Updated: Jan 22, 2021
By Siga Sakho
Image via Cosmique Studio
Coronavirus has become a new normal, affecting the lives of many, with children and teens being amongst those that show signs of vulnerability. This pandemic has taken away our source of a typical education, as well as the youthfulness for some as they witness their parents lose their job or even worry about what and when their next meal will be. With this in mind, school-wide officials have been scrambling to get kids back into school in order to return to some sense of normalcy and ensure that children are returning to an educational norm.
I first started my research into this topic by surveying teens via google forms from ages 12-15 and asked them how they felt about the pandemic overall. Less than half of these teenagers are hopeful that the pandemic will end, with the rest saying that they either weren’t sure or weren’t hopeful that COVID-19 would come to an end anytime soon. My next questions were focused more on getting back to in-person school, and the deep feelings/concerns that surround these students on this issue. It is clear that the majority agree online schooling was just not it, since who wants to sit in front of a screen all day when there is a full-blown pandemic just right outside your doorstep?
Of course, the presence of COVID-19 seems to not be as bothersome to some, as children in various parts of the nation are attending school as if it were just another day. For the children in California, in-person schooling has been the last thing on our minds as the recent number of COVID cases have totaled out to be 1,671,081, as calculated by California’s COVID tracker. This was also shown through my google forms poll as 84.6% of those who had taken this poll said that they would not go back to school if COVID-19 was still present, compared to the 15.4% that agreed they would go to school despite the pandemic. With this in mind, it is evident that the people of our generation are not comfortable with the idea of going back to in-person schooling, with worries of the possible devastating outcomes that can come with it. Such results include the many cases of K-12 students contracting the virus at their schools throughout the nation, like the picture of Georgian students crowding in a hallway shoulder to shoulder on their way to class, some without masks on. This image, despite the amount of research and facts proven about this disease, has shown what can happen when kids are allowed back into school with one another. One might ask, is it worth it? Knowing the possible outcomes, and how many people’s lives will be forever affected if one student were to contract the disease, I would argue that it is not worth it. Yet, in the eyes of school leaders, it is.
COVID-19 is a novel virus affecting the respiratory system of its victims. Although our country has made some progress, the disease is getting worse by the second. Individuals, such as educational board members from different school systems who are allowing their students to go back to school, are not taking the precautions needed. As of now, the United States is not ready for things to go back to normal and this includes the continuation of in-person learning, as our nation is experiencing a total of 17 million cases of COVID-19, with a total of 308,000 deaths. These 308,000 people are represented as statistics, but they were people. Some of these individuals could have been K-12 students that went back to in-person learning for the benefit of their education but were only met by the infection of this detrimental disease. They were ordinary individuals months ago, but due to how our current administration has not taken this virus seriously enough, they become one of an extensive total of deaths due to this pandemic. These statistics, and the individuals behind these numbers, will forever remind us, when we look back, of all the things COVID has taken from us.
Written by writer Siga Sakho