Full distance learning proves to be the safest option

Liam Hayward, Editor

As cases continue to rise in Washoe County and across the country, as well as the holiday season around the corner, there are concerns over the safety of schools being in person. The best option to keep things organized and safe is to enforce full-distance learning, and that’s likely to be the case in the near future.

Many schools across the country opted out of in-person school entirely this year. Most schools utilized some form of distance learning, whether it be full distance or a hybrid model. According to the United States Census Bureau, around 93% of students reported some form of distance learning this year. Washoe County went with the hybrid route, which was a tough and controversial decision, and may not have been the best one. Twelve schools have already had to temporarily shut down in November due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, and 41 schools have reported at least one positive case, according to the Reno Gazette Journal. 

The dangers of COVID-19 outbreaks, as well as the confusion that comes with half distance and half in-person, are the leading flaws of the hybrid system. This year has been hard on teachers, students and parents alike. Having to balance half a classroom being at home, and the other half in person can be really stressful and difficult for teachers. This can lead to a slower-paced curriculum, and this has led to a lot of projects and entire units being cut. This doesn’t mean that there’s a shortage of work for students. There is work being given online and in-person, which can get confusing and can often build up. Teachers also put their online work in different places, whether it be through Remind, Microsoft Teams, or Microsoft OneNote. This can further the confusion for students on their distance days.

Thankfully, schools recently did close. The school district voted that all middle schools and high schools shut down and go to full distance learning for the rest of the semester, as of Dec. 2. While this is the right decision to avoid any more COVID-19 spikes and to ease stress, it will force changes to an already hectic finals schedule. Teachers will be forced to move their finals online if not given before the shutdown, which might be difficult. 

Ultimately, a full distance shutdown is the best option for a safe school year that can keep students up to speed. It’s important that students can keep up the pace and learn all of the necessary material, while also not having to worry about the safety of themselves and those around them.