When Should Schools Reopen Fully In-Person?

from Brookings

Over the past several months, schools and colleges across the country have had to make heart-wrenching decisions about whether and how to reopen. Should they have any in-person activities? If so, when? And at what point—and with what adjustments—is it safe to return to fully in-person activities? If there is a flare-up in COVID-19 cases, should we scale back in-person activities? The debates over these questions have become rancorous. I argue below that this is because the questions themselves are very difficult to answer, and then offer some ideas on how to make the decisions easier and better.

Let me just start by assuming that everyone has the same, seemingly simple, goal: helping people live as long as possible and minimizing pain and suffering from the crisis. Even if we agree that this, or something similar, is the right goal, there are still six reasons why it would be difficult to decide what to do.

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45 Comments

  1. After reading this blog, I took the time to just sit and reflect on the author’s thoughts. In these tough times, I do not envy the role of decision makers. There is not a one size fits all solution to the predicaments that we are all facing. And the author states it so perfectly, “we are all in this together.” This means whether our situation is work, school, high or low risk category we all need to find a way to live together and get through this together rather than judge one another, point fingers, or blame the decision makers.

    I am in a fortunate position. My husband and I are both still employed and both of our companies have allowed us to work from home since the beginning of the pandemic, so we have a lot of flexibility when it comes to remote schooling. I am a part time college student and my daughter a student in elementary school. However, some parents do not have the flexibility to work from home, and rely on their children to be in school while they work. My choice was to keep my daughter home, since it is what worked for our family, but it would be audacious for me to suggest that schools should remain closed. In addition to the working parents, some children may need more of a structured school setting than others. My daughter and myself have both done very well with the discipline of remote learning, but I also know that if my oldest son was still in school, it would have been a challenge for me to do remote learning.

    When it comes to mental health, many people need the social interaction, or even just to be outside and know that the world is moving around them. For this too, everyone is different. I have adapted to being at home. Though I am sure that many college students need to feel that social connection. I can’t imagine what it was like for someone to be living on campus among friends, study groups, social gatherings, and feeling like you are a part of something, and for it all to stop so suddenly without warning. Many are probably ready to get back to school.

    With all of this said, the author mentions the most important point. We should all be flexible when we can. Both my employer and school gave us the option to be in person or remote. And with both offering flexibility, we were able to do what was best for our family. Flexibility and knowing that we are all in this together may be the key to getting through this.

  2. In March, our country faced the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Schools and universities were forced to shut down for the rest of the school year. It is now seven months later, and COVID is very much in play. Most colleges and universities have in fact reopened under certain guidelines. Public schools have just started reopening the past couple of weeks. While some school districts are succeeding with the health measures, many have seen spikes of the coronavirus and have been forced to shut down once again. Because of the recent spikes, many are questioning if it is really safe for kids to go back to school. While a current vaccine is getting worked on, there is no telling of how long it will take before it is ready for distribution. When it comes to an issue like this, I have two different opinions. First, being a student myself, I know the difficulty of online learning. I, myself, like any others prefer to learn in person. I believe students gain more knowledge learning from the classroom because the teacher or professor can gain knowledge without any distractions. There are so many distractions with at home learning, especially because parents are trying to work from home as well. Besides the learning, it is also important for kids to gain social interaction. Nothing good comes out of staying home every day, isolated from everyone else.
    While I do think kids should be able to learn in classrooms, I do not think it is a good idea to jeopardize their health. No matter what parents or health and government officials say, this virus is still a threat to everyone. By sending kids to school, we are threatening their health as well as their families. We have seen spikes in school districts around the country. That fact alone shows that this threat is not over, and people are getting infected. While I hate to say it, it might be the best idea to just wait until there is a vaccine available. The government swears that we will have one in the coming months. With a vaccine out, there will no longer be a risk to anyone, and we can start getting back to the way everything used to be before COVID. I know as a college student, it is really important to get back to the classroom. Since I am a commuter student, I decided to go with remote learning for the semester because three out of my six classes were strictly remote. We will see how the coronavirus plays out and if a vaccine will become available. I am hoping by the time spring semester starts, we will get back to the way things used to be.

  3. The Brooking article describing when and why schools should reopen again, is interesting from a student’s point of view. Also having a younger sister in high school, gives me the details on what is going on locally. Unfortunately, I have seen many schools in my area shut down because one student tested positive for the virus. Although schools need to take serious measures, is this the right choice? The direct effect of going back to in-person classes is the risk of getting COVID-19, but if everyone is properly taking precautionary measures, then why are schools shutting down. If schools are not open for a substantial amount of time, we will never see the true effects of in-person learning. Another issue that stems from going into a classroom, is if you pick up the virus at school and bring it home to your family, you infected more people who have a higher risk of becoming extremely ill. There will never be an option where everyone stays safe from the virus, but we must start somewhere. Since some individuals cannot take the risk of getting sick, it is good for school systems to give students, and parents options. In my town’s high school, they offer a choice of an in-person hybrid system, or fully online. Seton Hall is also offering the same option. The options that students can choose from are beneficial to not only themselves, but the people they live with. In the beginning of the semester, universities were shutting down and sending kids home, which led to families contracting the virus. This is a huge mistake that other schools learned from and will not repeat. This sense of worrying whether you are going to get sick if your child comes home from school causes a great deal of stress. Stress has also been extremely high for parents who are trying to teach their children at home, while balancing a job and other life responsibilities. Giving the option to return to in-person classes, for some parents, may be extremely beneficial, and reduce a great deal of stress. For any type of school, elementary, middle, high, or university level, the people in charge should give parents and students options. This allow students to feel safe and effective in their work. Many schools are taking lots of precautions and it is paying off. In a letter Seton Hall sent out last week, there has been very few newly reported cases. Seton Hall is carrying out the hybrid system, and even with in person classes continuing there are very few cases. Hopefully by the Spring, schools feel comfortable returning to in-person classes, and very few students are staying in the online format.

  4. The article on when and why schools should be open again is very interesting given our current global situation. We are in a very difficult time and no one is sure what to do moving forward with schooling. For schools to function well you must be able to have a lot of students in one place to be taught by the teachers and that is exactly what we need to avoid. We must socially distance and limit crowds to limit the change of spreading the virus as much as possible. So, how can we pull this off without running the risk of contracting the virus? To put it simply I do not believe that we can yet. The virus spreads too easily and thus crowded school systems can not function. The schools in my town have re-opened just to instantly close back down due to a student testing positive for the virus. Also, to limit exposure (which clearly did not work) they tried to not run the busses and have students get dropped off at school by their parents one by one. This caused long lines outside the school for parents dropping off their kids which delayed the school day as it took too long to drop off all the children. Along with that parents were late to work or other obligations and its was just a mess to try to open schools that way in town. It just does not work. Despite this everything could be taking a toll on the mental health of the students. As a college student doing online courses it is hard to keep up with all my work and teach myself as is and I have already gone through the school system and graduated high school. Even though I do not like online learning, already having 12 years of learning experience had made the transition easier. Young students are definitely having a hard time trying to sit down and learn from home on computers because I know I would never have done well if I was faced with these challenges as a grade student. On top of having to be obedient enough to sit at a computer all day and try to learn the students are doing it all alone. They do not get to socialize and play with other students which will affect their social skills and could make learning harder as they do not have anyone that could act as a “study buddy”. It is very unfortunate that the youth has to deal with these situations, and it could take a big toll on them in the long run. However, this is an unfortunate dilemma that we do not have an answer for yet. Schools should not be fully opened as they used to until we have a vaccine, and the spread of the virus is under control. The best thing that we can do is give students online or hy-flex alternatives to try to limit further spread until we have a vaccine in place. I know these times have cause great hardships for students and all people, but we are unfortunately still unable to do anything about it and should wait until we have a safe plan in place.

  5. The issue of schools fully reopening has been discussed often ever since the pandemic has started. As I am writing this blog my school, Seton Hall University, is still not fully reopened in person. Students have been dealing with adjusting to the online learning format we have been facing since the pandemic started in March. The author of this article believes there are 6 reasons why it will be difficult for schools to decide when they can fully resume in person learning. The first reason is “direct versus indirect effects.” The author explains that the direct effects are the virus could easily be spread throughout the school. On the other side the indirect effects are the long-term social distancing and time out of the classroom could be really awful for the students. The second reason is “clear, immediate, measurable effects versus vague, long-term, hard-to-measure effects.” The author explains that the effects that are immediate are not nearly as important as the effects that are “around the corner.” So, when making a decision on reopening schools the long-term effects should be considered mostly. The third reason is “mental health versus loss of life.” The author explains that a loss of life is obviously the worst outcome, but how much of a hit on our society’s mental health can we afford. I think this is a valid point, but I do believe loss of life is most important. Mental health is important and yes it should be considered when making a decision. If kids are out of school for too long mental health of the students could be very bad. The fourth reason is “Effects on older people and people of color versus other people.” The virus mostly effects people of old age and people of color, with that being said most of the staffs at schools are older and can be at great risk if schools fully reopen. The staff at schools need to be a priority and need to be greatly considered when making a decision on opening schools. The fifth reason is “The challenge of complete overhauling our work in an interdependent world.” The author mainly talks about how our Covid testing system is a mess and if we had a good testing system in place schools would have been able to open. This has been a thing that I personally have had an issue with. There is no reason why a country like ours cannot have a good testing system. The last reason is “stress”. Stress is something that everyone has had to deal with since this pandemic has started. The stress will continue to build if our schools continue to remain closed for an extended period.

  6. Coronavirus has affected so many things in the world. One topic that many people talk about is reopening schools and colleges. Reading this article reminded me of the time I was contemplating returning to campus. I had to take into consideration all the possible consequences. I had to decide if it was a good idea to go back to school because coronavirus was still happening. I decided to go back, but I had to make the decision not to go back home to protect my family members’ health. I also decided that if I wore my mask and social distanced, I would be fine. As of now, everything is going well. This is an excellent article for parents, students, teachers, and almost everyone to read. They will be able to hear another person’s view on reopening schools. It may even help parents in deciding if they want their child to go back to school.
    Douglass N. Harris stated direct effects and indirect effects. He said that almost every parent probably thinks about what if their child gets corona then passes it around to other kids and family members. There is a possibility that kids have family members with underlying health conditions, which could be a negative effect. He even talked about mental health. Yes, I believe that being remote and home is terrible for mental health and stress. When I was home, I was stressed out, and I kept having breakdowns. It was hard to be stuck in the house and doing and seeing the same thing every day. I felt like I was going crazy, but while going through this, I thought about all the people fighting COVID, the people losing their lives, and it made me realize that COVID is serious. I would rather be in the house safe and healthy than outside. I like how Harris said, “Of course, a loss of life is the worst possible outcome, but how much worse—10 times worse? 100 times worse? Do the millions of mostly small mental health effects add up to something equivalent to loss of life?”. I liked that he asked these questions because we really can’t say one is more important than the other. Some people’s mental health is severe, resulting in death, while other people are minor. The best way to handle these situations is to support each other and let children, teens, and adults family or strangers know that we are all in this together. I also liked how he pointed out that schools and organizations should give students and teachers many options to return because no one circumstance is the same. This article is very insightful. I enjoyed reading it.

  7. In March, schools had to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, I do not think that there were many students that had the correct grasp on the severity of what was about to happen in our country. I also do not think that the students or faculty of these schools anticipated that this pandemic would bleed months into the following school year as well. This was at least the case for me. When I first received the email that we would be moving to remote learning (at the time, for just the next two weeks), I did not anticipate the remote learning stage to last this long. In my naivete, I figured that we would just finish the Spring 2020 semester online and return to in-person learning for Fall 2020. We are now almost half way into the Fall 2020 semester, and there is no end of this pandemic in sight. This article sites reasons for schools to reopen as well as reasons why they should stay closed. The clear reasoning would be for staying closed so that as few people get sick as possible. However, it is not as cut and dry as it would seem. The article sights negative effects of schools staying closed. It says that school closures have negative effects on “academic learning and child mental and physical health.” The article says that, while the direct and immediate effects of the virus suggest that schools stay closed, the indirect and long term effects would lead to the conclusion that schools should reopen. With these things in mind, it is clear that the decision makers in our country are not in an enviable position. Decision makers of these schools have to determine if they value the direct or indirect effects of reopening more. Obviously, the wellbeing of their students would be their top priority, but, with the mental health effects that this article lists, it is not so clear that keeping schools closed will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of students. The only thing that is clear in a time like this is that no decision will be universally perfect.

  8. The situation the world is in right now is crazy to sit back and look at the bigger picture. To see what is going on all over the world and to see what is happening to life as we knew it. School and work are the strangest and toughest part of it all. People being stuck at home to work and go to school is causing unintended consequences and the idea of going back to in-person school and work can cause even more issues. The question now is what the next move is. Some positives come from staying remote and some positives come from re-opening businesses and schools. Mr. Harris wrote in the article, “Let me just start by assuming that everyone has the same, seemingly simple, goal: helping people live as long as possible and minimizing pain and suffering from the crisis. Even if we agree that this, or something similar, is the right goal, there are still six reasons why it would be difficult to decide what to do.” This to me means that we as a community need to take the necessary steps to avoid the spread, which I think means to keep remote learning and work for at least a few more weeks or months. Remote learning and work can cause problems for everyone stuck at home. Many things from weight gain to depression are problems arising in individuals stuck at home. This is a problem because depression is not something to mess around with and weight gain can cause serious health issues. The issue is now to determine whether the risk of going back and re-opening businesses and schools will not cause more harm than good. Rider University for example has fully remote classes but will have plans to possibly switch to partially in-person and partially remote classes. Schools have big decisions to make because classes are groups of people in a room together and that puts everyone in the room at risk. Quarantine was a strange experience for everyone and a year ago if someone told me everyone would be stuck at home for months not being able to leave, I would have laughed and told them they were crazy. Many people I know changed over the last few months and I would consider myself changed as well. Everyone I know became more tired and depressed, but the more that we hang out and get back to normal life everyone is going back to normal. The world is stuck in quarantine for long periods can create a bad environment for work and school. In my personal experience, online school is easier in a way because everything is in one place, but I see it as more difficult because it is an imperfect system. I heard rumors that this will continue for years to come and with this being such a long-term problem the world needs to figure out a way to make it work because this will be the way life is for a while. The main worry is the spread of the virus and putting people who have a risk of death from the virus out of harm’s way. Keeping remote learning seems to be the way for now, but the future is unclear because it is hard to predict what the virus has next. Some people are predicting a second wave this winter and some people say it will start to die down and eventually disappear. This article was a great read and got me thinking about the future of our schools, but I still believe there will be remote learning at least through the winter.

  9. Schools are a gateway which pass around all kinds of sicknesses, not only Covid-19. It is a very tricky time where a lot of people must make difficult decisions in the best interest of the health of the people. One of the challenges of opening schools back up is the passing of the virus to their friends they see in school, family members at home, and even passing strangers. While we want people to remain safe, “ the economy cannot open until schools (and child-care facilities) reopen; the current state of affairs is reducing income and increasing unemployment, which creates pain and suffering—and yes, loss of life—for many adults” (Harris). This is something that can and will lead to bigger issues if schools are not opening back up. So far, colleges have been doing a good job of being aware of the student body and corona virus testing. Schools and other public places have been taking precautions such as taking temperatures or rapid testing to get immediate results. There is only so much people can do to get schools to fully reopen with everyone healthy. People have been quarantining, wearing masks, and taking other health precautions to make sure they stay healthy as well as keeping the people around them healthy. The unfortunate reality of all of this is that there will be no 100% safe way to reopen all schools as well as fully open public spaces. We must wait for vaccines or other medicines to come out to hopefully slow the rate of this virus. As said in the article and too much already known common knowledge “This is a public health crisis, which means people will suffer either way. Reopening will have negative side effects, and so will reopening fully in-person” (Harris). There are people who obviously at more of a risk due to other health complications, but that is why we have the option to have remote learning for the time being. So, to answer the barring question of when the right time is to fully reopen all schools, it comes clear that it is still a mystery. There is much we still do not know about the virus and curing it. There are people working day and night trying to make vaccines and have already began human testing. So, there may not be a definite answer as of right now, but we are moving in the right direction to at least slow the rate down, keeping as many individuals healthy as possible

  10. When everyone at Seton Hall was sent home after spring break, nobody imagined that we would still be at home some eight months later. Covid-19 has taken a toll on everyone, and every aspect of our society needs to come together to fight this virus. This article talks about many of the challenges of reopening schools, the risk versus reward. A school, after all, is an easy place for a virus to run rampant; everyone inside breathing the same air in congested hallways. As schools began reopening with improper guidelines in place cases began surging at schools across the country. While there is no foolproof plan, schools need to be able to function in some capacity before the economy can be built back. Many families are facing hard decisions about whether to put their kids back to school so they can go back to work; or keep their kids home. The pain and suffering, as discussed in the article, refers to the mental and physical health effects the pandemic has caused. It is not good to be couped up in a house for weeks or months straight with no sense of normalcy. This virus, as many health experts have been saying, is not going anywhere and will likely get worse. There is no sense in pretending that it will go away, or that a vaccine is going to solve everything. We need plans for how to continue living and functioning while protecting ourselves and others. We can not keep doing school online, the toll this past year has taken on students has just barely been seen. It is agreed upon by most students that online learning is not as effective, it is more stressful, and it feels like we are being swindled. We need proper guidelines that consider that either way we go about this, there will be adverse effects. We need to learn how to live with this. Instead of focusing on putting ourselves in bubbles and putting our mental and physical health at risk, we should be focusing on things such as: strengthening our immune systems, maintaining our health, considering others’ health, and finding more effective ways to live with this than isolating from society and putting families out of business.

  11. Deciding whether or not to open schools is a complicated task. The answer seems like a double-edged sword. On one hand, letting students go back to school is irresponsible and puts these students lives at risk. On the other hand, the absence of in-person classes can leave long-term, negative effects on students. People are suffering with their mental health in the absence of in-person classes. The isolation people face being home alone will leave long lasting damages. It is difficult to determine what issue must be addressed first- mental health or physical health.

    I decided to take my classes entirely online this semester. I felt more comfortable doing this, as I have a weak immune system and did not want to risk getting sick. I also take public transportation to get to school, which I would feel uncomfortable taking during the pandemic. However, I have noticed a decline in my grades this semester, with the inability to focus. It has always been difficult for me to get work done when I am home. I usually set up times to study and do homework on campus, but I clearly do not have that luxury this semester. All of my work has to be done in a place where I can barely concentrate. While I have learned how to handle online classes more easily now, it is still something I am struggling with. To me, it is now more valuable to go back to school than go online. This would, again, bring health concerns but I feel my education is more important. There is no right or wrong answer to dealing with education during the pandemic, and these issues are ones that I hope society will not have to face for much longer.

  12. Harris’s article raises many great points about the things that should be considered when it comes to reopening in person school. I think it is very dependent on the current situations in the surrounding areas of the school. In states where the COVID numbers are down, I think it would be acceptable to resume in person class. However, in states and areas where COVID numbers are high, I think classes should remain online to prevent the virus from spreading. Also, I think it is age dependent. When kids are younger, they do not really know any better. They put their fingers and their mouth and do not practice proper hygiene because they do not know any better. I the little kids should stay at home, which could be a long time because any virus would spread through day cares and elementary schools like wildfires. The mental health aspects of in person classes is something that gets overlooked in my opinion. High schoolers and middle schoolers love going to school and seeing their friends to socialize. If they do not go to school, some of them do not have siblings to socialize with and may start to get depressed. Also, some kids come from underprivileged homes and that meal they get from school at lunch, could be their only meal of the day. Opening schools is a very situational decision. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) gives 20.9 students free lunch every day. “Children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level are eligible for free school meals” (NSLP). That just goes to show the importance of school for many children in the United States. I also really like Harris’ point about how the only thing that should be considered is the health of people. Financial agendas do not stack up to the lives and health of children. The costs of whatever decisions that are made by any organization should be weighed out to make sure that the best possible decision is made for the most amount of people. I think schools did a great job by offering kids to come back or stay home. If some students feel that they should choose online to stay out of harms way because of COVID, then they have the ability to stay home. If some feel that the online format will limit their learning ability, they can go on to campus to learn. All in all, this is a really hard decision to make and all consequences should be weighed and compared.

    https://schoolnutrition.org/aboutschoolmeals/schoolmealtrendsstats/

  13. This article has made very considerable arguments for both sides of the problem. “In short, the direct and immediate effects of virus transmission seem to call for keeping schools closed and the indirect and longer-term effects of social distancing seem to call for reopening.” It’s difficult because we want a proper education, especially for children, as well as a greater economic health, yet don’t want to encourage more coronavirus spreading. It is harder for children to learn online because their attention span is not as focused as older students, thus needing a learning environment in order to develop and grow as a child. The economy also needs to heal again since the coronavirus hit and it was forced to shut down. Our economy took a very large hit due to international business logistics closing, closing of tourist companies, and closing of transportation such as airplanes, ships, buses etc. The economy currently needs a reduction in unemployment and opening up schools will help with that because teachers and other school staff will be employed again. The only major downside to that is the direct affects which are the concerns of the virus spreading between students and staff which would eventually spread to the rest of their families at home. My college recently wanted to be 100% safe and make all classes online. I believe this was the right decision as it lowers risk of catching the disease. Although I do believe the best education is received in a classroom, it is not worth getting sick and especially getting my family sick. I remember the toilet paper situation when the pandemic began. Everyone went crazy over toilet paper and paper towels and water bottles. Everyone reacted as if there was an apocalypse happening. I remember how crazy the lines were at Costco and other grocery stores. I would be waiting outside in the cold for a case of water. I’m just grateful that it has stopped. I enjoyed the article because it clearly concludes the major issues of opening up schools again. This article makes the audience very aware of both the positives and negatives of reopening schools.

  14. This article brings up some very good points about the reopening of schools and the possible issues that go along with it. Harris brings up many good points about the issues with reopening or not reopening schools. The question of when schools should fully reopen in person is a lot more complicated than it seems. Coronavirus has been worse in some parts of the country than others and some parts of the country never even fully shut down because of it like NJ did. NJ and NY were the worst states for the virus so schools in those states will obviously be affected by it more. Those states and areas need to take the reopening slower and be more cautious about it. For those areas I would suggest a longer online learning environment although everybody hates it. Nobody likes to take classes on zoom but in times like this it has been necessary. In states where the numbers are lower they can reopen quicker and have people in class sooner. A lot of southern states for example never even had a stay at home order for two weeks like NJ did. The virus was not as bad in that part of the country and a lot of restaurants and businesses never even had to close. I go to college in NJ and we are at the point now where people have hybrid classes that are partly in person and partly online. There are still a lot of restrictions on my school. We have to wear masks pretty much everywhere we go and large gatherings are still very frowned upon. I see my friends post stuff from areas in the country that aren’t as bad and they are at bars in huge gatherings with no masks on and have in person classes. The rules in those areas are obviously a lot more relaxed right now but it makes you question if they are making the right decisions. A lot of the areas that were not as bad initially were seeing sharp spikes recently when states like NJ didn’t have such a sharp spike again. The question is very complicated and is going to be different for every school. Each school needs to discuss the pros and cons that were listed in the article and figure out what their priorities are in order to make the decision as to when to fully reopen.

  15. The coronavirus has brought upon unprecedented stress and change to nationwide education in the United States. Nearly every educational facility in the U.S. closed early and shifted to online learning as the virus started to spread across the country in mid-March. Being from a state the was heavily impacted by the virus at that time, I was certainly a nervous wreck for not just myself and my family, but also for how my college would adapt to this all-online environment. My worries for the fall only got worse as I saw the virus spread further and country leadership act less and less concerned about the dangers of the virus. This article offered a balance to my anxious and stubborn train of thought, where I felt schools should absolutely not open to minimize as much risk of virus spread as possible. I, much like the author of this article, am concerned about the education quality moving from in-person to online, especially what that kind of isolation can do to a young child as they develop However, I believe minimizing loss of life is paramount in situations of a global pandemic, so restricting as much in-person contact as possible makes the most sense to me. One line from this article that rubbed me the wrong way was, “Of course, a loss of life is the worst possible outcome, but how much worse—10 times worse? 100 times worse? Do the millions of mostly small mental health effects add up to something equivalent to the loss of life? (Harris). The fact that we are talking about human beings and human life in this manner, especially in the context of reopening services in a country that has still not effectively dealt with the coronavirus is mind-boggling. This pandemic is not over simply because certain groups of people are over it. My fear throughout all this is we will engage in a neverending cycle of reopening and closing as we try to reopen hastily in an effort to get back to normal. As the article mentions, this situation has been unbearably stressful and education leaders need to think smart and learn what the safest option is in delivering the best education to students, while also shouldering any and all responsibility in the event of a COVID-19 spread. The difficulty cannot be overstated and I hope schools ensure the safety of all students, employees, and communities at large.

  16. This is a very interesting article on when and why schools should reopen again. It has giving me a perspective on the challenges faced by the educators. Back in March, all of the sudden the schools had to deal with closures and rapidly move to distance learning. This left everyone scratching their head, having very little time for planning for the right and safe path to take or reflect on the potential risks that we could all get into with the advent of the virus.
    What will the schools do in September has been the talk of the Summer. I understand the trepidation of parents and students; however, the hybrid solution seemed to have worked for most students. Considering that some students are more at risk than others choosing on-line learning makes a lot of sense. I learned that some parents have chosen to home schooling their children for this year, as this has eased especially the younger children anxiety.
    A big problem though has emerged in our society as schools have offered distant learning. We learned that not every child has access to devices and connectivity, making online learning impossible. We need to ensure those kids get access to learning resources as well.
    I agree to give people in your organizations as many choices as possible. COVID-19 has forced people to change their lives, changing completely the work and school environment.
    I am grateful that I work for a corporation that offered the employees to work from home immediately after the shut down and has given the employees different options. Employees can work from home or can opted to go the office 1 to 2 days a week.
    Let us hope this crisis will help us come together and make each one of us stronger.

  17. From what I am hearing from my friends at other schools, the administrators had strategies in place that were bound to fail. A few of my friends go to school in Pennsylvania and they already ran out of dorm rooms to quarantine people in. You would think that schools that are still charging students tens of thousands of dollars would at least have a system in place to keep them safe. In this case, I believe Seton Hall really did an excellent job of containing the virus. However, this could be because many of the students who originally said they would do HyFlex learning have just switched to online, so the presence of students on campus was much lower than originally anticipated.

    The “mental health versus loss of life” idea brings an interesting topic up for debate. When COVID first started I think we all thought this would last maybe a month and there would be a vaccine by the end of the year – which is clearly not the case. Having people quarantine and be pent up inside their homes with family members for extended periods of time can definitely worsen mental health. However, if the alternative is getting the virus and being seriously sick for a while, we need to weigh the effects of both. In my family, a couple of my grandparents got the virus from being institutionalized prior to the pandemic, and it was extremely tough for my parents and I to cope with. Losing family members and being cooped up with the same people really takes a toll on everyone.

  18. The coronavirus pandemic has brought upon unwanted stress being that most schools are online until further notice. It was a necessary, but unfortunate, decision for all schools in order to keep everyone safe and healthy. Students are anxiously awaiting the time they get to return to school. Online school is difficult for many students. Some students have Zoom meetings, which have tried to replace the face-to-face interaction that most students need to learn best. Others are left teaching themselves an entire course load of work.
    There are many reasons why it is difficult to decide whether students should go back or not. The article gives six reasons. The first is direct versus indirect effects. Bringing students back puts them at risk for contracting the virus or spreading the virus. On the other hand, closing schools negatively affects a student’s learning, mental, and physical health. No matter the decision that is made, there are going to be both pros and cons, which is why it is making it extremely difficult to decide which is the better option. Another reason that was mentioned is clear, immediate, measurable effects versus vague, long-term, hard-to-measure effects. A clear effect is obviously walking into a room and catching or spreading the virus. A vague effect is how walking into a room will reduce a student’s mental health. Mental health versus loss of life is another reason. Obviously, everyone is at risk of losing their life if they were to catch the virus. But, their mental health is also affected. So, the question is, which is worse? Additionally, the virus affects each person in different ways. Some are at greater risk than others, so opening schools would increase one group’s life expectancy at the expense of others. Also, the challenge of complete overhauling our work in an interdependent world is a huge reason. Each thing we do depends on so many other people that we are unable to see. Lastly, stress is a huge factor. Many people have developed stress and anxiety about the situation, making it hard to grapple with the dilemmas, which is taking a toll on one’s mental health.
    The discussion of reopening schools is so challenging due to the fact that there will be both pros and cons to each decision. Neither way will be perfect and people will suffer either way. In reality, this virus will be here for a long time. It is not something that will magically just disappear within a few months. It is unrealistic to have schools closed until the virus disappears. Therefore, I think it is crucial that schools start reopening, with strict and enforced safety measures, to prevent student’s mental and physical health from deteriorating.

  19. The outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year took most students, teachers, and institutions at large, by surprise. Mandated to stay home, students were required to learn remotely while teachers quickly transitioned their classes from in-person to virtual. This experience was especially challenging for teachers who typically did not integrate technology into the classroom, as they were then required to teach, grade, and communicate through a screen. These challenges trickled down to students, which could not only be frustrating, but ultimately affect their learning experiences.

    As the number of COVID-19 cases slowly begins to decline in the United States, most of the country is still taking precautions with the enforcement of social distancing, face coverings, and limited capacities in stores, restaurants, and workplaces. With most students starting school this fall online again, institutions have returned more prepared, holding information sessions over the summer to assist students and teachers with the transition of course learning. While there have been significant improvements with virtual classroom experiences from last school year to this school year, students are still facing learning and communication barriers. These challenges have students, teachers, and parents alike questioning when the optimal time is to return to in-person learning.

    As discussed by author Douglas N. Harris in the article, institutions are pondering both the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19; school leaders are forced to make the difficult decision of either limiting the exposure and transmission of the virus through virtual learning, or proceeding with a steady decline in academic learning and students’ mental and physical health. While there is no 100% safe option for the return of in-person learning, the integration of some aspects of a physical classroom experience are needed to ensure students are not missing crucial educational and social experiences.

    A recent university graduate shared with me her personal experience of teaching second graders virtually, emphasizing the need for a structured classroom environment for young learners. Most of her students have difficulties staying focused behind a screen, often leaving the view of the video calls and in turn, not properly learning class material. Oftentimes students struggling with a concept in class are turning in nearly perfect assignments, raising the suspicion parents are completing the homework for their children. Furthermore, the school district has lowered its standards for course retention, advising teachers they are not required to fit in the entire year’s worth of course material. This is concerning, as the first years of schooling often teach the most important life skills, such as basic math, reading, critical thinking and problem solving.

    While it is understood there will be a slow a transition from virtual to in-person, schools should be in the process of creating a well-structured plan to ensure this shift is done as safely and as effectively as possible. School districts near Philadelphia have already initiated these plans, implementing new and innovative ways for their schools to open and remain open. By dividing students alphabetically in half (last names A-K and last names L-Z), the districts’ schools can teach one half of their students in the classroom while the other half attends class simultaneously from a virtual call. Not only are students given an opportunity to learn and socialize within a physical classroom, but they are able to do this in a safe, clean, and socially distanced environment with limited contact to their peers and teachers.

    With time, it is certain learning experiences will transition back to students in the classroom. This not only enhances their ability and motivation to learn but helps develop imperative social and interpersonal skills needed for the rest of their lives. While the physical safety and health of students should be considered with the utmost importance, maintaining their physical and mental health should also be at the top of institutions lists as they find a sense of normalcy in these unprecedented times.

  20. The debate over if schools should re-open again has been on going since the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Personally, I feel that many students are at a disadvantage when it comes to remote learning. Circumstances that come into play are internet connection, the area that you live in, your ability to focus and be able to teach yourself, etc. I feel that no matter what the people of higher authorities do, not everyone will be happy. As the article mentions, “we are all in this together”. Meaning no matter what is done, we all have to adapt to the changes and find a way to live with it until things can go back to normal.
    When it comes to me personally, I believe that schools should be able to open at a low-density rate. Schools should be able to have some students come on certain days then the remainder of students on other days so that way everyone is still entitled to receive an in-person education and the people that want to remain home should have the option to. As long as protocols such as social distancing, wearing masks, staying clean, are followed then there should not be a problem with opening at a low-density environment. In the circumstances that I am under, I am able to live in a fortunate area where me and my mom both still goes to work, I have access to high speed internet connection, and I am able to focus in my house. I have always been someone who likes to learn on my own when the information is provided to me so the adjustment to moving online has been hard but not something that I could not handle because personally teaching myself is something that I enjoy doing.
    Many people are ready to go back to school just because that is their personal preference, but people have to take into consideration not only the safety of themselves but the well-being of the school and the country as a whole. As the article explains, it is all about adapting and being flexible. During this pandemic that caught us all of guard, we must be willing to adjust our wants and needs in order to ensure our own safety. In order for things to get better in the near future, we have to keep in mind that we are all in this together and we are all adapting together. Instead of complaining that things are not the way that we want them to be, we have to live with the fact that things are the way they are and hope for things to get better and move in a positive direction within the new few months.

  21. The global pandemic that started around March of 2020 took almost the entire world by surprise. It was given the name COVID-19 and was very serious. COVID was deadly to some and even deadlier to those with underlying conditions. The side effects were bad and the disease was easily spread through thin air. In the midst of things, schools, businesses, and companies closed down; some even for good. Everyone was quarantined where they were comfortable staying, and no one ever left the house. In this case, all schools were forced to close and start online learning.
    New Jersey was impacted greatly by the virus and the schools were torn on what to do to keep students, faculty, family, and anyone they could safe. However, they also wanted to do what was best for them. In the past weeks of October, I have heard rumors that schools were beginning to reopen and operate as cautiously as possible. Some schools think it is unfair that reopening may not be an option, but supermarkets, stores, gyms, and restaurants can all be open. The options need to be taken into consideration and thought about carefully.
    I was given two options for the fall semester this year: Hybrid or online. The decision was available to us if we wanted to do it all online, however, the hybrid option was determined by our teachers and whether or not they were comfortable with it. As a student myself, the decision was hard. It was hard deciding where to stay, what to do with my time, and how to manage it all online. There are many cons to online learning, as well as advantages. The cons in my opinion outweigh the pros.
    Online learning is extremely difficult in my opinion, the workload is almost tripled and you are teaching yourself. Teachers often offer email conferences or something similar. However, in reality, all you have to learn from is the textbook and a slide show if you’re lucky enough to receive that from your teacher. Zoom calls are not an option for my courses. I believe this is unfair to students paying for an education to teach themselves and have the teachers grade their work (harshly, without any slack).
    Understandably, the world was an unsafe place. Our society learns and grows from everything that comes our way. COVID-19 was a bump in the road for the world, a large one. However, we will overcome it with time. I believe that by the time the spring semester arrives schools should begin to open with safety guidelines. Maybe a class once a week or a few times a month instead of every day.
    We also have to remember that families are going to struggle with this for a long time. It will not be something we overcome easily as a society. This was a very relevant post and I enjoyed reading and commenting on it.

  22. The decision to reopen schools and when to do it is a challenging and complicated one. There are so many factors that must be considered when deciding whether or not to reopen schools. There are also many procedures that must be put in place in order to be able to do as well as measures in place to adapt to any obstacles. With the pandemic and current state of the country, schools have to be diligent in preparing for just about anything. I think reopening schools should happen soon. Many of those in school, especially those of younger ages are losing valuable education and missing out on social contact that is necessary for development. Having schools closed for so long has definitely taken a toll on social skills and increased anxiety in many people. At some point schools will have to reopen and with the right precautions and safety measures I believe it can be done. This is not to say that the decision to return to in-person learning is the right one for everyone. While I think schools should reopen, the decision to return is very dependent on family and personal situations. Many families have a member who is more susceptible or immunocompromised and the decision to return to school could be dangerous for these people. There is truly no way to predict whether or not reopening schools would trigger an outbreak. Being at Seton Hall and experiencing Hy-Flex learning I would say I feel very safe attending class and do not feel as though I am putting myself at a big risk. If schools were to implement precautions and safety measures like we have seen here at our own University, I would think returning to school would be relatively safe. Wherever you go and whatever you do right now there is always a risk one could catch the virus. While we want to stay safe and prevent the spread, we also cannot continue to compromise the education of students across America. I think if the right safety measures are in place, people have options to attend in-person or fully online and everyone is doing their part to stay safe we can return to school and minimize the risk. I feel as though there really is no concrete answer here because no matter what nothing is completely safe.

  23. In March of 2020, the world changed in ways that have never been seen before, which was new for everyone. COVID-19 hit the United States harder than I think anyone really expected it to, and this caused business, schools, and just about everything to shut down for a period of time. For businesses, and schools everything moved to a virtual setting, and it was hard to get use to for the first month or so. Businesses and schools acted quickly, and took the right precautions to keep everyone safe from the virus. Now it is more than 6 months later, and this virtual setting of conducting school and business is still in place. The question of when should schools reopen full in-person is hard to answer. There are other questions that need to be answered first, such as is the virus going to spike again this winter? Is there going to be a vaccine any time soon? Will the vaccine ensure that anyone with the vaccine cannot contract the virus? The people of the United States, and across the world do not know the answer to these questions yet, so it is hard to answer when schools should fully re-open in person. In my opinion, I believe that schools should fully re-open in person once there is a vaccine out, and to go back to school the vaccine should be required for the students. I also believe that for the remainder of this school year, until May/June of 2021, schools should remain remote, to further prevent the spread of the virus. It is going to be hard to get every student across the nation to take a vaccine, let alone a vaccine that may or may not fully work. All in all, to answer the question when schools should fully re-open in person, is after this school year, so starting in the fall of 2021. With that being said, there’s no guarantee that the virus won’t spike again by that time, and just continue to push the re-opening back and keep everything remote.

  24. The decision to reopen schools because of COVID-19 is difficult. There are many things that go into the decision of reopening. This Is the one of the deadliest virus’s ever, gets spread easily, and there is no vaccine. But there are processions to take, and the virus kills less than one fourth of the people it touches. These are big factors in the choice, but at the same time they are not. That is because the one thing the government cares about is money. If there is any way that schools, and business can be open, they will do it; knowing that some people may die or get affected from the virus. Most people would say that everything should stay closed, and we should quarantine as much as possible until it goes away. The problem is the disease will not go away anytime soon. The country did quarantine for a long time, but life must go on and that is why opening schools is a difficult decision. With technology classes can be taught in many ways from PowerPoints, to zoom calls. For many students and teachers that works, but a lot of students need that face to face interaction. If I were not in school in person right now, I do not think my grades would be nearly as good as they are. Online it is harder to participate and pay attention, while in person you get to build connections and learning is easier. Although fully online learning would work, in the long run it will be harder for students to learn. As well as for the teacher to teach and fully engage with the class. Seton Hall is a college that is thriving in this time. There have been very few cases reported, and they have a hybrid system that allows students to be in person and online. There are very few people in person, and the rest of the class is online. Yes, the virus is still around, and schools opening are very risky, but with precautions I think schools should try to open if they want to benefit all of their students because everyone learns differently.

  25. One of the biggest questions to be had this winter for universities across the country is whether or not to reopen. Covid has taken over the world and has changed the way we used to know how to live. In times of that we have had to readjust and one area has been school. Campus housing for everyone has been cut down to fifty to sixty percent capacity and on campus life is not the same as it once was. It is to the point where wearing a mask has been made normal and I have watched television shows asking myself why are the characters not socially distancing or that the certain character went in public without a mask. In my opinion, I think universities should take the chance and reopen for the Spring semester, but proceed with caution.
    An aspect as to why I think we should reopen are for the teaching purposes. I have a lot of asynchronous courses this semester, but I feel as though I would be better during in person classes. There are subjects where it would be easier to see a teacher explain it to us to make it easier to understand. Slides can be challenging at times and I cannot imagine having to take a mathematics or science class like this. In my Business Intro Law class I am learning Consideration this week which is about any value given in exchange for a promise or performance. While it is fine reading off the slides, I personally work best when a person can teach me and give me up to date real world examples. That is what I miss most about in person classes is the unity it provided where for however many minutes a day on a given week you and twenty other students and a professor can talk about that subject and have discussions and relate it to real life. I am not big on Zoom classes either because it is awkward with the pause time because it is annoying when multiple voices speak over each other. I use my phone for Zoom meetings and I can only see three people on a screen at a time so I won’t even know if I’m interrupting someone unless I am instructed to speak.
    Ways on how to properly reopen are simple. I think universities should work housing numbers up. Start with the people who chose to live on campus for the fall (rewarding them in a way) and slowly up the number assuming the covid cases do not become a concern. Some schools have already announced that they will follow the same professor chosen option of being fully in person, fully remote or a hybrid of the first two choices. The article said to provide as many options as possible and I have listed two options where people will get to make a decision of their own. Also like the article was saying there is no way a decision can be made that is 100% safe. Mental health or physical health or anything else will be boosted or hindered by a potential decision. It will be interesting to see what transpires over the following semesters, but having an optimistic outlook to the situation I think we all will be fine and better off thanks to Covid.

  26. Senioritis is a real thing that many people feel. Once I got to my senior year of high school I was completely done with all of it. The few things that I was looking forward to during high school were baseball season and prom weekend. I was most looking forward to the end, I was excited to get to college and I was excited to go to school with some of my best friends from high school. I was excited to leave home and move on to do something different. I’m also someone who doesn’t like change too much so when I feel like I’m done with something, I’m completely ready to move on. That didn’t really last too long, next thing I know I’m back living at home doing all of my schoolwork at my desk in my bedroom. With the Covid-19 Pandemic people all over the world are doing their jobs and schoolwork at home. The main question that was looming over many school districts and universities was “should we go back”. For colleges it’s a lot easier to adapt to online education because there are already classes that take place online. For many school districts it is harder to teach elementary school students through a computer. Personally I didn’t think that I would see schools go back because why would we shut down everything when we were at a couple thousand cases, but once we get to a couple million then it’s okay to do everything. I didn’t think that it was a good time to go back because there are so many people out there that are rising in age or have medical conditions that would make getting the virus very hard. It also gets so many people into one place at a time and if there is just one person who has it then that could put thousands of people at risk. If we are really trying to cut down on the spread of this virus then why does sticking hundreds of people into a building make sense. I get that classroom learning is important and I want to be back at school just as much as any college student. I miss living with my friends, being able to actually learn in a classroom and living independently. I also feel like people shouldn’t be back in schools especially going into the cold and flu season. I think it’s too soon to put so many hard working people at risk and there are so many districts out there, including the one in my town, that are telling teachers that they will be fired if they don’t come back to teach. There are so many people out there that don’t feel comfortable going back and they all shouldn’t be forced either. Overall I think we are in a very confusing situation where the right decision won’t present itself until all of it is over.

  27. Since the pandemic started, the country has been suffering from face to face meetings. Many schools, including colleges, have offered a hyflex way of teaching, which opens up classrooms. Although classes may be open, many take the other route, which is online classes. Although classes are technically open, many students and parents feel unsafe about bringing their child to school, which could expose them to COVID-19. So then we ask ourselves, “When will school actually be fully open?” In my opinion, schools should not fully be open until there is a vaccine. Many will argue that this might take a while, regarding that people have no idea on when the vaccine will be made. Others could argue that their children have the right if they want to go to class to get a better education. People can argue all they want, but ultimately I believe everyone’s health is more important than anything else. The number of COVID-19 cases are still very high and I believe the only way to limit it is by preventing social groups or meetings. With that being said, if students were allowed to go to school, then their families have a bigger exposure to COVID-19. Some students could have grandparents or older relatives who could get COVID-19 and this could lead to a big problem. COVID-19 generally affects the older generation and many cases end up taking their lives. Although some people are bored and want to go back to the “normal” days, the most important part of preventing the disease from taking more lives. In my town, there has been an exposure to COVID-19 and there are people I know personally that have been exposed to the disease. Some of these people have lost a loved one because of COVID-19 and to me, that is very upsetting. It is very upsetting that there is no vaccine to help cure the sick ones and all we could do is watch. To me, we just have to wait for the vaccine. Schools should not open and risk the health of students and teachers having a vaccine that fully cures COVID-19 from spreading.

  28. I completely agree that the economy has taken a huge hit due to the closure of schools since the start of this pandemic. Unemployment is still very low compared to where it was before the pandemic, and that is mainly the reason why the economy is suffering today. I also agree that in order for the economy to open then schools will need to be able to open as well. However, we have seen many schools try to open up and this has actually hurt the economy more than help it. This is because since school started to open a spike in cases is being to trend all over the U.S. Every time the school see the spike inn cases they tell their students to quarantine for 14 days. This isolation period that the students have to go threw creates a huge distraction to their learning. They will have to start receiving their work threw mail and they will lose in person instruction. This disruption to the children’s learning could negatively effect a students likelihood of succeeding in their studies and could also bring up even more bad effects along with it.
    Mental health could be one of the other negative effects. Ever since the pandemic started, mental health strength has been tested on everybody. In this case, if students has various disruptions to their schooling then you can find many of them struggling to also deal with their mental health. The rise is suicides’ of children since the pandemic, have shown that these children don’t know how to control their mental health problem. Keeping schools closed I feel is the best option only because their is just so much uncertainty about everything regarding our children’s education and mental health.

  29. The article questioning the time period when schools should reopen fully in-person, has some very interesting takes on the effects of opening up the schools. Opening up fully means in-person activities, classroom instruction, and public transportation from the students’ homes to the schools. This all can be very dangerous if this is not handled correctly, the virus can spread really fast if the opening of the schools are too early. Finding ways to prevent this from happening is very important, because a disaster can be prevented from the door, then by all means that should happen. The article takes a dive into the direct versus the indirect effects of opening the schools fully. The obvious direct effect is that the child goes to school, contracts the virus, then brings the virus home to the parents to which they will eventually contract it as well. This is no way slowing the virus down, it is only worsening the situation. In contrast, the indirect effects would be the child suffering from academic loss, meaning that the child’s mental and physical health can be affected by not having that personal connection in school, and being stuck at home can make anyone impatient and frustrated. Another take is that the goal is to: “helping people live as long as possible and minimizing pain and suffering”—also treats the two parts equally.” They are trying to find a way to have school with the children fully participating in person, but minimize the worry of the parents when sending their kids off to school. The school is trying to minimize the chances of the kids bringing COVID back home. The end goal to my understanding, is to make sure everyone is somewhat happy with what is going on. “The challenge of complete overhauling our work in an interdependent world. We sometimes forget how each thing we do depends on so many others whom we never see. The help of everyone coming together is the only way schools can open up fully.

  30. Right off the bat, I would like to say that it is my belief that we came out of lockdown a bit too early. I think that if we had another two months in lockdown, there would be a chance schools would be open already. By opening up too early, we have slowly deteriorated our progress in expelling covid from our lives, so it is my belief that another lockdown will aid in getting rid of it. I also have a theory that after the election, we will jump back into another lockdown. With this being said, wearing masks and consistently washing your hands can help prevent the spread of covid, so if schools are responsible and careful, in person classes should be able to start very soon, and I say that because of students’ mental health. The article talks about it briefly but I feel that mental health is something that is looked over, and having these young people and kids locked inside their houses, missing out on the prime of their youth, may cause them to become depressed. Now I know I said lockdown is important, but I do not think a total lockdown is in order. Open up schools, but not movie theaters, public pools, indoor dining at restaurants and many other non essential places. An improvised lockdown can keep people safe and make life seem somewhat normal at the same time. The hyflex option is an idea that embodies this way of thinking. Giving students the choice to stay home and have class online or to go in, allows for the students to stay safe and be able to socialize in person which allows some feel of normalcy.

  31. Due to the coronavirus, it has left many people jobless and has weakened our economy severely. Unemployment is still very low and many businesses have closed or are still facing permit closure. In terms of schooling, when the pandemic first hit, schools were closed immediately. As of now, schools are still trying to adjust to the new “lifestyle” by teaching classes behind the computer screen. While some schools have gone back to in person classes, most schools are fully online or hybrid. While I completely agree with opening up schools, doing so too early could be very dangerous and can take a toll on one’s mental health. Personally, I hate online classes. It seems as if I have way more work than normal and I am not learning as much as I would in an in person class. This not only makes my classes 10x more stressful, but it makes it harder to focus. I think the steps that the article has for what we can do are great ideas. At the end of the day, we are all in this together. Schools will eventually open up and when they do, we need to have a specific plan so cases don’t spike out of control. It’s hard to imagine that we could possibly be living like this for a few more years, but I’m positive that we will get through this.

  32. Most schools are currently online because of the COVID pandemic. This decision was made for the safety of the population. Ever since schools have been struggling to decide when it will be safe to reopen schools and what course of action should be taken if there are any spikes in COVID cases. Many students have been hoping to return to school as soon as possible, but many schools are still completely online. This has had many negative effects as many students struggle with online learning.
    The article also focuses on the value of the mental health of students as one of the major considerations for reopening schools. Schools were closed in order to ensure the physical safety of students. By closing schools officials hoped that they would prevent the spread of the COVID virus and that students would not contract the virus. But, now officials need to consider the importance of the mental health of students. They article states ‘Do the millions of mostly small mental health effects add up to something equivalent to loss of life?’ However opening schools for the mental health of students at the cost of some lives of either students or their family members is an extremely difficult decision. The pros and cons of reopening schools make this decision so difficult for officials to make.

  33. This article raises the key issues decision makers have to take into consideration when deciding the right time to fully open schools. This has been an ongoing debate whether to open schools or not and whether safety protocols will be enough to protect everyone. It’s crazy to think that this pandemic is the new normal and that it has almost been a full year since everything started to close. Most schools and jobs are online to protect people from contracting the virus, but the question on everyones mind is when will all this go back to normal? When it comes to school, there are many factors that come into play when deciding whether to open fully or not. Like stated in the article, this is a challenging decision because the health and saftey of students come first but keeping the students at home conflicts with mental health as well. From the beginning, mental health was a huge issue when considering to shut down everything. It is a lose-lose situation where if a school opens fully, then there is greater risk for a student to contract the virus. While on the other hand, if schools stay closed and keep students inside, over time this will deteriorate a students mental health. This article goes on to compare if loosing a life is the equivalent to the importance of mental health of students. With all this taken into consideration, officials have a lot to deal with and both situations would result in negative outcomes. Personally, I think the schools made the proper decision to instruct mostly online. Although this was the right decision, another factor that has to be taken into consideration is online classes. I know of some people who detest online classes. Some people may find it more challenging to learn and comprehend the information without having the classroom setting. Overall, I don’t think there is an exact time when schools could fully open. Thinking about all of the points in the article, there are many challenging factors that need to be weighed out before considering opening.

  34. It is currently October and the academic year has just started for many students and most of them are online and some are doing in person classes. This article talks about when it should be a good time to fully reopen schools and how to do it. Clearly, this is not a straightforward answer because there are a lot of things involved. An example is all the teachers and students involved. Students are statistically less likely to get the virus, but teachers are more likely to get infected. Students are more likely to transmit the virus to the adults. In my personal example, my brother was going to school online during September, but the teachers were physically at school teaching. The last week of September, an email was sent out to all parents informing them that 10 teachers were infected with the virus. Situations like this can happen even if students are not at school. Today was the first day of in person class with modifications for my brother. He will be taking proper precautions and wearing his mask all the time.

    The article also talks about the direct and indirect effects of reopening the schools. No one really thinks about the indirect as much as the direct effects. Since the direct effects cause damage and pain now, rather than the indirect effects like mental health that affect people in different ways. School administrations and state governments will have to decide whether they care about the direct or indirect effects that involve reopening the schools. Right now they have many options for schools to take. Some schools are doing a hybrid method, others are doing fully remote and others are fully in person with modifications. This virus is real and serious, there is not a right or wrong answer when it comes to making decisions during the pandemic.

  35. The debate on whether we should open schools or not is honestly pretty tricky. Especially for college students, school is a memorable and important part of students’ lives. These are the years that shape who you are and how you grow up, and looking back them and saying that you had to be home the whole time working form home is not the ideal way to go to school. Unfortunately, there are not many options at the moment. I personally feel that not only am I missing out on the experience of college, but I am extremely restricted on what I am able to use from the school. The things I had access to, such as the library and the gyms, I cannot use now, and those are big things that have affected my routine and also my learning and studying habits. The reason people choose certain universities is because of what that school and campus have to offer, and with COVID-19, we have been restricted of that. I think the biggest outrage is not only are we forced to take classes at home rather than at school, but our tuition has gone up since all of this has started. It is absolutely crazy that I am paying more for a worse school experience. I think that in order to solve this issue there are two solutions. You open the university back up requiring masks and social distancing, or you keep the university closed and you lower the tuition to an amount that correlates to students only practically receiving an education, rather than the whole experience they were supposed to get. I think the best option is to lower tuition. At least students will be paying an appropriate amount for what they are getting, and people will not be risking their health by going to the university. Although Seton could open up, it would not make as much sense health wise and economically. Lower the price would make students and parents happy and might also encourage more students to want to attend virtually, and in the end, make more money than they are right now. I think safety should come first so reopening is not a great idea. It also seems unethical that during a pandemic, the school raises the price of tuition for students, when they do not have nearly as much access to resources as they once did.

  36. As Harris clearly and effectively explains, there is no right or safe answer when dealing with any of this stuff. Whether we open everything up or close things down again, inevitably, people will suffer. Harris puts a big emphasis on mental health. Unfortunately, mental health is something that is overlooked in society and people do not realize how damaging it can be to someone. Even after a few months into the pandemic people were taking drastic measures to escape the lockdown and taking their own lives. The option to return to campus or have in-person classes could be lifesaving to some people, but it also puts many others at risk. The most important thing Harris says in her article is that all of this suffering “should bring us together and help us empathize and think beyond ourselves.” It is as important as ever to make sure you are keeping yourself and others safe, especially people who are high risk. This is a scary time, and it takes a group effort to make a change.
    It is unfortunate that this virus has such a strong grip on us. Although I am sure it still would have been a cause for concern, a large portion of the deaths and suffering caused by this virus could have and can still be eliminated if people wear their masks in public. Too many times videos are publicized with a grown adult throwing a fit when asked to put on a mask by a 15-year-old minimum wage worker. I have seen people call the police, spit at others, and go on rampages in stores when they are simply asked to wear a mask for less than ten minutes. It is embarrassing, to say the least. Recently, I have seen people on the app TikTok acting like people have paid them to prove that masks are ineffective. Is it really worth embarrassing yourself and putting at others at risk if all you have to do is cover your mouth and nose while you go pick up eggs? When I worked at Target over the summer people would stroll in without a mask and even when we offered them a new mask straight out of the package, they would refuse to put it on and walk out of the store. It is this behavior that has caused over one million deaths from this virus.
    In order to stop the suffering and allow people to get back to life as normal, people must wear masks in public and places like schools and businesses must conduct as many tests as possible. Listen to the people who have spent their whole lives researching stuff like this.

  37. Covid-19 put a hold on everything and were in a pause, play type of movie right now. yes everyone wants to open everything up and go around everywhere and show everyone what they want to do and what the future has in store, but this virus has killed a lot of human beings, and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. I would want everything to open up and have the freedom we had before the virus. Also we need to stay clean and keep washing our hands and wash our hands. to stop the virus, we need to take pro-caution and do our part to stop the spread. many people without masks think its okay and just because they don’t have the virus or are hard headed about it feel like its okay to not wear a mask. this is not okay because some people don’t know they have it and can spread it to people and then those people go home to their families and spread it and it goes around like a cycle. I feel like we should for school purposes leave some online and have some in person, and some weeks leave all classes online and have the janitors and the workers hand sanitize and wipe down everything that is touched and keep clean and safe. For in person for alls students I feel like that should come back when there is like no rise or the bottom of covid. for example when were at the end, when we have a cure, when its less attractive to get. but like I said before in order to have this happen we need to follow guidelines and wear our masks, and social distance and have to wash our hands and keep getting tested. also If you feel sick, stay home and don’t give the virus to anyone else and don’t be afraid to tell your family members that you are sick. supporting one another will make you feel great and will have you taking better caution next time. but for schools when they open up, fully I think it would be a good idea for everyone to wear their masks and have bottles of hand sanitizer and use it to give to all students before and after entering class, so all germs are killed. I feel like this would be the best way to control the virus.

  38. Over the summer, many schools had to make difficult choices. Schools across the country and around the world had to decide if they were opening schools or continuing virtual learning. Many had to consider if in person activities were safe and what would happen if there was a soar in Covid cases. The author suggests that although everyone has the same or similar goal it would be difficult to decide what to do.
    His first consideration is direct versus indirect effects. One reason why parents may want to keep schools closed is because they fear that their child(ren) can catch the virus and potentially die. Despite this concern, the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging in person learning. According to the article “ Why a Pediatric Group is Pushing to Reopen Schools This Falls” the author, Dana Goldstein, writes that there have been studies suggesting that kids are not learning from online schooling. Not only that, but there has been an increase in behavioral health problems and an increase in child abuse (Goldstein). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that kids are less likely to catch the infection and less likely to spread the infection (Goldstein). When it comes to safety, they suggest maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. However, the pediatricians also suggest that opening school also depends on how well your state is doing.
    Another example why it would be difficult to decide on what to do is mental health versus loss of life. On one hand you want to minimize the pain and suffering and on the other you want to maximize the well being of others. Harris considers whether “small mental health effects add up to something equivalent to loss of life” (Harris). This is something to consider because depression often leads to suicide. When people are stuck at home and are forced to social distance, it is impacting their mental health. According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report Posted on the CDC website, between June 24-30, 2020 there has been an increase of mental health conditions that have been associated with Covid-19 (Czeisler).
    Harris suggests that there is no easy option as either option is bound to have negative consequences. Instead, we need to consider how to minimize that suffering. For instance, my school decided that for the first three weeks of school learning will be virtual then after that, classes will be hybrid until Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving classes will be only virtual. When classes are in person we have to abide by social distancing,wearing masks, washing hands frequently and report any symptoms prior to coming to class. Activities are online as well.

    Works Cited:
    Goldstein, Dana. “Why a Pediatric Group Is Pushing to Reopen Schools This Fall.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 June 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/us/coronavirus-schools-reopening-guidelines-aap.html.
    Czeisler MÉ , Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1049–1057. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6932a1
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  39. Over the summer, many schools had to make difficult choices. Schools across the country and around the world had to decide if they were opening schools or continuing virtual learning. Many had to consider if in person activities were safe and what would happen if there was a soar in Covid cases. The author suggests that although everyone has the same or similar goal it would be difficult to decide what to do.
    His first consideration is direct versus indirect effects. One reason why parents may want to keep schools closed is because they fear that their child(ren) can catch the virus and potentially die. Despite this concern, the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging in person learning. According to the article “ Why a Pediatric Group is Pushing to Reopen Schools This Falls” the author, Dana Goldstein, writes that there have been studies suggesting that kids are not learning from online schooling. Not only that, but there has been an increase in behavioral health problems and an increase in child abuse (Goldstein). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that kids are less likely to catch the infection and less likely to spread the infection (Goldstein). When it comes to safety, they suggest maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. However, the pediatricians also suggest that opening school also depends on how well your state is doing.

    Harris suggests that there is no easy option as either option is bound to have negative consequences. Instead, we need to consider how to minimize that suffering. For instance, my school decided that for the first three weeks of school learning will be virtual then after that, classes will be hybrid until Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving classes will be only virtual. When classes are in person we have to abide by social distancing,wearing masks, washing hands frequently and report any symptoms prior to coming to class. Activities are online as well.

    Works Cited:
    Goldstein, Dana. “Why a Pediatric Group Is Pushing to Reopen Schools This Fall.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 June 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/us/coronavirus-schools-reopening-guidelines-aap.html.

  40. March of 2020 will forever be known as the month that changed the world. Covid-19 was declared a Pandemic and schools, jobs, and stores closed down. All in person activities were ceased and the entire globe was at a standstill. This posed a multitude of issues, however, one which is still plaguing lawmakers is when to re-open schools. Classroom instruction is pivotal to students success in school, however this is a current subject of debate. With the use of virtual learning becoming the new normal, the question of when schools will open their doors has become an intense debate. Republican law makers generally lean to opening as soon as possible which poses several ethical risks. Including the most important one, there is no vaccine, no cure, and we still don’t know much about the virus. Democrats tend to lean on the position that schools should continue online learning as it has helped cease the spread of the virus. Although this poses economic dilemmas including the financial disparity of students and their individual access to technology. Currently, public schools across the nation have gone virtual, students do all of their work online and have class meetings through programs such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams which offer protection from the virus. Although this has worked in the short term, long term it will greatly effect the outcome of these students intelligence. Allowing students to use the internet for all of their school work allows students to cheat and abuse the internets potential. As unfortunate as this may be, it is the smallest issue when it comes to the virus. Schools will soon need to find a proper way to reopen as students will not be able to operate at the same potential as they would be able to with in person learning. Whether this be through upgraded testing and a responsible student body or through a vaccine something must be done. I do agree that schools need to be open to students and faculty but there needs to be a proper way to initiate this change smoothly as it could cost lives if done hastily.

  41. In person schooling has been the normal for all us for most of lives. Recently this has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have been closed since the beginning of March and some have been trying to open but some have not opening at all. Colleges have opened for hybrid classes around the country and same with high schools. But the real question is, when are our schools going to open back fo normal on a daily basis? I know that some schools are still having breakouts with the virus even now when the schools are not fully open. Which makes me believe that we will not be opening our schools in the near future. I think that schools that have not been hit hard with the virus can open fully but the majority of the others will not. Many more schools are going to try to do hybrid but I do not think it will work again. States like Massachusetts and even larger parts of the world like Europe are shutting down again because of the potential second wave that is closely approaching. In order to open schools fully with a normal schedule, we are going to need a vaccine. The virus is not going anywhere which means that the fear of contracting it and not surviving will always be there. I know that most people want to be back to in person school, but at the point we are at right now with the uncertainty of the virus status, opening schools will not be open in the near future in my opinion.

  42. For the better half of a year, Covid-19 has commandeered my education. With all remote classes this semester, I can attest that learning online is a massive change from the “normal” college environment. I admit that I have struggled along with the rest of America in weighing the costs of when to come back to school in person. I admired that Douglas N. Harris’s article “When Should Schools Reopen Fully in Person?” vocalized those struggles and admitted that there is no clear answer, explaining the struggle of determining “the direct versus indirect effects, clear versus ambiguous effects, and mortality versus suffering effects—and how all of these affect different groups in different ways.” This is no easy decision, as college students are not the only population to take into account when weighing the repercussions of reopening schools.

    To no surprise, I miss the pre-Covid college experience. This semester I have struggled with both academic motivation and social isolation. It has been extremely difficult to cope with the absence of normal social interaction, both in and out of class. Though many have been struggling with the repercussions of an online collegiate environment, I believe that going virtual with the given situation has been the right choice. With all of the uncertainty surrounding this virus, schools must be absolutely certain that they have proper plans in place to deal with outbreaks. However, I recognize that it feels impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel through this experience. As spring course rosters begin to roll out, students are on the edges of their seats. As Harris mentioned in this article, “there is no 100% safe option.” However, I agree with his advice to “give people in your organizations as many choices as possible. We all find ourselves in different situations—different risk categories, different caregiving responsibilities.” Though I am impatiently anticipating a return to normalcy, I do not feel fully comfortable with heading back to campus just yet; however, I know some of my peers would rather take the next semester off instead of participating in online classes again. This variation of concern can be answered by Harris’s notion of giving students, professors, and faculty options. Our current situation is a delicate one, and people need to do what works for them (within reason).

    Though this semester has been new and difficult, it has also taught me a great deal about who I am as a student, peer, and person. I do not enjoy online learning, but it has forced me to become more disciplined, dedicated, and organized in my work. I have taken a strong ownership of my education, and I am now confident that I am capable of handling anything that comes my way. While I am looking forward to getting back on campus, I am aware that this is not the time to be selfish. Though I am not confident that we are ready for a full return in the spring, providing options to students could help in creating a safe and healthy balance upon return to campus.

  43. The year-long debate on when the right time is to start reverting back to our normal lives and reopen the schools for full in-person operations has taken a screeching halt with more and more institutions taking matters into their own hands and coming up with their own individual processes that they deem best fit for the circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some schools have hybrid synchronous classes, some have no on-campus events at all. What is important to understand is there isn’t one collective best choice for all schools in the country to follow. Just as every person is individually different from one-another, the same applies with every school.
    Some schools are far too big to resume in person classes as the likelihood of spreading the disease is too great. Other smaller schools however have attempted to resume classes using hybrid online and in person classes while also instituting strict social distancing guidelines that all students and staff must follow to not fall under disciplinary action. While this approach may seem unfair to certain students who now have to follow so many more rules, it is the safest and closest scenario to normal life pre-coronavirus.
    To truly measure what the best approach is for schools, one must also factor in the culture in which specific schools are built around. The further south you travel in the United States, the less of a concern the coronavirus is. States like Alabama, Arizona, and Arkansas all have 3,000+ cases covering multiple schools within each territory. To these states, it would appear, keeping the normality is more important than fending off a deadly virus. One thing to take away from all of this is that if the country’s 50 states don’t collectively work together to protect their people from the virus as whole, there will be no need for a debate on when to reopen schools because we will never get past this pandemic.

  44. I feel like I am involved in two different aspects of the pandemic world. I attend college at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. The rules and regulations regarding social events, in-person classes, and even going shopping are strict. I only have one in-person class this semester. I appreciate the effort in trying to minimize the effects of COVID on everyone surrounding us. On the other hand, I am from Texas and spent most of the time at the beginning of the year there. I know many other college students in Texas and their lives are so much different than mine. Most of their classes are in person. They are having theater productions put on by their universities. Their sports programs are being run completely differently than ours are here. I see, firsthand, the differences between the two regions of the country.
    In the article, the author speaks about finding a “happy medium” between staying completely remote and attending in-person classes like nothing ever happened. I completely agree with the author on this thought. I feel like, as human beings, we have to get more creative when it comes to something like education. Being a college student in the era of zoom, I can tell you learning completely remote is hard. It is harder to learn and professors pile on work like we do not have other classes. Some professors are simply adding busy work to course schedules simply due to the fact that they have no other ideas to teaching remotely. The lack of creativity, in online learning, is debilitating to students. These teachers and professors all end up with their money at the end of the day. Who is really suffering when it comes to remote learning? It is not the educators. The people that are suffering and not learning, will end up running for offices one day. The lack of creativity within the education system at this point is time genuinely upsets me.

  45. As winter draws closer and the end of 2020 rears its head, it has come time to make a decision regarding the modality of classes at every level—elementary, secondary, and higher education. The education community as a whole is at a crossroads: schools can either reopen for in-person classes or remain virtual to prevent the spread of the virus. Some educational institutions will go off-road and employ some sort of hybrid of the two. The unfortunate truth of the matter, as stated in the article, is that there is no “right” answer; no matter the decision that is made, people will suffer.
    On one hand, if schools reopen, the virus can be transmitted much more easily between families (and students who live with at-risk individuals can easily bring it home to those at-risk individuals). Even with social distancing precautions and shortened schooldays, most schools have seen at least a few cases of COVID-19, so I can only imagine what it would be like if schools decided to reopen fully.
    On the other hand, if schools remain closed, the indirect effects mentioned in the article would progress further than they already have. Mental health has become a serious issue in quarantine for many people, especially those who are extremely at-risk and cannot socialize at all. I quarantined for about a month or two, living on my own in a campus dorm, and just during those two months I noticed a decline in my mental health that remedied itself once I was able to start seeing a few people (I even got a job that requires me to be there in person so that I would be able to be around people and out in public). I can only imagine what it has been like for people who have been completely quarantining since March—nearly seven months.
    Whether or not to reopen schools is a double-edged sword. The truth is that there is no good decision—people are going to suffer either way. However, I can vouch that I have felt a lot safer taking classes from the comfort of my home than I would if I had to take classes in person. If the decision was up to me, I would postpone the reopening of schools further (maybe even until a vaccine is developed and mass-produced). However, I am no expert, so I am sure whatever decision is made from school to school is going to be best for that individual situation.

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