In-person impairs learning

Safety and education shouldn’t be mutually exclusive

Lily Nugteren

In the past few weeks since we’ve been back from winter break, there have been several factors obstructing students’ ability to learn. Omicron is running rampant through the school, not just taking out students but teachers as well. In these past weeks, I have seen cloth and paper masks replaced with N95s, KN95s and KN94s. However, although these stronger masks are keeping more students safe, it is not enough for us to just be in the building, we need to be able to learn as well. 

The extreme lack of teachers is completely diminishing our ability to learn at school. Since we have been back from break, I have only had two teachers out, but I have many classmates who have had many more teachers absent. When these teachers are gone, sometimes we are given a substitute who may or may not know what they’re doing and typically just tells us that we should check on Schoology, but it doesn’t ensure that work is being done and assignments are understood. Other times, we are put in the auditorium with around six other classes who are also missing their teacher. In this circumstance, we are told to check in for attendance and then there are no enforcements to do work. Additionally, this is a huge COVID-19 risk, as there tends to be over 100 students in the auditorium at a given time with no social distancing.

With this, I have spoken to several of the teachers who have been out with COVID and they’ve all said that they feel fine, but just can’t come in. This further shows that distance learning would be a great asset to our school right now since at least we can learn over Zoom. We could follow in the footsteps of Minneapolis, Armstrong, Hopkins, Maple Grove, and more high schools that have already switched to learning from home. Distance learning doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, but a few weeks would give everybody time to re-adjust and for more people to get their booster shots whilst students can continue to learn and teachers can continue to teach.