers and the education as a whole. Students’ education is already suffering and trying to transition again halfway through the year will just make it that much worse.

The other key reason why schools should not return to in-person schooling is that the country is still in the middle of a pandemic and even with the hopes of a vaccine it would still be irresponsible and premature. According to The New York Times, in the week leading up to December 1 there was an average of 164,024 new cases in the United States per day and an average increase of 14,966 new cases in California per day, with LA county being a main contributor to this. The pandemic is still in full swing and going back to school will only contribute to the spread of Covid. No matter how safe or strict in-person schooling is it will always be much safer to stay at home and continue online learning.

So then the question is: are the benefits of in-person school big enough to outweigh the it’s drawbacks? The answer is very clearly no. The main benefit of in-person schooling is that students can get more and better instructional time with their teachers, but the quality of the time is going to be severely damaged. Teachers will again have to find new ways to teach, students will again have to get used to the new system and new types of learning, and the value of students’ education will continue to decline. Finally, the risk of a Covid outbreak in schools is far too great to warrant going back to any form of in-person school this year.