It isn’t safe to return back to school

Mazzy Warren, J1 Reporter

It’s not safe to return to school right now, and it won’t be safe until the Coronavirus pandemic has a vaccine. Shops and restaurants have opened back up, and many people are becoming less worried about the pandemic. Students are returning to school and going from class to class, just as they would if this were a normal year. This is incredibly unsafe, especially with how the world is right now.

The global pandemic was first announced in late 2019, and since then has had multiple spikes as people continue to ignore safety precautions. As of early November, there have been 9.5 million cases and 233K deaths in the United States alone. On October 23, the highest daily number of coronavirus cases was reported in the U.S., with about 83,000 new infections. 

These numbers prove that the virus is still spreading at scary rates, and public health experts have stated that they’re expecting another wave of cases in the winter. 

The safest thing anybody can do is to avoid public gatherings and keep away from public frequently touched surfaces. School opening back up is bringing people back together, and having students sit in desks that are being used by others, which is the exact opposite of what’s recommended for staying safe.

I know that many students are going back because they learn better in person, or they’re sick of staying at home, and I get that. I considered going back so that I could see my friends face to face again, but the health risks are still something to worry about. I know schools are doing their best to keep students safe, but at-home learning is the best way to avoid the virus. 

One of my friends has returned, and she told me that they were making them wipe down their desks when they leave and having them wear masks and use hand sanitizer all the time. They also get their temperature checked before coming in and they have to use a covid self screener in the AISD portal. She also said that hardly anybody was back, her largest class had about five people in.

While these methods seem like they’d be good at keeping students safe, 10% of cases consist of children of all ages (as of September 29), which is a big step up from the 2% back in April. Schools in Austin haven’t been open long enough to have concrete results on whether or not students are coming down with the virus, but with the reports from other districts in the U.S., it doesn’t look like the safest thing to do right now.

Students also need to consider if any of their family members/housemates are especially susceptible to the virus. It’s not safe for the older crowd, or for anyone with any type of lung illness. People with diabetes or other immune system conditions are at higher risk too.

Grandparents and older relatives won’t be able to visit if someone in the household has been in contact with someone who may have the virus and hasn’t quarantined themselves for two weeks, and attending school is pretty much accepting that family may not be able to come over for a while.

Traveling is also a bad thing to do right now, but lots of students and teachers might be using public transportation to get to where they need to go, which isn’t the best thing for their health right now.

Overall, the safest option for students and teachers right now is to continue with remote learning. Although schools are trying their best to contain the virus, it’d be better not to return.