On April 12th, 2021, Dr. Hite announced that the District would begin to roll out Phase III of their Hybrid Learning Plan: beginning Monday, May 10th, “all students in grades 6-9 who have not yet returned, and students with complex needs in grades 10-12” may opt into the hybrid learning model.
Should Philly schools be reopening this spring? Here’s what eleven students in the District think.
Yamilica Rosado-Perez is a sophomore at Kensington High School:
In my opinion as a student, I think that school should not be re-open this spring. COVID is still out there and quarantining is important, and people act as if it is not. People, a lot of them, keep going outside for vacation or in large groups, getting infected easily. In school, students will be all over each other, especially when we have to walk in the hallways to go from class to class. Being in school will be very dangerous especially for people who have health issues. I for example, have asthma and I come from Puerto Rico, which means that I'm not accustomed to being in large cities or in schools that have more than two levels and all locked up, when in Puerto Rico the schools are open and with nature all over them. Me being in a place so locked up causes me anxiety and to get sick easier. We have to take that in mind, and students will feel in danger because they have to be around people in this time.
Frankie is a junior at Central High School:
I don’t think Philly schools should be reopening for multiple reasons. My dad teaches 7th and 8th grade at Olney Elementary and they are being rushed back into the building before necessary health precautions are being taken. My dad is going into school for the first day today even though he doesn’t have any students coming in. The school district thinks this is beneficial but I can’t seem to see who it’s benefitting. Yes, I know, all the teachers got vaccinated but the students aren’t, their families aren’t, and the buildings are not being ventilated properly. On another note, students of all ages have come to terms with being in online school and adjusted to the way we’re learning. We shouldn’t be expected to have to re-adapt to a new setting so late in the year. I guarantee students' grades will slip.
Navonah Dugan-Russell is a 10th grader at Carver High School:
Throughout the pandemic people in the school district have tried numerous things and all they would do is make things worse in some way. So due to these numerous issues I think that schools shouldn't come back until the next school year. Not only are the attempts of us going back are low, the school year alone is already almost over. There are other reasons as well but this is the major one.
Journey Barksdale is a sophomore at Carver High School:
I don't think school should be reopening in the spring because for one, it's already close to the end of the school year and we've already gotten so used to virtual learning. Another thing is especially for high school students, the crowded hallways and classrooms will challenge the safety measures for COVID. Furthermore, the news of people refusing to wear masks, not keeping a 6 feet distance away from each other has resulted in the United States having one of the highest cases of Covid. I think reopening schools now will put students in an even bigger risk of getting sick. As much as I miss seeing my friends and goofing around in school, my health is one of my top priorities and I don't want to risk myself contracting a new virus.
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Yaelies Terron is a junior at Carver High School:
Philly schools shouldn't be reopening this Spring because we would only be in school for a couple months. If we wait until the 2021-2022 school year, there is more preparation time for the staff to set up the classrooms how they should be to keep everyone safe. Starting school this spring just seems like a rush to me, and I think that with COVID-19 going on, everything should be done carefully and safely. In the process of rushing to get students in the school buildings for spring, many mistakes can happen that could be dangerous to everyone in the building. So reopening schools for the 2021-2022 school year seems like a better option for the staff and students to stay safe.
Sophomore at Kensington High School:
Schools should reopen this spring because the classes online are hard but if they reopen the school the students will learn more and will do more work.
Anonymous sophomore at Kensington High School:
Si porque por internet no es igual y es mas complicado. Translated: Yes, because online is not the same and it is more complicated.
10th grader at Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush:
I think they should open if there's a public transportation precaution. Many students take public transportation and will overcrowd the buses resulting in a possible spread. Some students learn better in school, but unless something is done about public transportation, it's too much of a risk.
10th grader at Carver High School:
Philly Schools should not return to school in spring because it's not totally safe and the school year is almost over. I can see the teachers going back because it’s just one of them but if you bring in all these students it's hard to do things. Like socially distance and things like that. I know some kids are probably dying to go back because they hate online or miss their friends, but to me I'm used to it. I think it's best if we just wait until next school year. It will be safer and give them more time to get things together.
I think we shouldn't go back to school for now because I think they should wait until they create more vaccines and allow more people to get vaccinated so that the lives of students and teachers are not in danger.
Yes, because i think that with the necessary protection we can go back to school.
This article is the first of The Bullhorn's, "Philly Students Speak: An Op-Ed Project" where Bullhorn staff poses questions to all students of the District. Responses are submitted via Google Form and are published once 10-15 responses are collected! (If you're a student, please consider submitting! If you're a teacher, please share this opportunity with your students!)