Should GCPS go virtual?

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Damian Martinez

The post on the GCPS Instagram page.

Covid-19 has been around since December 2019, and to this day, it’s still a problem. We have tried to fight against it by wearing masks, getting vaccines, and staying six feet away from others to prevent the spread of the virus. During the start of the Coronavirus, we closed down schools and restaurants, and it worked! For a while anyway, then they opened up the schools and public areas again, and the cases started to rise. We’re now entering 2022 with this virus still on the front pages and with fresh new strains like Omicron and Delta, it is not going to go away anytime soon. Which leads us to the question: why are we in school during these unprecedented times? Why are students and faculty showing up to school while hospitals are being overwhelmed by all these cases to the point where there are no more beds for people with other emergencies? Should we go online again, at least for a while, until the cases go back down and the risk isn’t as high? I asked a couple of students at Lanier High School what they thought about returning to school and how they felt about the way the school handled coming back:
I asked Zach Perez, a sophomore, who said, “I honestly think they did a blunder and an oopsie because they definitely should’ve done what Dekalb did: be online the first week to see if they can ease it into, you know, getting everyone back in.”
When asked the same question, another student at our school, Cameron Lott, said, “I feel like personally, I feel safe, but I know some people don’t, and I feel like they should take a better public census to determine how people feel, take that as you will.”
After posting that they would be welcoming students back to school in-person, GCPS social media accounts received some backlash from students and parents, along with a small amount of support from people who were in favor of returning to school in-person. After a while, they limited comments on their Instagram post, and they also blocked some people on their Twitter account, which worked as a form of crowd control in their comment sections.
After showing this to Zach, I asked him if he agreed with all of the backlash that GCPS got on their social media, and in return, he answered, “No, because some of it is probably just mob mentality and wanting to go online for selfish reasons. They want to go home and be lazy instead of wanting to focus on the problem at hand.”
When asked the same question, Cameron answered with, “I’d say a lot of it is just students not wanting to go back to school, but some of it is warranted since there are quite a lot [of cases], especially in Gwinnett County specifically.”
This should make you wonder if it was in our best interest to come back to school, at least so soon without an online buffer to wait until cases drop. Is it worth the in-person experience of school if it comes with the risk of Covid-19? Here is to hoping we don’t have to ask that question in the fall!