Recently, the Marblehead Public School Committee has been discussing yet another schedule change that allows students to attend more days in person with limited remote classes. Although this proposal is welcomed by most students, parents, and teachers, there is a large group of people skeptical about this change. The supposed plan includes both cohorts in person five days per week for a half day, and a three foot distance between students. While lunch is not a factor in the plan, the three-foot distance is concerning to many participants such as teachers and kids. Additionally, the amount of kids in classes due to combining cohorts, especially at the high school level, is worrying to some parents and guardians.
On the other hand, there is a large majority of parents that are strongly encouraging the school committee to get their kids in school full time, especially those of younger students. This is producing controversy throughout the town as there are many different opinions pertaining to the school schedule. There are many people that are eager to get their children back and believe that remote school is detrimental to their education. While interviewing certain MHD parents to get their views on the topic, one parent said, “I think that kids desperately need to go back to school- school is not where transmission of covid is occurring.” Another parent added, “I want the kids to go back, as long as safety measures are implemented.” It is evident that a large majority of parents feel that it is essential for their children to return to school as soon as possible, as long as safety measures are implemented as necessary.
At the same time, students have developed perspectives of their own. A few students gave their opinions pertaining to the return back to school during an MHS Headlight meeting. Junior Kate Simcoe expressed her strong desire to return to a “normal” schedule as soon as possible when she said, “I would really like to be back in school as much as possible even if it means implementing the three-foot distance instead of six.” Kate, along with many other students, believes that it is crucial to return to school, despite the three-foot distance that is making many uncomfortable. On the other hand, other students, including Muriel Owen and Miranda Connolly, are more reluctant to return. Miranda Connolly said, “I am a little worried that we might be moving too fast… a second spike could occur. As long as there is really strong communication between the people making decisions and the teachers and students, I would be okay with it.”
While Miranda is concerned about a potential second spike, Muriel also expressed concern about shifting the schedule yet again. She said, “I’ve really found my routine in the hybrid schedule… it allows for a lot of flexibility. The schedule has changed back and forth between hybrid and remote often so it can be very taxing to constantly adjust your schedule every week… it’s difficult when students are consistently unsure about what their weekly plan is going to look like.” The main worry of students is about being forced to adapt to a new routine once again. They have had to change their school routine constantly this year and it’s not ideal to change schedules again.
Unfortunately, it seems as if everyone involved, such as teachers, parents, and students, have a different opinion about whether or not to go back to school full-time. Making everyone satisfied will never be possible, but hopefully the administration can come up with a fair compromise that keeps everyone safe, healthy, and happy!