As spring break approaches, it’s time to consider how we will be returning to a different schedule once we return and whether or not we want to make adjustments because of that schedule.
District 308 recently announced their plan for a Phase 3 for bringing students back to in-person learning. Basically, all you need to know is that Groups A and B will be combining, so there will be double the amount of kids in school, and they will be going in person four days a week. There is a lot to look forward to and a lot to be afraid of when it comes to this plan.
First of all, I’m sure most of us are dying to have this social interaction that we haven’t received in a year. How long has it been since we sat in a full room and discussed our ideas with other students?
A great amount of students have expressed that they don’t feel like they really “learn” in a remote setting, and I agree. It’s hard to genuinely retain information when you’re sitting in front of a screen where you’re not asking questions, not interacting with your peers and have a smaller, distracting screen at your fingertips.
It would also be so nice just to have a relationship with peers and teachers again. Like I said, not everyone can really “learn” at home. Personally, I find more benefits in knowing that I can reach out to my teacher or another student in the middle of class if I need any assistance, and that’s not as comfortable for students to do remotely. Breakout rooms are obviously not the same as in-person groups, and unmuting on Google Meets is much more awkward than raising your hand in class.
However, the scariest part for me is the potential lack of social distancing. The district mentioned that social distancing is not guaranteed with Group A and B students being in class at the same time. Unfortunately, no one really knows where all of these students have been. Does everyone practice social distancing outside of school? Does everyone wear their mask when they’re with other people? It’s hard to know who is putting others at risk, and it would honestly keep me up at night knowing I might have just spent the day coming in contact with people who aren’t being safe outside of school.
There’s also the fact that this phase will be put into action immediately after spring break, where some people may be going on vacations. Of course, there is a safe way to travel in these circumstances, but who knows who is actually going to be safe about it. For all I know, the person sitting next to me spent the week out at night sharing drinks with people they don’t know. Or, they could have even had dinner with their extended family, only to find out a week later that one of their family members got sick shortly after. It just doesn’t seem the most comfortable to be in a potentially-non-socially-distanced room with others who might have been out and about for an entire week.
After a lot of internal debating, I decided to remain remote for this phase. While a big part of me wanted to go back and finally be in a full classroom again, I would rather keep myself and those around me safer by learning at home.