Why Are We Even Here?

The Inevitability of a COVID-19 Outbreak on Campus

Matthew Mapa

Connor Raffa, Opinions Editor

If recent outbreaks at major universities and high schools across the country are any indication, it’s only a matter of time before the coronavirus finds its way to Trinity Prep. The school seems to have acknowledged this possibility and has a variety of plans to mitigate the virus’s spread. Yet, it begs the question: why run the risk in the first place?

As of August 17th, 600 high schools across the country already have reported cases of COVID-19, just weeks after reopening. Since then, the number has continued to grow, and colleges like Notre Dame and UNC have made national headlines by suspending in-person classes. Many of these schools, like Trinity, even had policies in place designed to prevent such scenarios. However, it’s virtually impossible to stop teenage kids from being kids. 

No matter what guidelines are in place during the school day, as soon as the bells ring, all bets are off. Students will continue to socialize outside of school at the risk of exposing themselves and others to the virus. For example, close to 300 teens were exposed to the virus at a big party in Austin, Texas. On a more local level, in the state of Florida, almost 900 students have tested positive thus far, proving that no matter what guidelines are in place, the virus will continue to spread. To expect Trinity to be any different would be unwise.

 While arguments can be made about the benefits of in-person classes––they make it easier to focus and can help those with learning disabilities––for the vast majority of students, Trinity has proven remote learning can be just as effective, if not more so. As it is now, with our hybrid model, instruction is often directed towards the children who are physically in the classroom as opposed to those online. It puts teachers in a difficult position to engage these remote students and makes it difficult for these students to learn effectively. 

Moreover, for students in person, there is often wasted time during the day that can be better utilized by those at home. Though this can be used to facilitate social interaction, which is actually one of the main benefits of in-person classes, it’s certainly not on the level anyone had in mind. Social distancing and mask-wearing make it challenging to truly interact with those around us, and similar levels of interaction can easily be attained outside of school.

We need to stop pretending like this is a normal year. It’s not. While everyone would prefer for things to go back to the way they were, that’s just not possible. Administration has done a commendable job trying to bring people back to campus, but is it really worth all the effort if the same learning can be accomplished remotely?

Ultimately, for each of us that made the decision to come back to campus, we’ll have to deal with the consequences. An outbreak seems inevitable, and it’s likely we’ll all be forced online in the near future. However, considering this risk and the school’s capacity for online learning, it would save a lot of time, money and stress for both students and teachers alike if we were to go virtual from the get-go.