PRO: Schools need to open for safety and normalcy
By Clara Ault,
Schools in the Davis Joint Unified School District have been closed for almost nine months, preventing students from getting an adequate education as well as taking away valuable experiences that they will never get back.
Teachers are doing the best they can with what they have, but online learning has more distractions, makes cheating easier and prevents adequate discourse on a topic when required. On top of that, social life is one of the most important aspects of high school. Particularly for sophomores, high school tenagers on campus are able to expand their social circle–possibly for the first time in their life.
Many students grow up in toxic home environments and school offers them their only escape. Taking that away can be dangerous and even deadly. Domestic violence reports went up 6.4 percent in Davis from the initial lockdown in March to June, according to the Davis Enterprise. The Washington Post found that emergency rooms were treating more and more serious cases of child abuse.
Students need school not only as a way to escape dangerous environments but also to have access to an adult or a friend who they might feel comfortable confiding in about their home situation. Counselors and teachers are mandated reporters and will make a phone call to Child Protective Services or the Police Department to report suspected abuse. If teachers aren’t seeing their students in person, they are far less likely to notice or suspect abuse, and will not know to take the proper measures to protect the students’ safety.
Since students have already had sports, dances and other social events canceled this year, they should have some sort of normalcy to look forward to. Schools need to be careful how and when they open to ensure the safety of both the students and the teachers, but there is a way to do it. The dangers of keeping students at home outweigh the dangers of heightened COVID-19 risk at school.
Having classes at half or quarter capacity and switching off days when students attend is necessary, as well as a mask mandate. Classes can be held outside whenever possible and air purifiers should be installed in each classroom.
Reopening schools will not come without challenges and compromise, but it is imperative to the health and safety of the students, as well as to maximize their learning potential.
CON: School should stay closed due to concern over rising local COVID-19 cases
By Anisha Dhakal,
Schools in the Davis Joint Unified School District have been shut down since early March to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of students and staff.
Yolo County has moved back into the purple tier as of early November and various activities have been postponed due to safety concerns. Additionally, a statewide curfew has been employed to lower the spread of the virus. Due to the worsening of coronavirus, DJUSD should not allow schools to open up.
The health and safety of teachers and students is currently the top priority of the district. Although staying home and remaining motivated for online school may be a challenge for some, allowing students to return to school while the virus continues to spread at such high rates is not safe. Additionally, cases will only continue to rise due to the holidays. Until a vaccine becomes available to the public, returning to school will raise safety concerns in the Davis community.
A significant advantage of in-person schooling is the social interactions that teachers and students look forward to. These interactions are a crucial piece of the daily school experience. In addition, in-person school-wide events could resume if schools were to open.
However, going to school under unsafe circumstances would only cause additional unnecessary stress among families. The fun of talking to friends in classes, eating lunch together and attending school-wide events would be shrouded by the anxiety of possible exposure to COVID-19.
With news of a possible statewide lockdown, current circumstances leave school activities and events impossible. A daily increase of coronavirus cases in Yolo County is causing the road to recovery to become bumpier by the day. Until a vaccine is available to the public, DJUSD cannot ethically open its schools.