Online school swamps students’ minds


Grace Harris

Everyone has different concerns regarding COVID-19, some students are more aware due to either themselves or a loved one being high risk.

Grace Harris, Commentary Editor

Locked in our houses, locked away from our peers, students nationally spent a year in isolation. Confined to Zoom calls and Blend modules, Bowie students struggled through their academics. Though this was a difficult time for all, returning to in-person school has sparked debates over returning online.

The Omicron variant drastically spiked in the first weeks of 2022. In 2022 alone, AISD has reported as high as 14,000 positive student cases in a single week, and as high as 400 positive staff cases in one week. Rising cases have caused rising tension amongst students. Some who feel unsafe at school, others who are reminiscing of sleeping through Zoom calls.

According to, in-person education has contributed at least 43,000 additional cases to the state of Texas, and 12% of Texas cases are made up by teachers and students. Overall, the reopening of schools has increased the rapid spread of COVID-19 and has proved to make schools an unsafe environment.

We should revert to a hybrid option, where students who feel most successful attending school in-person can choose to go to school, while those who feel safer and more successful at home can attend online school. This would reduce the risk of in person school by lessening the amount of students as well as allowing students to make the decision based on their personal health and well being.

Everyone has different concerns regarding COVID-19, some students are more aware due to either themselves or a loved one being high risk. Others feel safe and more successful in person. It is important to provide learning environments where all students can choose what makes them the most comfortable during an event like this.

Although it can be argued that schools are unsafe with the case numbers and the uprising of Omicron, it should be up to families to determine what is best for them. For many, school provides needed meals or a safe place for students while their parents are at work. Others feel more academically successful attending in person. And some students benefit from the social aspect of school. There are so many situations within our district and it is important to keep schools open for those who may want or need to go to school. The Texas Tribune says that many districts have said that they are feeding less students during the 2020-2021 school year. These districts were feeding nearly 125,000 kids the previous year, and just 10,000 during the pandemic. Online school prevented many students from getting the meals they needed from schools. So many suffered through quarantine, advancing the importance of in-person school. It is vital that we keep schools at least partially open during these difficult times.

However, there is an opposite equivalent regarding in-person schools. Many who are high risk themselves feel safer at home. Others want to protect members of their family who are at high risk. Over 140,000 students nationally lost a loved one due to COVID-19, 14,000 of whom live in Texas ( Attending school is not the best option for everybody during these dangerous times and AISD should provide the option to revert to online.

The pandemic not only affected students, but teachers as well. KXAN reports 140 teacher vacancies entering the 2021-2022 school year. Many teachers had a negative experience during online education, and had personal safety concerns of their own. With the lack of teachers, it unfortunately may not be realistic to employ both online and in-person school.

During our time in online learning last year, teachers had to get used to Zoom’ing and learn alongside us while navigating a new situation. However if we provided an online option again, it would be far more organized and familiar to teachers. Online school left many feeling socially isolated and academically lost. During quarantine Cathryn Mitchell, Gorzycki Middle School principal reported 25% of students were failing at least one class. This concern was shared throughout the district, 11,700 students in all of AISD were failing at least one class, a 70% increase from previous years (Texas Tribune). Remote learning resulted in personal, academic and social struggle amongst students district wide. By returning completely online, many of these factors could be repeated. By offering a hybrid model, schools can avoid the massive struggle brought by strictly remote learning as well as the struggle with COVID-19 brought by in-person education.

Furthermore, some students feel more comfortable learning in a home environment. Aside from COVID-19 risk, many preferred online education in general. If AISD reintroduced online learning, students who opt for this option can receive both the learning style they are most comfortable with as well as the benefits that come with public school. Despite being online, students could still participate in school sports, clubs, electives and activities that are not offered at online school institutions.

Going completely online in response to COVID-19 would ignite struggle amongst those who prefer in-person. Although this would be the safest option in response to our current situation, everyone should make the choice regarding their own safety.

In a diverse district and school, it is important to provide options that cater to the needs and safety of everyone. Offering online school would be beneficial to many students and families, and those who attend Bowie deserve a choice.