COVID and the Return to Schools


Christian Movick, Layout and Design Editor

Ever since Coronavirus made its way into the world and became an imminent threat to our country, whether schools would be closed or not has been a topic of concern. Then, once the 2019-2020 school year had ended, the question was, would schools be reopening for the upcoming school year, and would it be worth it to do so?

As some schools begin to reopen around the St. Louis metro area, for example, in St. Charles County, one thing that can be determined is if there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as of August 15, there had been a recording of 4,610 coronavirus cases in St. Charles. Now, as of September 22, there are 7,373 cases, according to The New York Times. However, to determine how schools reopening have affected Coronavirus cases when it comes to students in the county, it would have to be looked at from an age standpoint. According to St. Charles County, there were 255 cases of COVID-19 in August between age groups 14 and 19, with 208 cases in September. While that does make it appear that there is currently no negative correlation between schools reopening and students’ cases, there are other factors to consider. For one, this could be a result of proper precautions being taken, for instance, wearing a mask, washing hands, etc. These types of safeguards have been proven to work and are recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). It’s also important to note that not all schools have reopened in St. Charles County and that precautions and proper safety measures should still be taken when out in public. These results do not mean that CDC guidelines should be ignored given that this is just one county and does not represent what is or could happen in the rest of the country.

Ms. Capstick, a teacher at Willowbrook, had the following to say in regards to her concerns about in-person learning: “I am concerned about students or staff getting sick, and concerned that should there be an outbreak in the building or a spike in cases in the area due to return that we will end up back online and students will be more scared and confused. The lack of consistency and seeing families and staff struggle through a sudden change again is difficult.” She says some of the downsides to online teaching is, “Teaching online is hard because we, teachers and students, are glued to our screens and our seats, making the day feel longer and more tiring. Working to form and maintain relationships teacher to student and student to student is difficult and requires additional time and attention. It’s hard to incorporate hands-on and collaborative learning experiences.”  Ms. Capstick shared her thoughts on reopening schools and how that will go with enforcing COVID rules and regulations. She said the following; “As schools are reopening, I feel concerned that students may not comply with safety rules whether intentionally or unintentionally. With mask breaks and no mask recess, I am most concerned about enforcing social distancing, especially on the playground.”
When it comes to reopening schools, the subject is often a touchy one. While many people want to get back to learning in-person for social and educational purposes, some argue that it is still not safe enough to do so, and not worth the risk to send students back yet. But, regardless of where people stand on this issue, whether it’s personal or even political, one thing that people can all agree on is that they want the best for our students and our community.