School Safety During a Pandemic: Student Opinions

Student thoughts on returning to school during a pandemic.

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Gemma Avalos

Two students hold a ruler, showing the CDC recommended distance between students in a classroom.

Recently in Woodford County, a large part of the population got a sense of relief; there was a sense of hope that the COVID pandemic may finally be on its last legs. One of the deadliest events in US history, something that has affected more people than anything else in recent history, is finally slowing down. The population this may have affected most locally is the student body of Woodford County. More specifically, the students at the middle and high school level, who have finally returned to in-person instruction five days a week, after almost a full year of waiting.

Of course, this comes with its ups and downs. The school seems to be taking action against the virus to prevent it from affecting us so much, however, many are cautiously optimistic. Is this premature action, moving along the process of returning to our normal lives too early in the lifecycle of the pandemic, or is this the most logical next step?

For a source of student opinions, I sent out a survey to all of the students of Woodford County High School. With about 186 responses, their answers gave insight into what the majority of students think we should be doing, how scared they are of the pandemic, and more.

According to the results of the survey, an overwhelming majority of students (83.3%) have returned to school for in-person instruction, every day. Out of those who returned, the majority said that they returned because they felt it was the best option, with only 18.5% saying that they returned because they aren’t scared of getting COVID anymore. So, instead of returning to school because they feel safe, they are returning because they’re sick of their education suffering, or they want to see friends or for some other reason. No matter the reason, it proves that online instruction does not work for most people.

When asked if they have been quarantined, whether by the health department, school, or other reasons, 34.4% said that they have, one or more times. Almost half of the students responding (45.7%) said that they had a “scare” at some point, believing that at one or more times they could have had the virus.

Finally, when asked about how we should be attending school currently, a little over half (51.1%) said that they believed we should be attending through the hybrid schedule, with only half of the students coming a day while alternating, and 39.2% said we should be coming how we are now, every day.

These results show that a number of students believe that, while we maybe shouldn’t be in school in person right now, it is the best option for us as students. Most believe we should just alternate, that way we have a safer way of coming to school with less risk of transmission, while still being able to interact with each other and teachers in a traditional way rather regularly.