OPINION – We Should Go Back to Distance Learning

Audrey Zimmerman

COVID-19 has taken an immense hit on every-day life. Businesses, schools, government buildings and large events all have new mandates and restrictions due to the spread of covid. COVID gave many Americans the option to work from home and do school virtually instead of traditional brick and mortar. A year later, many Americans are still working from home as their workplaces have allowed them to do so. This is not the same case for many schools across the country. Some universities and K-12 schools have gone virtual for the majority of January, including Emory University in Atlanta. Though, other districts have issued a mask mandate rather than going virtual, including Fayette county.

Although masks are very effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19, it is not guaranteed that everyone will comply, even with a mandate. Masks have been the subject of many feuds around the world, especially in the US. Many of those at McIntosh do not wear masks as per how the CDC says they should be worn, which certainly has not helped in stopping the spread of COVID-19. By students wearing masks under their noses or under their mouths, it will only result in more COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.

According to the CDC, “COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets, and masks are a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others.” If one wears their mask under their nose, it will not be as effective as wearing their mask over their nose because they are still able to breathe COVID-19 droplets in and out which is putting themselves and others at risk.

Going fully virtual or hybrid is not ideal for all families, especially those with younger children. Many parents/guardians are unable to be home with their children during 7-8 hour school days as they have jobs to attend to. For many of those families, hiring nannies or babysitters is not an option either. For that reason, I believe that virtual learning should be an option, because not all parents are able to stay at home with their children.

In other cases, going virtual or hybrid is ideal for some families, including my own. Some families contain members that are high risk individuals where if they caught COVID-19, they could end up in the hospital. For many families with high risk members, they have been avoiding taking any risks when it comes to COVID-19. That includes not going to restaurants, large gatherings, and traveling when COVID-19 cases are surging. Families should be able to opt out of brick and mortar learning at any point during the semester as long as COVID-19 cases are still rising.

Overall, when it comes to COVID-19, school districts cannot make everyone happy by their decisions. Allowing families to have the option to keep their child(ren) home or send them to school would be beneficial to promote a healthy and safe learning environment.