Return to Campus: Is it Worth it?

With the cases of coronavirus being under 1,000, schools will be reopening at the end of April under strict rules, is getting tested every week and possibly getting exposed to the virus worth going back for you?


R. Lasky

Nurses man the Covid Testing tent at Taft Campus.

In the second week of March the families and staff members of the Los Angeles Unified School District were notified that high schools will possibly be opening back up for hybrid learning in the week of April 26. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that school will be the same as it was a year ago when we left.

There are strict safety precautions that will be put in place to ensure everyone stays healthy and doesn’t get sick. From what we know this will mean being tested regularly and getting temperature checks before going on campus. Students and staff will be 6 feet apart at all times and they will have their lunch break in the classroom as well. Each student will stay in one classroom with the same kids throughout the whole day doing their classes individually on Zoom. In an email that was sent out to families from LAUSD, students are given the option to continue learning from home or they have the option to come into a classroom with the same group of kids on alternating days depending on which advisory class they have.

It’s completely understandable for parents to want their kids back in a classroom under supervision considering students have more distractions at home and could be falling behind. Being in a room with teacher supervision along with kids their age could help, but is it worth taking the risk?

Jared Dozal is a teacher in the Computer Science Department and it is his first year teaching at Taft Charter High school. He explains “Yes, because some of us teachers have been concerned about [students] staying home for so long…” he then added, “…it will give students an opportunity to get out of the house. It’s not the best but at least it’s something.”

Myra McCoury, an English teacher at Taft, answered, “That’s a question with a very complex answer, the ‘worth it’ part. You know it’s hard to say because there are things that we desperately need as a class, as students. It would really be awesome if it were in person. However at this level there’s still so many restrictions in place that still kind of prevent us from that interpersonal aspect even if we are in person, right? ” She continues, “So it’s hard to think about it in terms of ‘at home’ or ‘in person’ when even still in person, ‘in person’ isn’t what we traditionally think of it. So that’s a tough one.”

On March, 24th, 2021, Ground Game LA, an organization dedicated to helping Angelenos stay active and updated with what’s going on in their city, started a petition on Instagram to keep secondary schools online. The post stated “In February, LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino announced a plan to introduce a motion that would sue LAUSD to reopen, despite all of the danger of the pandemic. Now, even without the lawsuit, LAUSD schools are set to reopen at the end of April. Though there are many benefits to reopening and returning to school, there are many risks as well that outweigh the positive aspects. The open letter, which was written by LAUSD students, demands that LAUSD students do not return to school until they are all vaccinated. The letter titled “Students’ Lives Over Money” firmly states “…we as students of the Los Angeles Unified School District are strongly opposed to secondary students returning to the classroom setting without total immunization of educators, students, and staff.” It goes on to say that middle schools and high schools should continue at home learning for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year. The letter closes out with “Until a more suitable model with a far greater level of physical safety is made available, we the secondary students, declare we will remain safe at home.”

Kaitlin Tobin and Madeline Lopez, sophomores at Taft are trying to make the decision of whether or not to come back to campus. Tobin thinks, “Even with all the safety precautions, I feel much better staying home just because even though they are taking precautions such as masks and not as many students, you’re only going to go two days out of five days to school. Those two days you’re pretty much going to be sitting in a classroom where all your other peers are sitting. So I just don’t understand how it’s going to work out. I feel like getting the extra exposure to the virus isn’t good, you know?”

Lopez said, “Personally, I think that the best way to be able to learn for everyone is to wait until next year. Basically when everyone goes back to school for their next school year. That’s the best option. If we just go back for, I think it said 6 weeks, that wouldn’t be beneficial to anyone” Both students have generally the same opinion when it comes to going back now or waiting. However, it must be acknowledged that the answers will vary based on the person you are asking, as their needs, home situations, and learning types influence their decision.

Taft students are left with difficult decisions to make as the cases for the coronavirus are decreasing at a fast rate: potentially exposing our LAUSD educators, students, and family to sickness or staying safe by continuing to stay home.