What Students Should be Expecting for School this Fall

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Brielle Allison

Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, Florida schools have shut down for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. While uncertainty surrounds the return to classes, Florida has begun it’s reopening stages and students’ return to school is likely come August. 

The question of how students will be returning to school is still unclear. The CDC has posed guidelines for reopening schools, restaurants and other businesses including the recommendation of face coverings in public settings, a maintained social distance of at least six feet and no large gatherings. 

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Governor Ron DeSantis’ advisory task force envisions kids preparing to return to school in August or September, but the reopening of schools is not a guarantee. 

The Florida Association of District School Superintendents stated in a report presented to the State Board of Education that “Strict social distancing and group gathering protocols may be near impossible to implement due to the nature of the K-12 educational environment.”

Many colleges and universities have postponed their decision deadlines to Jun. 1st, where they will then make the decision of whether or not they’re reopening in the fall. Others have already decided that their campuses will be closed until 2021.

Students are interested in any methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom setting. One method is keeping textbooks, worksheets and other frequently passed around materials virtual.

“I prefer physical textbooks, but it’s doable with what we have now. My study habits have changed to accommodate the online-based learning. I feel as though it’s going to be weird going back to a classroom environment,” said Gaither sophomore Damian Rodriguez. 

Other students were more confident with the idea of keeping some means of education virtual-based.

“I would feel pretty comfortable with the online textbooks and worksheets because we are going to have to get used to using online material for college and other things,” said Newsome junior Kassidy Keebler. 

Students weighed in on their feeling about reopening in the fall, some expressing confidence with social distancing guidelines. 

“We still need to live our lives as best as we can, we just need to still remember to practice social distancing at school,” said Keebler. 

Others are unsure of how schools plan to maintain social distancing guidelines. 

“As is, how are you going to enforce social distancing parameters with so many kids? I feel like it would slow things down, but whatever decision is made, it seems like there’s always going to be hate,” said Rodriguez. 

Gaither sophomore Jessica Peres expressed her concerns. 

“I’m obviously willing to participate in social distancing guidelines, but I’m confused about how it would go down,” said Peres. 

Questions regarding the activities permitted this fall have also yet to be answered. Per current CDC guidelines, large gatherings are still discouraged from being held. This would include significant events like homecoming and sports games. 

Gaither junior Kaia Bonilla has played basketball since freshman year. 

“If I don’t get to play basketball in my last year of high school I honestly think I’ll just go insane,” said Bonilla. 

Overall, the question of whether students will return to school in August is undecided. However, whether students return to school or not, it’s clear that eLearning is still a worthwhile option for students.