Why are we still in school?


Olivia Brost

In South Dakota, where COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly, an increasing amount of controversy has occurred surrounding whether or not schools should stay open.

Olivia Brost, Staff Writer

As the school year continues to try and resemble the normalcy of years prior, COVID-19 cases and concerns still continue to rise. The Sioux Falls School District and LHS have done their best to make school a safe and healthy environment for everyone, but some important factors are out of their hands. One question that some students are asking is, “why are we still in school?” With the rising cases and different situations that play into the halting of school, everyone is for, against or torn on whether going back online or continuing to attend school every day is the safest bet for their health. While there are many other factors that go into the decision, it may be best to take a break and go online with the current case numbers. 

There are many factors that come into play when it comes to canceling school, one of them being students falling behind in their education. During online school last spring, many students had mixed emotions. Some found it to be helpful and were able to work at a pace that was beneficial for them, while some struggled without face-to-face interactions, and simply experienced a lack of motivation. 

“I personally prefer a learning environment in which I am able to interact with my teachers on a more personal level to try and get a better understanding of the concepts regarding the learning experience,” said LHS junior Kaden Karu. “But I, along with many students, understand that it is a safe substitute, and I appreciate online learning and what the teachers do for us and the purpose it is trying to serve.” 

Going back online this time around would probably look different than it did last spring due to teachers having a better grasp on how to present the content to students. Another factor that is important to take into consideration is that the district is not only high school students, but also elementary and middle school students. Calling off school would put a strain on certain families due to a majority of households having an obligation to work and would be unable to look after their child. 

Since the start of school in August, South Dakota has seen a rapid increase in COVID-19 case numbers across the state. It is not only students who have contributed to this, but also the residents of South Dakota who returned to normal life and stopped quarantining. The schools try their best to keep the hallways healthy, but that can only go so far when masks are only strongly recommended and students are itching to return to what feels like normal.  Since school began on Aug. 27, there have been 56,477 new cases, putting South Dakota at a total of 67,284 cases as of Nov 18, according to Keloland news. At the beginning of the school year, K-12 cases were at 178; now in November, cases in schools alone are at 803. Situations for each student are different in terms of wearing a mask. Some wear their masks every day correctly, and others let it slip below their nose or simply refuse to wear one. 

In the end, it comes down to students and faculty staying safe. Whether we go back online and let the state recover, or stay in school and continue with highly recommended mask rules, it is important to remain healthy and respectful of the people around us, follow COVID-19 guidelines and wear a mask.