On Monday, March 8, the CPS board of education held its annual monthly meeting. For this meeting, the topic of discussion was whether or not it was safe to return five days a week, in-seat, for the rest of the school year. After some presentations were held, and a few public comments, the vote was held and ended up in favor of returning for five days a week.
Dr. Peter Stiepleman had a presentation on the matter and brought up three key reasons as to why this was being proposed. Firstly, all 65 years and older teachers with underlying health conditions will be given the vaccine by the end of spring break.
“What was different in that the vaccine was a prerequisite. Now, all of our employees that are 65 and older with underlying health conditions will be receiving the vaccine by the end of spring break, which is one big reason for bringing us after the break.” Stiepleman said.
Secondly, after hours of research, CPS concluded through data that masks do indeed work to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The evidence is clear, masks work. The CDC reports from Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, and soon to be Missouri and Utah, that masks do indeed work.” Stiepleman said.
Lastly, Stiepleman exclaimed that CPS has made it their goal to always follow the science. “Lastly, we said we would always follow the science, and we have done that.”
With the decision to return in seat, many mixed opinions amongst the students arose. Most opinions were positive, but some were negative as well.
Junior, Aiden Lockett seems to be for the return to normal but is in disagreement with the time decided to bring the students back.
“I like the idea of going back five days a week for sure, but I don’t think that they should have decided to do it the day after spring break ends. Everyone will have just gotten back from traveling and it does not seem like the safest option.,” says Lockett.
Lockett has a great point. With many students traveling over spring break, this gives a possibility to a future outbreak.
Sophomore, Preston Willbanks, is excited about returning, for the sake of his mental health.
“Well, my opinion is that it’s good for all of us because online school has really messed with me socially and academically as well. I am really looking forward to a return to normal,” says Willbanks.
Willbanks boasts a popular opinion on the issue. In Oct of 2020, the APA (American Psychological Association) did a study on the mental health of teens from an online school. The APA came to the conclusion from numerous sets of data, that students do indeed perform better in the classroom, than in an online setting.
Senior, Adhurim Canhasi, is excited to return but hopes to keep the elements of hybrid around.
“I am very excited to return five days a week. I love the idea that I get to see my friends again and that school won’t feel so dead. But, I do hope that the flexibility of hybrid is kept because it was very beneficial,” says Canhasi.
Battle teacher Anne Borgmeyer had this to say about the benefits and cons of the hybrid model. “When we went from completely virtual to hybrid, I saw some students increase their performance, but I saw some students performance take a plunge because they would only participate in school activities when it was their assigned days to come to school.”
Senior, Kenny Miller, is happy about returning but is not so happy about waking up early.
“I’m excited. I am happy to be able to see all of the other people I have not seen since COVID. I definitely do not want to wake up early every day, but Ill will take what I can get,” says Miller.
The popular opinion amongst students seems to be that they are excited to return to school and have that sense of normalcy yet again. It will be interesting to see how the students do with obeying the regulations, as well as seeing if we can stay in school for the rest of the year.