Decision to send freshmen back before juniors reasonable

School Board makes correct decision


Molly Schochet

When we left school last March due to COVID-19 I knew we weren’t going to return in person for the rest of the year. As the summer dragged on, it became clear that we weren’t going back to school in a normal fashion in the fall, and I would be starting my junior year virtually. 

When Park announced the initial return to hybrid at 25% capacity, I was excited to finally get back into school and felt safe when I did go, but understood the return to full distance as cases across the state rose. When I heard that students would start returning to the high school at 50% capacity Feb. 22, I was very excited, but when I realized that sophomores and juniors wouldn’t be returning until March 8 and that freshmen and seniors would be the first to return, I was frustrated. While I agreed with the School Board that the seniors should be going back first, I thought it was unfair the freshmen would return before juniors. Like many of my classmates, we felt the juniors should return before the freshmen, as our workload is heavier and freshmen still have three years left of high school. 

What I have come to realize is that while both of these things are true, juniors, unlike this year’s freshman class, have been able to form relationships with each other so that if we need help all we have to do we can send a text to a friend. It is very important for freshmen to get the opportunity to build these friendships, as they can be helpful not only socially, but academically. When I was a freshman, I didn’t know most people in my classes as I didn’t attend St. Louis Park Middle School. Not having people in my classes whom I could rely on to ask questions if I got confused made my grades suffer.

While this year has been unfair to everyone and has taken away things from everyone, this year’s senior and freshman class has suffered the most. The seniors have not been able to have their final Homecoming, Sno Daze and all the little moments that make senior year so special. The freshmen have completely missed out on the high school experience altogether. As a junior, it’s hard to not think about all the negative aspects of not being in person but I believe it is important to look at what other people are missing too.

When seniors and freshmen return to school Feb. 22, I hope they take social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines seriously so that juniors and sophomores will also have the opportunity to come into school later on and feel some normalcy that everyone has been lacking.