Youth Perspective: The End of School as We Know It?

Schools have been called off for the rest of the year, and I (surprisingly) think it was the right move.

Personally I have been thinking about it in two ways. I want schools to reopen, but I need them to stay closed. Many of my friends are willing to go back to school now under the circumstances, because of how much they miss it. They say that as long as we have face masks and use hand sanitizer we’ll be fine. But we all know that is not true.

If that were true, though, I would do anything to get together with other like-minded students and start protesting for us to get back into the building. I don’t really enjoy being taught over a video call and then have to worry if my signal is okay or not. Or having to worry about the background sounds being too loud and not being able to concentrate. Students that used to say they didn’t want to get to school at 8am are pining for the chance to go into the building. Even I want to go back even though I had to wake up at 5am to catch the bus at 6 so I’d get to school at 7:15.

In spite of this, I acknowledge that we really need schools to stay closed. If we start to open them now, then the cases of Covid-19 will only increase and instead of closing for a couple months they will have to close for the next school year as well. This doesn’t mean I do not care about those graduates who are missing so many memorable moments, moments that they’ve been looking forward to and working towards for years. I’m not a senior, but my brother is, and having to see him miss these commemorations breaks my heart.

It’s not so simple, though, something my friend (who is a senior) pointed out to me the other day. When I was talking to her, she confessed that, even though she is hurt, she is more grateful that she and others are safe now. So in other words, the clarity comes from putting health first.

Having to close schools made me also think about my upcoming senior school year. I imagine face masks, gloves, and mandatory social distance. I have noticed that people are rushing to give the public ideas on what we may see when school starts. In an article I read it talked about different schedules. Some kids would take classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and others take it Tuesday and Thursday. I think that would be acceptable because we may enjoy the extra days free. The thing that worries me are the teachers, because they would have to do a lot of planning and reorganization.

Either way, the way we do school has changed, is changing, and will continue to change because of Covid-19. Whatever decisions are made, I am looking forward to the day when I can go back into school without a crisis disrupting my plans to achieve what I’ve been working towards.

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