Students should not return to schools until after holiday season

Students+can+slow+the+spread+of+COVID-19+by+taking+measures+such+as+having+%E2%80%9CZoom+holidays%E2%80%9D+with+their+families.+Otherwise%2C+many+are+at+risk+for+contracting+COVID%3B+the+schools+must+take+preventative+measures+%28such+as+closing+until+the+new+year%29+in+order+to+ensure+our+safety.

Graphic by Julia Herlyn ’23

Students can slow the spread of COVID-19 by taking measures such as having “Zoom holidays” with their families. Otherwise, many are at risk for contracting COVID; the schools must take preventative measures (such as closing until the new year) in order to ensure our safety.

Julia Herlyn '23, Staff Writer

At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, it seemed inevitable that schools would shut down within weeks (or even days) of reopening. My friends and I placed bets on when we thought our days under the hybrid model would come to an end–pessimistically concluding that we would only last in Staples for two weeks or less. Evidently enough, we were wrong.  I admit, Westport schools did an incredible job of staying open and keeping everyone safe through the fall.  

But now it is winter and holiday season, so it is time to rethink our options and decisions and recognize that the hybrid model will no longer work. It is time to switch to fully remote learning.

My friends and I placed bets on when we thought our days under the hybrid model would come to an end–pessimistically concluding that we would only last in Staples for two weeks or less.”

With the recent closings of both Staples High School and Bedford Middle School— and with the occasional closings of elementary schools for a day or so–concerns over when we will return to the hybrid model arise. Although I wish we could go back to seeing our peers and teachers from a distance of six feet away, I believe that schools should not reopen until after the holiday season has ended.

Given that our  heavy-duty lockdown restrictions have been lifted (even though Westport is currently classified as “code red”), I know it will be  tempting for many people to spend the holidays with family.  It is just a fact that there will be people continuing their holiday traditions as usual. People are “tired” of COVID, and so they will dismiss and blatantly ignore the warnings over Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.  

But as people gather for the holidays, it will inevitably cause a spike in COVID-19 cases and may even cause yet another widespread lockdown. So, the idea that our school administration is considering reopening schools after a holiday is irresponsible.

It is unsafe to open schools after Thanksgiving, as there will be many students and staff who have recently been in contact with friends and family that could potentially have COVID-19. Our schools cannot be blind to this and expose us all to the dangers that COVID-19 pose to ourselves and our families. Sacrificing the hybrid model is worth sparing people from falling ill.

Students should not return to school on Monday, Nov. 30–the first day after Thanksgiving break. This is due to possible COVID spikes and increased numbers of cases. (Graphic by Julia Herlyn ’23)

I strongly believe that the Westport Public Schools should remain fully remote until, at least, the beginning of 2021. It is definite that this is the most foolproof method of keeping everyone safe during the next two or so months.