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As the deadline for a decision to reopen schools in Montgomery County nears, questions have risen throughout the community. Students, parents and teachers are questioning the safety of going back to school for the remainder of the year. While some parents and students believe it’s the wrong decision to go back, others say that students aren’t getting a good enough education and that it’s worth going back to school for the remainder of the year.
“I think that no matter what, the county should prioritize the student and staff’s health before anything. If it is proven unsafe to bring students and staff back to school, I don’t see a reason why we would go back,” Jake Michaels, a junior at WCHS, said.
According to the Montgomery County Health Information Website, “at this time (Jan. 30th), the federal government is giving Maryland approximately 10,000 doses per day for over 1.5 million people who are eligible.” They also mention that, “supply is very limited.”
This data emphasizes that it’s going to be extremely difficult to vaccinate everyone by March because there is such a high demand for the vaccine. At this rate, not everyone will be able to get vaccinated by the proposed reopening of schools.
Even though there is much concern with the amount of vaccines available at the moment, some argue that if there’s a safe way to bring students back into classrooms, it’s worth it. Some parents argue that in-person learning is much more beneficial in order for the student to learn better and to pay better attention. They insist that if it’s proven by the CDC that going back to school is safe for students, the county should be all-in.
While both have very valid points, there are also compromises that have recently been raised to satisfy both sides. One compromise is to have an in school-virtual hybrid where the parents that want their students to be in school can do that, and other students can learn online. While the details are limited, it is a good starting point.
“Another thing that factors my opinion is how the decision will affect our baseball schedule,” Nathan Gumagay, another junior at WCHS and starting outfielder on the varsity baseball team, said. “If we go back to school, that gives us a better chance of having a reduced season so obviously if it’s safe to go back, I’m okay with that decision. But only if it’s deemed safe enough.”
MCPS has already come out with a statement that they are trying to keep the basketball and baseball seasons unaffected by the school schedule..
As the date to decide nears, the debate intensifies. More and more questions are being asked as more and more opinions are being brought up.
“I don’t mind virtual school,” Michaels said. “I know that some parents are saying that we don’t get enough work in order to be successful but I think that the teachers have done a good job of keeping us up to date.”
All in all, time will tell. It won’t be until later this month that we officially know the plan, so students and parents around the WCHS should remain calm, and wait for the decision to eventually be announced.
“In the end, it all has to do with being safe or not. Safety should be the number one priority,” Gumagay said.