OPS classes should stay online

September 21, 2020

Recently, it was announced that Omaha Public Schools will be sending high schoolers back to in-person classes starting on Oct. 19. This move is ill-thought out and will only make the situation worse for students. Just when everyone is finally getting used to online learning, the district is changing things up.  

Online learning hasn’t been ideal, and it has its downsides, but it’s the best option there is for handling coronavirus. Going back in person creates unnecessary problems that need to be seriously considered. 

My biggest concern for going back is safety. Coronavirus can’t just be brushed off and we don’t know its longterm effects. It’s scary for students to go back to school like normal when there is no vaccine and the situation isn’t under control. 

One problem is social distancing, which could be hard because Central is such a big school. The plan that the district released uses the family 3/2 model, which means that only half the student population will attend in-person class at a time. But for Central, that would still be over 1,000 kids in the same building.  

Masks also present an issue. There are going to be people who take them off during the day; it’s inevitable and puts everyone at a greater risk. Many people also wear them incorrectly, which defeats the whole purpose. 

The plan for going back still isn’t fully clear. Will teachers instruct both online and in-person at the same time? Will the block schedule remain? What is a socially distanced lunch going to look like? If we do go to school in-person, these questions and many more need to be answered for students.  

Online learning should continue for the time being, especially now that iPads have been distributed. It doesn’t make sense to give students the tools for online learning and then suddenly bring them back to school. 

I do understand why we need to go back in-person as soon as possible, but what students need right now is some stability, and this plan is all still subject to change at a moment’s notice. This year has been very taxing for everyone, and throwing students into uncertain circumstances only worsens the situation.  

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