PWCS Should not Reopen Schools

Student+carrying+a+backpack+and+holding+a+mask%2C+walking+out+the+door+to+go+to+school.

Nancy Young

Student carrying a backpack and holding a mask, walking out the door to go to school.

Nancy Young

On September 8, 2020 Prince William county schools opened for the 2020-2021 school year except this time there was a twist. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the schools had gone completely virtual. After about 4 months of remote learning the School Board has decided to switch to the hybrid model, a weekly schedule containing a mixture of in person and virtual school, for Marking Period 3 starting with Freshman on January 26, 2021.

In July of 2020, The School Board decided that for Marking Period 2 the school could host up to 50% of the student population on any given day. This meant that on the high school level every class would contain a 50/50 split. This plan was voted on again and it was dismissed due to lack of safety and necessary planning. Now that schools are planning to again go back to school using the hybrid model, many people have brought up different opinions and concerns on why we should not.  

One of the main concerns of parents and students is the virus itself. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, there have been about 23.4 million COVID-19 cases and 389,000 deaths in America alone. The CDC sent out a tweet on January 14 saying, “As of January 4, national forecasts predict that 16,000 to 29,000 new COVID-19 deaths will be reported during the week ending February 6. These forecasts also predict 440,000 to 477,000 total COVID-19 deaths in the United States by February 6. 

3,915 people died on January 14 in the U.S alone. ”

— The COVID Tracking Project

Another concern is enforcing masks in schools. Though there is a mask mandate in Virginia many people refuse to wear masks in public, let alone force their kids to wear masks. Unless the person is noticeably sick a large percentage of people do not feel the need to wear a mask. This is dangerous because according to a tweet by the CDC, research is showing that 50% of COVID-19 cases are spread by infected people without any symptoms. Parents and teachers from around America are claiming that they do not see masks as practical or that under no circumstances will their child be wearing a mask at school. With some school officials even saying, “We will have masks for anyone who needs one, but we will not mandate masks to stem the coronavirus spread. If families do not like that, their children can take online classes at home.” 

On December 11, 2020, the U.S Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, approved the emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech. Though approved, the vaccine is limited and the U.S is predicted to have enough vaccines to treat about 20 million people. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the ACIP, voted on December 1, 2020 that healthcare workers will be the first to receive the vaccine, along with people in long-term care facilities. U.S Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy said that the general public should prepare to wait until summer or even fall of 2021 for the vaccine to be available to anyone. This causes many parents to consider not reopening school until next fall so the general public is able to get the vaccine thus making a safer school environment for students and faculty 

Considering all the following reasons and the feelings of many students and parents, the best solution now would be to hold off opening schools until America has a better grasp on the virus and can keep most people safe and healthy.