Hybrid and remote schooling have come with many challenges, causing some people to argue that districts should start having everyone attend school four or five days a week. While that may seem ideal, such a decision would risk an increase in cases and a higher chance of complete school and building closures, should spikes in cases occur.
Baldwin is simply not in a good position to begin school with all students in class every day.
The Baldwin and Whitehall communities have seen rising positivity rates in recent weeks, rates that are higher than many other local districts.
People can’t argue that other schools are going back five days a week, because the situation in other communities is irrelevant to the situation within our schools. In fact, some other local schools have only just begun hybrid learning, or are still completely remote, despite having generally low positivity rates.
So far this year, two of Baldwin’s high school sports teams as well as a middle school team have all been quarantined. This week, three elementary buildings moved to fully remote learning after a substitute teacher who had worked at all the buildings tested positive for COVID-19.
While we have yet to see positive cases as a result of in-person classes, doubling the number of people in the building could change this trend.
Right now, students can be spread out in classes and, for the most part, in hallways as well. But adding more students would make proper social distancing nearly impossible.
Additionally, it will be even harder for the high school building to go back, since the seventh- and eighth-graders have recently moved into the building. While that change was necessary for the rebuilding of Paynter Elementary, it unfortunately meant adding hundreds more bodies into a school with an already large number of students, teachers, and other staff.
As a senior, I want nothing more than to go back to school with my friends, celebrate all of the events of the year, and enjoy our final months in high school. Despite this, I also recognize that public health and safety must be a priority.
This is why we must continue to wear masks, social distance, and, unfortunately, attend school with hybrid and remote plans in place.