Mixed Opinions for WWS Students About Returning to School


Max Draus, Staff Writer

This past year has been entirely different than years past in regards to school and students. Around the world, education has changed due to COVID-19, including Illinois public schools. After the shutdown of all schools last year, the big question was focused around the 2020-2021 school year. Many states have left it up to the districts to decide, such as Illinois has done. Some districts have been in school for a while doing a hybrid schedule, which is the plan for Wheaton Warrenville South coming this next week. 

As we return back to school, it is important to acknowledge the decisions and thoughts of students whether they are returning to school or not. There may not be a certain correct or incorrect answer to dealing with COVID right now but many students were willing to share their opinions regarding WWSHS’s return to school along with the state’s choice to postpone fall sports. Students were more likely to support the return to school and many made sure to state that the hybrid method would be the most effective. However, regarding the question of fall sports, the results were more varied as it was almost equal between strongly agreeing to strongly disagree.

Focusing on the main topic, should we be allowed to go back to school, there are many different opinions. Students and experts have different opinions with evidence to support both ideas. There may not be a correct answer but for example, governor J.B. Pritzker is for the most part against the return to school for students. People have criticized Pritzker for his stance while others supported him. Despite that he is against the return o schools, the “Part 3 Transition Planning Phase” document was released and it laid out the guidelines that will be implemented in order to return to school. This plan is imperative to follow to successfully return to school without risking the spread of COVID too much. Continuing with the support for the return to school, many people agreed with this idea on the survey that was conducted. Over 67% of the 71 students that answered the survey supported this along with other people specifying that we should return but with even more reconstruction of a plan. Along with this, WWS students held a rally to return to school earlier this fall. Many speakers supported the idea and it was good for people to hear how the actual students felt about this. In an interview with a student, they stated, “We’re asking the superintendents, the board members and the state leaders to fight for us. Remote learning, to me, is quitting.” This shows combined sentiments towards e-learning and how it is necessary to return to school.

Although we are returning to school, the same could not be said for fall sports who have been postponed to late winter and early spring. This topic was even more split as about 40% of students disagreed with the government’s decision while 35% disagreed leaving 25% neutral about the topic. This split probably resulted in people’s fear in high contact sports as labeled by government officials to be the problem. For example, “There is a higher risk of COVID-19 infection associated with high contact sports,” said Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health. Arnold speaks on behalf of the opposition to fall sports by saying we are putting more people at risk unnecessarily if we play sports. She also stated in the same article that, “In states where sports such as football are underway, Arnold said, COVID-19 positivity rates are double what they are in Illinois, according to infection information from those states.” This shows the negative sanctions of playing fall sports during a pandemic. On the other side, the students who had disagreed with the government were most likely to be athletes. This is a very interesting and difficult topic to decide what is right to do as athletes who are trying to get into colleges need to play in the fall to help get scholarships and attention, but on the other hand, is it worth risking lives?
The final topic that is important to discuss is whether WWS will effectively follow the rules to reduce the spread of COVID. This applies to the student’s ability and the WWS officials enforcing these rules. Many students are doubtful of their peer’s ability to follow the rules even though they think the school would enforce the rules effectively for the most part. Although it may create for a boring year, students should be hoping that their fellow students and their school would follow these rules to continue to go to school. Again in the documents regarding the return to school, it clearly states that students will have to wear masks at all times when in school and interacting with other students. 

Even though the student population is divided, solutions can still be found. For example, a student in the survey answered yes to question of whether or not students should return to school but they also made sure to say students must have the choice of returning to school or not. Thankfully, this is the case for WWS and students are not required to return. Another solution to peoples doubts on people following rules can be solved if everyone does their part and adheres to the guidelines.