EPISD should stay in person

Lauren Gonzalez

Considering the alarming surge of COVID spikes and new variants, discussions about whether online school should return remain as an option. To many, it seems like a viable possibility to combat the uptake in cases. However, it’s in the best interest of the public to take into consideration various factors that will affect student life outside an in-person learning setting.

Studies have shown a recent decline in education, due to a variety of factors such as unstable working environments and mental health issues.

The American Psychological Association (APA) reports 81% of Gen Z teens (ages 13–17) have experienced intense stressors ranging from preexisting conditions and emerging mental health issues. Social isolation contributed to 8.5% of stress, increased stress due to homework contributed to 13.2% of stress, a lack of mental counseling contributed to 12.3% of stress, with online learning being the largest source of most mental health issues caused within high school students.

Failing grades by students have also increased ranging from Virginia to Hawaii, and Texas failing rates went to a 70% jump during mid-October.

Studies have shown that most failing grades tend to happen within lower socioeconomic demographics, particularly students of color. The data provided suggests that one’s situation and environment are a large factor in whether a student will excel in online school. A lack of access to resources such as the Internet, tutors, or special programs to employ such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Grammarly, digital literacy, a space to study in, a device to utilize, supportive teachers, these are all resources that students from certain backgrounds do not have access to.

To minimize the risk of COVID in person, students should get vaccinated. It’s recommended to get your booster shot as well and to stay masked in public settings. Keeping hand sanitizer on you always is important as well, as COVID is an airborne disease and can spread through physical contact.

By taking students and placing them within different learning environments, not only do mental health issues increase but grades decrease and fluctuate considerably. Society has become accustomed to the ‘new normal’, a term used to refer to the relentless looming presence of COVID. For now, students and teachers alike must persevere against COVID.