By Kosta Magoulas

Editorials Editor

Face masks and screens: What a return to school looks like around the  world, in pictures | National Post

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For seven months, our lives as we once knew them, were changed forever. Facilities, corporations, schools, social gatherings, and many more public places were closed. Now as things finally start to reopen, one central question is being asked: Is it safe for us to go back? Sure enough, schools are being one of the largest topics in question. With the current status of this pandemic, numbers of cases are still projected to continue increasing. This profound case of trepidation strikes the conversation as to whether or not the risks of going back to school outweigh the rewards.

According to Howard County’s Covid-19 statistics, only about half of the current 5600 total infected (recorded October 18, 2020) have recovered. Although these numbers are good, it is evident that there are still a lot of people who have not recovered.

If there is no plan for us when we get back to school, some risk factors would include: social distancing not being followed (especially by younger children), not enough sanitation on school grounds, and the minimization of collaborative work. I believe however, that if we are able to effectively combat the virus, and minimize spreads in classrooms, then we should be able to go back. In all, safety is my biggest concern with going back to school.

A few students attending Hammond High School were asked questions based on what their opinions were about the pandemic, and what their ideal method would be if they were to reopen schools. John Holmes, a senior, said that “I think the ideal method for us attending school would include everyone being required to wear a mask and social distance. This means that there cannot be 1000 students in the building at one time. Groupings in the hallway should be avoided and hand sanitizer should be accessible everywhere.” Holmes believes that safety is the important question as to whether or not we should go back.

“I believe the ideal method for returning to school in the safest possible way would be a hybrid method,” said by Devon Gorel, a senior. The hybrid method discussed would include students going to school a few days within a week, and having limited students within each classroom at a time. Gorel and many others believe that schools sometimes get extremely clustered, so this would minimize that greatly.

Of course, it is widely believed that the county and state will have an effective plan for us when we get back to school, but listening to what students of the school think about it all is also very important. Overall, it was a recurring theme that students wanted to go back to school, but specifically said that they needed to first ensure that our schools would be a safe place.