By Emma Kilburg
Shortly before spring break, the Batavia school district announced that students would be going back to school full time, with an option to stay full remote, and the response was very mixed. Some thought this decision was a huge mistake and feared a spike in Covid cases, students receiving a worse education, or mental and emotional struggles, while some people believe that the change is a step in fixing those same issues.
No one knows for sure if there will be a spike in covid cases. Some people, like BHS freshman Nicci Wasmond, trust the CDC and the administration in their decisions.
“I think that the schools wouldn’t be opening up if they weren’t certain that it will be safe,” Wasmond said.
Geneva Middle School teacher and parent of three Batavia elementary school students Trish Klein expressed greater concern.
“I think there will be more Covid cases,” Klein said. “I think we are going to see an increase because the kids are going to think that this is going to give them permission to congregate outside of school and then be somewhat unsafe within school.”
Opinions on the decision don’t end in covid safety. Many people also have concerns on whether going back to school will actually improve the quality of students’ education.
“When you are taking kids at the end of their year essentially and putting them back in five days a week with all these new restrictions in place and everything, it’s going to be a huge adjustment and we’re going to see a lot of tried kids,” Klein said. “We’re going to see a lot of distracted kids and we’re going to see a lot of kids whose anxiety is going to go up.”
Others disagree, like BHS health and physical education teacher Katelyn Patrick.
“I believe that will be obviously more positive, especially since there have been a lot of students struggling a little bit more with the whole remote learning and obviously being in person, that’s a positive with social emotional learning and just being more hands on with the students is key and we need that right now, so it’s a good thing,” Patrick said.
Differences in opinion can vary by school of even class. JB Nelson second grader Cameron Klein worries about being distracted.
“I think it’ll be a bit worse because like, all of the friends are coming back and it might be a bit crazy,” he said.
His next door neighbor Lily McDonald, also in second grade at JBN, shared similar worries.
“There might be people that will talk a lot,” Mcdonald said.
High school students, like freshman Emilie Jack, may be less worried about distraction and more about the mental load of another change.
“I feel that I will have a little bit of a worse education,” Jack said. “I have school anxiety, so going back full time and changing the schedule again can be a bit of an anxious thing.”
There are many students whom this isn’t an issue for though, like Wasmond.
“I think it might take a little bit of an adjustment to be full in person but once you get the hang of it the schedule will come naturally,” Wasmond said.
Although Wasmond noted that while she doesn’t think her education will change, she said that, “it will probably stay the same for some kids and change for others because for some kids being at home was a difficult change and for some kids it was pretty easy.”
These differences can be even greater when it comes to fears about the spread of Covid. While JBN students like Ellie Klein and McDonald and BHS students like Wasmond and Jack have only minor concerns, middle school student Faith Borre has concerns based on the way the lunch room is set up.
“My biggest concern though is lunch… I walked in and I couldn’t scoot my chair back because that’s how close the desks are.”
The person whom she shares her lunch table with is a close friend of hers who is in her “bubble.”
“If I wasn’t sitting by her I would feel really uncomfortable,” Borre said.
At the end of the day, all of these thoughts, hopes, and concerns are valid. It’s only been four days since the Batavia School district has gone back to school full time and nothing can be known for certain for a few more weeks.