By Marleigh Belk
It’s safe to say that many students have had trouble during school this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that the United States has been dealing with since March of 2020. Throughout the pandemic, students have been required to attend school online via zoom meetings. For many colleges, during the Spring 2021 semester, students had the opportunity to choose whether they wanted to
continue online learning or come into the school for in-person classes. And as of March 29, students in the Chambersburg Area School District have been allowed to return to their physical classrooms.
Amber South, a reporter in Pennsylvania, has worked with the Public Opinion for 11 years and had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Dion Betts who informed her of the situation regarding public schools in the community of Chambersburg.
She believes the governor made the decision to allow students to return to school largely due to not being able to keep kids “engaged and learning while at home.” Studies have shown that students’ grades began to decline when it came to being in enrolled classes. This is largely due to parents not being able to help their kids through the learning process or not having the resources to provide them with a great education from home. South mentions that allowing students to return to schools “helped the parents [because] it was a lot to handle at home.”
The statistics concerning students decision to return to the classroom
or remain at home lean heavily toward a preference for in-person classes. South said, “Around 70% have chosen to go back to school on a hybrid schedule; roughly half of them will go to school Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday, then participate in distance learning the other days. On any given day, about one-third of the entire student body will be in classrooms.”
Previously, as students were returning to the elementary, middle, and high schools in 2020 there was a terrible outbreak of COVID throughout the community. Students were only able to return for a month before being sent back home. Students were not able to “return to school until mid to late October”. After Thanksgiving break, the school board decided to keep kids at home until after Christmas. The students were back to learning from home and signing into their classes virtually.
South noted Superintendent Betts as saying, “how successful the rest of the school year will be will depend on attitudes and cooperation of the kids”. The students do prefer to stay in school over online classes. Additionally, students also have done very well maintaining the safety guidelines put into place. The pandemic has caused many educational issues throughout the United States, but hopefully with the start of vaccines being administered life will begin to turn back to normal.