Opinion: Let us in

Macy Hepokoski

In times of uncertainty amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, schools across the country pondered one question: should students be let back into classrooms?  I believe that while safety is the most important concern, LT should have in-person learning. 

The original hybrid model presented to students and staff introduced a balance between safety and learning.  If this plan was carried throughout the school year, students would have had access to more resources and learning experiences that would have increased their chances of success.  While teachers have tried to connect with students and offer them support, they lack the enriched learning experience that in-person learning offers them.   

As our learning is almost fully dependent on Zoom, many more problems are introduced to students every day.  With bad internet, Zoom-bombers and frozen screens, it will be no surprise when students’ grades start to drop.  While safety is and should continue to be a concern for teachers and students, there are many precautions that could be taken to achieve a plan that allows for in-person learning.  Examples of these precautions can include: desks set six feet apart, masks worn by faculty and staff at all times at or in LT, temperature checks, and a required questionnaire filled out by all students before arriving at school.  

Also, in order to make an educated decision on whether we should go back to school sooner rather than later, it is important to look at the science of this pandemic. According to IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) as of mid September, there have been a recorded 206 positive cases in Western Springs (zip code 60558) of the 12,795 residents.  In La Grange, (zip code 60525), there were 638 positive cases against a population of 15,550.  While there is a margin for error due to people who had COVID but were never tested, the numbers are still low.  The positivity rate for Illinois is only 5.4% and there is a positivity rate of 96%.  Many of LT students live Western Springs and La Grange, these numbers support that the coronavirus isn’t something that should be forcing us to learn completely online.  

The LT Board of Education can meet both sides halfway by giving the option for students to do full-time remote learning if they wish, but it should also give students who need in-person teaching to succeed the option as well.  Furthermore, many students with younger siblings may have to help them throughout their learning, thus leaving them with little time and concentration to work through their own schoolwork. 

 Everyone has a different home learning environment, and there are those who do not have a quiet place to focus.  These students are stuck to struggle through the year.  We have spent months trapped in our houses, and for some school may even be an escape.

  Whether it is to distantly socialize with fellow classmates or finally figure out a math problem, many students need to have in-person classes.  By looking at the statistics, if precautions are taken, LT can be a place of health, safety and learning.