How Long Will Schools Stay Open?

Amidst Coronavirus fears, School perseveres.

John Bumgarner, Staff Reporter

That is a question that is on every teacher, student, and parent’s mind with the beginning of the school year.

With the virus looming as an ever-present threat whenever their children go outside, it’s a wonder the schools opened at all. Hallways in the last few years were crowded beyond belief, stairways serving as near-impassible choke points, and students walked shoulder to shoulder through the halls. Now, you’d be lucky to see a group of students within arm’s length, masks on every face within the school.

Every teacher stands alert, equipped with bottles of sanitizer and masks. This helps with the problem, and an even larger help is the massive lowering of physical students, thanks to online classes to anyone who wants them. This does a good job at helping prevent the spread, but what if a student is already afflicted?

They go into a 2-week self-quarantine period to prevent any students from catching it, on an assumption that they may have the virus. Normally this would be a huge detriment to the student’s grades due to them not being present, but the students can keep up with ease by joining the online crew and missing no assignments.

However, an issue that may present itself in the coming months is that of Symptomless Carriers. Some people may catch the virus but exhibit no symptoms. As such, they wouldn’t even be accused of having it, and wouldn’t go into self-quarantine until the virus had potentially spread. As this doesn’t happen often, and preventative measures aren’t specific, this shouldn’t be much of a problem, but it’s always good to know the exceptions as well as the rules.

Wesley Bumgarner, a 10th grade student of Palm Harbor University High School’s IB Program, was asked why he chose online schooling instead of physical. He responded, “Because I felt like coronavirus is going to run laps around the school, and I don’t want to get it, or my family to get it, and I feel like school is going to be a catalyst for getting it.”

His statement encompasses the general view of online students. They know that schools tend to be rife with disease in the best of times, and don’t want to risk their lives when they can avoid it.

The schools stay open, and with the prevalence of online devices, these students can maintain safety, and still receive the same quality education as students taking in-person classes.

When Bumgarner was  asked about the quality of online education, he said, “I think that from a standalone perspective of education, I’d say the quality of education is slightly diminished, but if you can put in the extra effort it’s comparable.”

No one knows how long the pandemic will last, but it will not impact the quality of learning while it does.