School is back in session, and we have prepared for the unexpected. As we return to our regular spaces, there is a mixture of unusual requirements and routines being added, such as students wearing masks, shorter schedules, separation, and more. It is not the best environment as some students would describe but better because it is an easier place for socialization and learning. Some students would want to avoid that and stay in their comfort zone, which is home. Let us find out from these students who have their own opinions about both sides.
Let’s get into debating!
I posted a poll on Instagram, and I asked the question “What’s Better? Home or School.” I ended up with 47% voting for virtual school and 53% for in-person school. Along with the poll results, I received responses to the question. Two students who agreed with staying at home reasoned why they prefer it. The first student added, “home because of social anxiety.” The second student emphasized that “we’re used to it,” and the third student noted, “virtual learning gives me the option of working at my own pace, and I enjoy it.” We have been under the restrictions of the pandemic beginning in March 2020. Since it is 2021 now, we are used to taking precautions, being alert, and being taught virtually. Both in-person school and quarantine have not been making it any easier for those struggling with mental health, such as teachers piling in more work, being stuck at home with family issues, and losing communication or breaking things off with friends or significant others. These same routines are draining.
Four students who agreed with staying at school reasoned why as well. The first student added “you get the chance to be more socially involved [with] other people.” The second person said, “school is better for learning, but with covid, it’s not safe.” The third student argues that school in-person is better, “because you’re in an environment where you can focus on your work” and emphasizes on cognitive function. Socialization can help with communication, and staying in a school environment can help escape an unhealthy home environment. Schools should not only require cautions but make an environment safe for students who enjoy being at school rather than home. The results from my poll show that there are benefits for students attending school in-person.
I wanted to receive more opinions and details, not only from a group of students but from an individual. Tsion Maru, a sophomore currently attending Wheaton High School, was asked to be interviewed for educational purposes. So, I posed some questions, and she answered.
Tatiana Diomi – “Why do you think students prefer to be at school?”
Tsion Maru – “For a lot of people, school is the only way for them to interact with other people (myself included). It can be hard to make genuine friendships, and school is the easiest way to do that. Also, when you’re in high school, school is everything, your job, your future, it occupies most of your time. So doing it around-like minded people can make it more bearable.”
Tatiana Diomi – “Why do you think students prefer to be at home?”
Tsion Maru – “Many people have had terrible experiences at school or really bad social anxiety. Taking your classes in the comfort of your own home can make that a lot easier.”
Tatiana Diomi – “When students come to school, what safety precautions should be put?”
Tsion Maru – “Definitely mask mandates, frequent cleanings, allowing people to eat outside, hand sanitizer and soap readily accessible, and socially distanced classrooms.”
Tatiana Diomi – “Is it better for students or the school board to decide everything?”
Tsion Maru – “I don´t think it should be exclusively one or the other. The board is filled with people who have not been a student in years, and students can sometimes be a little self-centered and only think of their own personal comfort or what’s best for them rather than what is best for the county as a whole.”
Tatiana Diomi – “How do you think reopening schools will affect student’s mental health?”
Tsion Maru – “It will definitely be a huge adjustment from the year that we have had online. It might be difficult for some students to concentrate in class, but for many, I think it is going to be happy occasion”
Tatiana Diomi – “How do you think students staying home will affect their mental health?”
Tsion Maru – “I think staying at home can be isolating, and for those who might not have a good relationship with their family/whoever they live with, it can make the school even harder. In-person school kind of forced you to go outside and get some fresh air (which can be a huge determinant in the overall mood for a lot of people), going to school at home gives you the option to stay indoors for a little bit longer than is healthy.”
Tatiana Diomi – “What options should be suggested to students?”
Tsion Maru – “I think the option of a hybrid is definitely helpful, but also students being able to go into school and back home as needed should be given too. It can make the decision process a lot easier.”
Tatiana Diomi – “How can we make things better for both sides? The ones who attend school and the ones who stay at home?”
Tsion Maru – “I think for students who are coming back there will definitely be an adjustment period. I can’t imagine how weird it must be to go back after such a long time online. For students online (especially those who are not doing well with grades), I think that tutors or some sort of teacher aid program should be set to do one-on-one sessions to help get those grades up. A lot of people are casually failing out of high school and don’t realize how detrimental this can be in the long run”
These students have different views and opinions and at the end of the day, students have the choice of whether or not they would like to remain virtual or go back to school. Students should not be forced into coming back or staying at home. The school and county giving students the option to choose what is best for them has been helpful for the different situations students are in.