School Should Be Fully In-Person Next Year

Jackson Steiner, Staff Writer

The in-person students of a concurrent physics class this year. Photo by Leila Ali.

The ability to go up to a teacher and ask for help. Being able to converse and collaborate with classmates if help is needed. To be able to experience an interactive and effective learning environment cannot be achieved through a computer screen. Bringing back in-person school would offer a more meaningful education to students.

As the coronavirus continues to be a serious threat around the world, and with spikes in Fairfax County, FCPS gave students an option to either do concurrent learning or stay virtual for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. 

Many questions in regards to what the in-person school setup will be like as well as vaccination status among students and teachers are unanswered. These uncertainties are what make the idea of bringing schools back to full capacity next year seem overwhelming. However, school should be held in person, for the age demographic for Woodson will most likely be vaccinated, and the benefits of in-person school outweigh the decreasing health hazards.

Vaccinations for COVID remain one of the biggest concerns not just for schools, but the whole world. Families and other household members being posed with an unnecessary health risk is a large reason for students staying virtual this school year. The elderly and those who have underlying health conditions are more at risk to the effect of the virus. These groups are also some of the first people to receive the vaccine.

Currently, anyone at the age of 16 or older is able to register for a vaccine. This age group comes after the priority groups such as front line workers, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions. This means that people that are in the priority groups have most likely been vaccinated already. According to Scientific American, kids from ages 12-16 will be most likely vaccinated by the end of the summer.

Mental health concerns must be taken into account in addition to physical health concerns, for they are just as important. Going back to school and seeing friends and teachers in person will promote a feeling of normality at least within schools. Students working together face-to-face with fellow classmates as well as being unified will positively affect the morale and motivation of students.

A poll of 113 Woodson students shows a fairly even split in opinions on how school should resume in fall 2021. Image by Naomi Scully-Bristol.

Teachers not having to adapt their lessons to fit both concurrent and virtual learners provides a massive advantage to in-person schooling. Even though students in the building have access to the advantages that the classroom brings, such as group work that is actually interactive, effective learning simply cannot be accomplished when the class is split up.

Bringing all students together for next school year and leaving behind online schooling will improve the quality of education that students receive as well as help teachers further assure that their students are on track and understand the material. In-person schooling offers the interaction that is necessary to succeed in academics. 

Overall, bringing students back to the building next school year will allow them to get a more interactive and meaningful education, and vaccinations are being distributed across the country at an efficient pace.