In early March, Marion County made the decision to switch to virtual learning after they were made aware of COVID-19. After stay-at-home orders were put in place and all Marion County schools were closed for in-person learning, we were all made very aware of just how dangerous the coronavirus could be.
And still, that fear factor is present. Although Perry Township and the Marion County Health Department have done all they can to make students feel safe, we, The Journal, feel that in-person learning should not have been an option for the 2020-2021 school year.
As of Sept. 8, the Marion County Health Department has reported 19,073 coronavirus cases and 750 deaths. And one of these cases can be accounted for by a SHS football player.
Not only is our county struggling (along with the rest of the country), our school could very easily become a hot spot for the virus. If someone is asymptomatic the whole time they are carrying the virus, imagine how many people it could be spread to. Of course this is why rules and regulations have been put in place, but is that enough?
Yes, we only go to school with the people in our last name groups of A through L or M through Z. But beyond that, administration cannot control who we come into contact with once we leave the school doors. That is no fault of their own, but there are simply too many areas for error, for a single positive case to turn into a hundred positive cases.
Now, the obvious is that all of us could have chosen to be a virtual student for the year. But for a couple of reasons, this would have been entirely unattainable.
Let’s be honest, the reality of virtual learning can be quite lonely and less effective. Production of The Journal would literally not exist if our staff stayed home because software is available at school, and most of us don’t have technology that can get the job done.
While we understand the risks and have observed our unrest, we will still put ourselves in a vulnerable position to make it work. But if everyone was virtual, we wouldn’t feel such pressure to operate as normal, simply because we couldn’t.
Although there is a plan in place for contact tracing and quarantining for infected and possibly infected individuals, a school of more than 2,000 students is hard to control on a normal, non-pandemic basis. We, The Journal, feel it is unreasonable to continue with in-person learning, even through a hybrid schedule, because there are simply too many unknowns.