It’s been two years since COVID first hit and we’re still having doubt on how to run our schools.


Madeline Martinez, Staff Writer

Since school began back in August of 2021, it has been anything but normal. Multiple kids walk the halls with half of their face covered, the others completely exposed. Schools are closing and reopening; snow days are no longer a break. The amount of stress that has been put on students all over the nation is unbearable.  

 As someone whose entire 8th grade year was online, it was depressing, to say the least. The loss of contact with friends and family only deepened the feeling of, “will this ever be over?” I dreaded starting 9th grade, practically trembling at the sight of familiar faces. According to an article written by Gretchen Hjelmstad on Valley News Live, Horace Elementary School was required to learn virtually on January 21st due to the rising Covid-19 cases. To impressionable kids, especially ones experiencing their first years of grade school, it is a very sad sight to be seen.  

Being honest, kids being physically in school is the best place for them compared to online. But there has to be guidelines in order for that to happen. I was devastated when I had to leave school in 7th grade due to Covid. Sure, there was online learning, but nothing compared. I’m a person who loves school. I need my grades steady, homework flowing, and good relationships with my teachers. It wasn’t difficult for me to get the hang of virtual school, but not everyone can do that. My friend, for example, wasn’t the most reliable when it came to school. They fell off in grades and never really got back on it. Playing video games in the basement till 4:00 a.m. They were someone who could never commit to virtual school. In fact, they dropped out Junior year. Amir Vera, Brad Parks, and Holly Yan wrote a paper on CNN explaining how Chicago public schools will return to school Wednesday January 12th. Mayor Lori Lightfoot also told them part of the reason they are putting kids back in in-person school is due to the lack of kids and staff not showing up to virtual meetings due to Covid and lack of caring. 

As we know, Covid has had a major effect on the mental health of others. Referring to what Vera, Parks, and Yan wrote, this reliability falls onto students and staff for online school. This is adding more stress to students and some staff as well. If students don’t have Wi-Fi or supplies to work effectively online, they have a lower chance of passing. I am lucky enough to have Wi-Fi and nice supplies to work at home. Again, I still believe in person school is better for kids. What about all those kids who were like my friend? They stayed up all night and didn’t care to even peek at the list of things to do that day. Putting this massive amount of stress on students is unnatural. The staff, too. What about the staff who are parents and have to take care of their children because they’re out of school too? It’s just, there’s a lot to talk about and things we need to acknowledge.  

In the same article from CNN, Pedro Martinez and Mayor Lightfoot made a statement saying school is the safest place for kids to be and they should be in school as soon as possible. This is a very loaded statement considering the context is very thin. But what I’m taking from it is that kids should be in school for their academics and their physical and mental health.                                             

I can only imagine how daunting it is to stay at home and not being able to play outside with friends, which leads to a whole other thing dealing with how online school is affecting child behaviors. Being that that was what I pulled from it, other assumptions could be things such as “the pandemic is fake” or “kids will make bad decisions without school” or “being left unattended because daycares and schools are closed.” All viable and reasonable points, but they’re very easy to prove that they shouldn’t be your main point. Science, statistics, and, and hear me out, babysitters. All of these are good steps to take to solve those problems. The real problem with kids not being in school, though, is the repercussions on their education. Tell me, could you learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition over a screen? Back when I learnt it, we put in diary entries, wrote letters, uncovered mysteries, and had fun. There’s no way to do that over a screen.  

Overall, schools need to get straight fast. The confusion and pressure put on kids ranging from K12-12th grade is unnecessary. Please consider that these are my personal opinions and I have no intention of swaying yours. But by spreading ideas and helping in the smallest way by just writing a news article will further put this change in motion. Be the thing that helps is get back to “normal.”