In Person Learning a Challenge Under the Specter of Covid


The standard mask is carelessly discarded on American streets nowadays as more people ignore pandemic safety measures. Photo by Giovanna Fernandez

The COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly throughout the U.S. in March, shutting down everything from schools to offices and religious establishments. Residents of multiple states, including California, were instructed to quarantine at home, wear their masks, and follow social distance protocols. However, as the virus continued to spread and the quarantine was extended, more and more people ignored guidelines set in place to keep us safe.

Now, many students are eagerly waiting for the time when school will resume in person and they can return to normalcy. But it seems like that may be more far off than we hoped.

During the quarantine, many Americans have refused to wear masks and social distance and have continued to go out as if there isn’t a pandemic going on. A Gallup Panel survey conducted from late June to early July revealed that only 44% of Americans always wore their masks when going out, leaving a whopping 56% that did not make it a high priority.

Freshman Caitlyn Sun said, “I’ve seen tons of people going out and it makes me feel disappointed and frustrated because I feel like we’ll never near the end of the pandemic unless these younger generations start to take it seriously. I’m super disappointed in them and I feel like I just want to smack some sense into them because it is selfish and they aren’t thinking about others.”

The students who continue to go out and violate social distancing guidelines are the same ones that complain about how much they miss their friends and family and how badly they want to return to school. They whine about how hard it is, yet they aren’t willing to simply follow the rules for everyone’s safety.

Many students have already proved they won’t be able to exercise any self-control once we do return to school. A student-organized senior beach day was held in September where many students were seen mask less and not socially distanced. This only goes to show how irresponsible students would be around their peers once an in person return to school is made.

Freshman Melina Jimenez said, “People should just stay home because a lot of people are asymptomatic and they could be spreading it without even knowing so it’s just very important to stay home. I think it’s very irresponsible for people to have parties and hang out with their friends because they don’t know if they could be hurting someone else’s loved one because they might have it and even though you’re young you might recover, they might not.”

Throughout the pandemic, many people have been harmed by the extensive shutdown. The shutdown has harmed small businesses, with many closing permanently. The mental health of people across the country has been compromised. Many have lost their jobs and some have even lost their homes.

According to studies conducted in May by the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, Harvard University and the University of Chicago, and the National Restaurant Association, 2% of small businesses have been permanently shut down and 3% of restaurants have gone out of business since March.

”I feel like social distancing and wearing your masks is not only important for me, but it’s important for businesses; it’s important for families, and I feel like it’s also very important for people’s mental health because it’s often hard to reach out to others during this time and not being able to see each other in person also makes it more difficult,” said Sun.

Many other countries, such as New Zealand and South Korea, have been able to make great progress in their response to the pandemic due to their early response and strict safety measures. It also helped that their citizens were not as defiant and ignorant as Americans. They followed the rules because they knew that the health and safety of others was at risk.

“I think it’s delusional to think that the students with all their partying and hanging out that they would be able to maintain a 6 feet distance and that they would keep their masks on if we were to return to school. If students can’t even do it now they won’t do it later. I see all the students going out everywhere and hanging out with their friends, and I just feel like it’s not a good decision to risk my loved ones’ health just to go to school when I can do the same thing online,” said Jimenez.

It is up to us as citizens to stop the spread and prevent more people from dying. We will not be completely safe returning to school until a change is made or a vaccine is available.