Statewide lockdown proves detrimental to learning, economy


Photo by Karina Murray '22

Although increasingly more students have converted to full remote learning and classrooms feel relatively empty, schools have not proven to be super-spreaders and the necessitation of a statewide lockdown from a school point of view is unnecessary.

As COVID-19 cases continue to spike nationwide, a pressing question faces our nation for the second time since this novel pandemic struck the world: is another major lockdown the answer to this crisis or are the cons of such a major provision too severely damaging to our economy, education and overall well-being? 

I profoundly believe that whether it be one life or a million lives, making sacrificial decisions that might preserve these lives is essential; however, a second nationwide lockdown is not necessarily the most effective or beneficial way of handling the virus in a cautious manner. 

While strict quarantining earlier this year was very much effective and necessary, the knowledge about the virus that we have garnered over the past several months (methods of prevention, increase in testing accessibility and a vaccine looming over the horizon) might mean that another quarantine may be more harmful than beneficial.

Schools have not proven to be a significant spreader of the virus; it is not worth losing the education and social skills that students end up losing with a fully remote schedule if it is not a super-spreader in the first place.

High-risk individuals and families of those who are immunocompromised should continue to consistently maintain cautious behavior in order to preserve their loved ones’ safety and prevent an increased coronavirus death rate. In order to do so and prevent a full lockdown, children of high risk individuals should continue to have the choice to learn from home. 

Schools have not proven to be a significant spreader of the virus; it is not worth losing the education and social skills that students end up losing with a fully remote schedule if it is not a super-spreader in the first place. For this reason, the hybrid model should stay in effect. 

The entire purpose of wearing masks and taking social distancing precautions (separating desks, lunch room dividers) during the school day is obviously to prevent the spread of the virus. It seems senseless to even take these safety measures in the first place if every time somebody tests positive, everyone who has been in the same classroom as them has to quarantine for two weeks. As exhibited prior to Thanksgiving, we saw the shut down of Staples not due to concern of too many cases, but to understaffing because of mandated quarantine. While I firmly agree with precautions to ensure safety amongst Staples students and families, I do not think that mandating the quarantine of every student and teacher who has been in the same classroom as a COVID carrier is necessary in doing so. 

Furthermore, a statewide lockdown would continue to be detrimental to the economy. Saving a life is immeasurably more important than making a buck, but considering this situation as a one-or-the-other scenario is simply unnecessary; we can maintain the benefits of both safety and economic well-being to an extent without the necessitation of a statewide lockdown. While there certainly must be sacrifices in order to ensure safety, keeping businesses open by continuing to mandate mask wearing, taking temperatures before entering a building, routine testing and continuous sanitation of surfaces within workplaces will undoubtedly erase the need for a full lockdown without sacrificing lives. 

The primary reason for rapid COVID cases seems to lie within personal social choices, not through education or the workplace. Therefore, a statewide lockdown is not the answer to the spike in cases, but rather a more cautious and thoughtful mindset of every citizen in order to ensure safety until a vaccine can do so.

While the answers to handling a pandemic such as the coronavirus are not concrete due to its unprecedented nature, the health precautions we have been taking can foster safe environments without sacrificing students’ education and the economy with a second lockdown. It is essential that we save every single life possible, but this does not necessarily call for a total statewide quarantine.