Are students more hopeful about going back to school?


Julia Werner (12, HSU) works on schoolwork in the library during her study skills. Photo taken by Mandala Gupta VerWiebe before school was canceled due to COVID-19.

Kayleigh Knight

Now that teachers have gotten their first doses of the COVID vaccine, the possibility of going back to school seems higher than ever. But, do Manual’s students feel that it’s safe enough to go back? And more importantly, do they even want to?

Some students, such as Story Napier (10, HSU), worry about the probability of enough teachers getting the vaccine in time to go back. “I love my friends, and I really want the high school experience but going in person would still put too many people at risk. It’s still too early, just because teachers are getting the vaccine, it doesn’t guarantee students health,” they said. “Many health care personnel don’t even have their vaccines yet, leaving me with little hope that all teachers will get theirs before the end of this school year.

Other students, like Maddie Rose (10, YPAS), want to be able to go back and see their friends, but worry about Manual’s ability to enforce safety precautions. “Yes [I would go back to school], because the option to stay online would change my classes and I could not pass up the chance to see my friends every day,” Rose said. However, she’s hesitant because “some students do not take COVID precautions seriously.

Some students want to go back because they learn better in a school environment. This is certainly the case for Whitney Motley (11, HSU). “Yes, [I would go back to in-person school, because of] the social aspects of school, better learning environment, etc,” she said. The same is true for Aiden Clark (11, MST). “I need in person connections with my teachers to be able to learn anything at all,” Clark said. But he still worries about the possibility of going back because “knowing our school system, things will still not get approved and the process will be sluggish.” 

Some wonder if there’s a possibility for students to decide whether to go back or stay online. For Caroline Toler (10, J&C), “It kind of depends. If the protocols are strong and if people would actually follow them, then yes. It also depends on how online school would be run for those who choose that option,” she said. And with only a few months left in the school year, Toler wonders if it’s even worth going back this year. “I’m more hopeful but not really sure how to feel. I definitely want to be back in school but it won’t be normal at all. We will likely only be in school for one to two months. What will we do? I think that those months will be a time of realization to both teachers and students of how little we have learned this year.”

With the new vaccine being given to teachers, more students seem hopeful about going back to in-person school this year. But with so many unknowns about how schools would handle going back, such as enforcing masks or keeping the building clean, some wonder if it’s even worth risking with so little time left in the school year.