Online learning remains safer option in COVID-19 climate


A Child Care and Development class practices swaddling babies through zoom on Oct. 7.

No one wants to imagine their child, friend, parent, or sibling dying or getting seriously sick, but that may be the reality some have to face if schools send students back too early. Over 999,000 people in the world have died from the COVID-19 pandemic according to the CDC and completely reopening schools before this disease no longer remains a threat to safety would contribute to an increase in cases and deaths.

The waiting game for the coronavirus to disappear still has not ended, so while some sense of normalcy returns, crowded and populated areas, such as schools, must remain online. With some high schools enrolling up to 8,000 kids, sending students back remains completely unrealistic.

According to the CDC, the coronavirus spreads from person-to-person through the air between people in close contact. That perfectly describes a school environment. It can be prevented through wearing face coverings, social distancing, and sanitization. However, it would be extremely difficult for administrators and teachers to police thousands of students in staying away from each other and keeping their masks up. Teachers did not sign up for this and they should not have to be responsible for stopping a disease from spreading amongst their kids while also ensuring their own safety in a crowded environment. 

Many high schools and universities such as James Madison University and the University of North Carolina have attempted to send students back in-person which almost immediately resulted in a sharp increase in cases and a shutdown of the school.

According to the New York Times, a high school district in Georgia quarantined nearly 1,200 staff members and students after just the first week of face-to-face learning.

Even if masks and social distancing could be perfectly enforced in school, there is no way to control what students do outside of school. They could catch it elsewhere and cause a rapid spread throughout the school population. There are just too many factors to risk sending students back face-to-face at the moment.

While school aged students are less likely to catch it than other groups and may have less health risks, they can still get very sick or give it to someone else who could die. Many people catch COVID-19 and have no symptoms so they take less precautions and end up spreading it to others.

While online learning tends to get frustrating with connection issues and patchy communication, it is the safer option until the pandemic is under control.

In a perfect world, schools could completely reopen and all students could return to face-to-face learning, but the past seven months have been far from ideal; schools should remain online for now because it is much better to be safe than to be sorry.