Nicki Anyanwu '22
Picture this: a freshman at the National Cathedral School is running down the hill to the athletic center with an unnecessarily heavy book bag propelling her forward. Her waist-length box braids are laced about a bright, ghastly yellow duffel bag, and she’s wearing PINK leggings. When she suddenly stops to tie her white Converse at the bottom of the hill and looks at her phone with fear in her eyes, it is obvious that she is dreading her first Dance Team audition.
Surprise surprise: that anxiety struck 14-year-old was none other than yours truly. I entered the athletic center, sprinted down the steps (for early is on time), and began to stretch on the floor of a studio that was soon to become my favorite place on campus.
With mirrors and ballet barres lining every wall, a closet stocked with random hygienic necessities, and an impressive array of lighting choices, the north studio may seem too good to be true for any dancer. Something about the north studio just makes it perfect for bonding. The carriage house or any other dance studio in the athletic center would not suffice. North studio is where I feel most comfortable dancing, eating, laugh, and even studying throughout the school year.
Now, picture this: You’re looking at Maurice, your amazing coach, and choreographer, on your laptop. It’s time for a hip-hop dance class, and as he signals for everyone to start the core workout, you realize that Dance Team will never be the same again. There will be no more flips, “blade” hands, poses stricken, or team photos in uniforms. There will be no more senior nights or team trips to Starbucks. Instead, you watch Maurice start to break up mid-Rihanna choreography because of your atrocious wifi. Stewing in anger, all you can think about is how Dance Team does not have to be this way.
The athletic department often neglects Dance Team, and that’s unfortunate for every girl on the team who gains self-confidence, friends, and a bomb workout from each practice. Students are on campus for tennis, soccer, and even cross country, but the Dance team must remain in a virtual setting. We’ve been spreading six feet apart at the beginning of each practice before “social distancing” was a thing. The studio is huge, there’s a fan in the corner, and we have less than 10 members this year. Being in a room lined with mirrors for hours on end could quite possibly make anyone self-conscious or even vain, but when you’re surrounded by people who love you and bring you joy, it takes away your insecurities. I needed the Dance Team and the confidence it brings as an underclassman. I may not need it as much now, but Lord knows that I want it. Other students get to serve, dribble and run to their hearts’ content on campus, but I’m not allowed to dance with my Dance Team family. That hurts, and it makes my junior year all the more despondent.
To add to that despondency, most of my friends made through dance are seniors now. I’m supposed to accept that I’ve had my last choreographing sessions with Mekhi Love ‘21 and Nia Brown ‘21; never again shall I scream the lyrics to “No Hands” with Isabel Hohenloe ‘21. These people, along with many others involved in dance, made my high school experience memorable. We should be able to keep making memories if we have the proper facilities to do so. We deserve it. We lift each other up when the weight of the world seems too much to handle, and I can’t afford to lose them just yet. I simply can’t.
Yenna Chong '23
With students going back to school for the second quarter, there have been concerns about students’ health and a new learning environment. NCS has created a list of instructions and guidelines to keep students safe while attending school. While there are several benefits to learning in person, returning to school while national cases are on the rise does not seem safe for the time being, especially since there were lockdowns in the spring when COVID-19 cases had only just started to appear.
Sharing a confined space with hundreds of people during a pandemic only breeds health risks. The physical health of faculty, staff, and students is of ‘primary concern’, so NCS is taking precautions to prevent any possible spread of the virus. For example, the school is placing hand sanitizing stations throughout the buildings, minimizing contact with food by serving packaged lunches, and marking the buildings with directional signs to enforce social distancing. Also, they are regulating room occupation limits and circulating the air with air from outside multiple times a day. Even considering these precautions, the chance of COVID-19 spreading does not become 0%. Moreover, autumn and winter are not only flu seasons, but the seasons when several NCS students come to school with colds (although they know they should stay home). I have faith in people’s judgment to stay home when they do not feel well during this time, but it may be tempting to ignore signs of illness and just come to school convincing yourself you are fine. Everyone understands how hard it is to make up a day’s worth of NCS’s schoolwork, so many of us would avoid missing school when possible. Trusting judgment is especially dangerous now, though, for so many common cold symptoms parallel those of COVID-19.
I wish I could be completely enthusiastic about the prospect of meeting my teachers in person for the first time and seeing friends face-to-face as opposed to sitting before my computer all day. However, health concerns in addition to the constant change in routine can be challenging to many students’ mental health, especially in an already high-stress and anxious environment. I had a smooth transition to online learning in the spring, but when it resumed for the fall, everything seemed out of place; I was unmotivated with a weak mentality, and I had no faith in my work. Consequently, I worried that I had reached academic burnout in the middle of high school. I think that learning in-person will encourage engagement in class and foster the teacher-student relationships that are yet to develop, but I am wary of the fact that I need to constantly switch my routine for blended learning; it has been difficult enough for students to get used to online schooling.
At this rate, the benefits of going to school seem almost non-existent. All the socializing amongst peers during lunch, before classes, and during office hours (which is what got me through the school day) are gone. Additionally, the geography teachers have developed a structure where students who are in school must zoom with earphones while the teacher is teaching in front of them. Essentially, there is no difference in learning except for the location change. This idea is very inefficient, for the advantage of students and teachers being together is utterly wasted. All in all, these signs should discourage NCS from having students return to school, but if the school direly wishes to do so, there needs to be a safer solution that will help students grow academically and socially.
Ethan D'amato '21
I still remember exactly how I felt when I got the news that St. Albans would be closing three days early for my junior year spring break. Sitting in my room watching YouTube, the excitement I felt when I received the email was palpable. Of course, in retrospect, I can say with the utmost confidence that whatever I did during those three days could not make up for the numerous opportunities I have missed since. It's been two hundred and thirty eight days since I received that email, and for all two hundred and thirty eight of them, I have been in quarantine. To some, it may seem like overkill, but to me, it was necessary. That being said, as D.C. enters its second phase of reopening and STA enters its second week of Hybrid, it may seem like the perfect time to break quarantine and opt into school for the coming weeks. Unfortunately, for many students that have decided to opt out of our school’s first round of in person classes, myself included, it still doesn’t feel like the right time. Many of my friends are confused as to exactly why I haven’t opted in, but to me, the reasons are clear.
Covid-19 is truly a scary disease. While that may seem like an obvious statement, I feel that during this time of reopening people have forgotten just how much damage it can do. It has infected upwards of fifty-two million people worldwide, and over one million have died from the disease since its initial outbreak. Covid can do a lot of damage, and, despite some institutions deciding to reopen, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Covid is not going away.
Even though many institutions are feeling safe enough to reopen, the number of Covid cases per day is rising faster than ever before. The decision to reopen schools and businesses has only exacerbated the rise in these numbers. As we move towards the middle of autumn, it is plain to see that the second wave is truly rearing its head, and while it might be fun to go back to school and be with friends, in my opinion, returning still poses too much of a risk.
Without a doubt, there are many drawbacks to continuing to quarantine. Missing out on social events, school, and just everyday life can be a challenge, but for many, it's worth the tradeoff. For some members of the Close community, Covid isn’t just a small hurdle or a tiny cold, it's a real health risk to either oneself or one’s family. In my case both of my parents have a high-risk of complications that come with the virus which is enough for me to justify my choice to opt out of school and stay home during this time. It’s a difficult time which calls for difficult decisions, and I’ve made mine.
Students across the country are struggling with the same decision - whether or not to return to school. Most schools expect only 50-70% of students to attend classes in person, while some are seeing fewer than 40%. Hundreds of students are thinking through the same tradeoffs as I am, and to have an effective reopening strategy, we need to understand the reasons behind students deciding to stay home. Families have cited reasons ranging from vulnerable members in the home to logistics as their reasons for keeping kids out of school. CDC guidelines encourage spacing, ventilation, and disinfection of all surfaces, adding to the complexity of hosting in person classes. Anecdotally, my own situation and those of my classmates are indicative of the broader situations all American students face, and I hope that by understanding my decision making process and taking into account nationwide pandemic statistics, the school can work towards the most effective solution available.
Camila Leiva '21
The first time my friend asked me to download and join her on an Among Us server, I stumbled around connecting wires and completing tasks. Walking around leisurely, it was only a matter of time before I was killed by the purple character. Into the FaceTime call I yelled in anguish and told everyone who had killed me. Groans and laughter followed much to my surprise.
“Ok, let’s finish the game anyway.”
Embarrassed that I had missed the point of the game, I kept silent the next time I died or killed someone. I completed the tasks in a whir after a few weeks of heavy gameplay, and learned to not look “sus” when I murdered the 3’7 colorful characters.
Every day, the Among Us group chat would increase by two or three people, until the chat was completely full. The chat bridged NCS students, family, and outside of school friends into a happy conglomerate of strangers.
When Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) announced they were going to host a DMV-wide Among Us event, I prepared game play till then. Unfortunately, I got there too late after having finished a pesky essay. I only got to watch the last few moments in which my group of random heads tried to figure out who the imposter was.
This silly little game of multicolored characters with quirky hats running around hiding from an unknown enemy has split friendships as bloody murder is carried out. All in good fun (most of the time), Among Us has been a de-stressor to me and many other students between classes and after school. The easiness of being able to hop on a server in a few seconds allows for fun gameplay throughout the day.
With NCS now coming back into school, the short rounds will be able to merge social interaction between the two cohorts and students who chose to stay online.
Not only students who play can participate in the constant chatter about imposters and crewmates. With an ever-increasing amount of YouTube videos and livestreams on various platforms, anyone can watch AOC and PewDiePie play competitively with others.
The best thing about all of this is the net price of 0.00 dollars you have to pay the app store to get the game. Available on iPhone, Android and PC, the game is accessible to almost anyone with a smartphone or computer.
Whether you’ve played before or not, I highly suggest rounding up a few friends to play after school, or go on a random server and play with strangers for a few rounds. As long as there’s not another set of hackers, you should be fine.
More clubs are looking to implement Among Us as a way to bring everyone together and induce natural conversation between old and new members. Latinx Student Union at NCS is planning on hosting an event for prospective students who wish to join the club, so I hope to see some new faces there (shameless self promo).
Shreyan Mitra '23
Let us begin this discussion by clarifying that this piece is in no way another reminder of the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic nor a polemic aimed at the energy and agricultural giants. Rather, it will be a generic analysis of our recent history with pandemics and two common factors that deserve some consideration: biodiversity and sustainability. For the sake of brevity, we will define the former as the “variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain life” and the latter as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get down to business.
The world has experienced five different epidemics and pandemics in the last ten years. These were the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002, the Swine Flu in 2009, the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012, the Ebola outbreak in 2014, and the ongoing SARS-nCoV-2 pandemic. All five are classified as viral infections, all five were unexpected, but (and perhaps most importantly) all five viruses originated in animals. SARS’s origin is unknown, Swine Flu came from pigs, MERS from camels, Ebola from bats, and the new coronavirus from either bats or wet market pangolins. All of these are zoonoses, meaning they are a result of animal-human transmittance. According to an article by the editors of Scientific American, “Three-quarters of the emerging pathogens that infect humans leaped from animals, many of them creatures in the forest habitats that we are slashing and burning… The more we clear, the more we come into contact with wildlife that carries microbes well suited to kill us.” In short, as we destroy large swathes of land that house intricate yet substantial ecosystems, the species that were once sheltered from humanity and developed immunity to certain diseases through biodiversity and natural selection expose those diseases to us. The only logical course of a virus is outward, and hence it propagates through the human population.
Of course, deforestation and “slashing and burning” aren’t the only ways in which we can introduce a novel disease into society. A common practice in tropical regions in Africa, Asia, and South America is bushmeat hunting, which involves killing wildlife either for consumption or for money. This method of hunting has proven unsustainable and a significant factor in the decline of biodiversity in the aforementioned areas. Wildlife hunting kills animals in an area much faster than they can reproduce, denying them the chance to evolve and undergo natural selection properly. Consuming those species, however, is often more harmful given that they carry unique diseases. In fact, all viruses of the Ebolavirus family are believed to have come from fruit bats, the virus’s natural reservoirs. When humans kill these animals for their meat, the chance of transmission increases drastically. Luckily for the rest of the world, the Ebola epidemic was contained thanks to better restrictions on bushmeat and did not spread past its epicenters. On the other hand, the world wasn’t so lucky when the coronavirus got out of Wuhan’s wet markets and spread to the rest of the world, though other factors are certainly at play in its relatively swift global diffusion.
As our leadership outlines an in-person return to school and some of us accept that plan, it is a given that we keep regulations and recommendations in mind while retaining our Close values. In discussions on biodiversity and sustainability, we tend to concern ourselves with the future of our family, our school, our society, and our world. While human technology grows and better practices are established, what we think is “forward progress” may sometimes “backfire” on us one day. Be determined, but be considerate. Be innovative, but be mindful.
Aanya Hudda '21
For those returning to campus, the National Cathedral School (NCS) has implemented numerous safety measures to ensure that students follow Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines and stay as safe as possible. In addition to the covenant, signed by both parents and students, NCS has a MagnusMobile health app that must be filled out daily in order for a student to attend school. All divisions have been split into two cohorts, which alternate weekly between an asynchronous learning environment and an in-person environment. The school has made hallways one-way, installed Purell stations, improved ventilation and air filtration, staggered the times that students arrive at school, and put up room capacity signs that indicate the number of people allowed in a given room.
Each teacher has their own way of conducting classes. Some keep the two cohorts together and have cohort 2 Zoom into class when cohort 1 is in person, while others give cohort 2 asynchronous work to complete on their own. If a teacher is unable to teach in person, a classroom facilitator either projects the Zoom meeting of the class onto the whiteboard, or in-person students individually log into the Zoom meeting with headphones. Students order their lunch in advance, grab bagged meals from a tent next to Hearst Hall, and sit in a socially distanced circle on the Cathedral lawn to eat. During free periods, students are required to sit in a pre-assigned classroom. During office hours, they are required to stay in their last classroom from 2:45pm till 3:30pm, when they are dismissed for sports.
Students who chose the fully remote option follow the schedule of their respective cohorts. If a fully remote student’s cohort is in person, then that student will log on to Zoom with their class. If the fully remote student’s cohort is working on asynchronous work at home, then the student will complete that work at home as well.
Despite the safety measures that NCS has in place, many students believe that returning to school now is not the right choice for them or their families. As COVID-19 cases across the United States reach an all-time high, and cases in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area reach a two-month high, fear of contracting the virus is increasing. It is predicted that the DMV cases will continue to rise, exacerbated by people’s decreasing patience, as well as small group gatherings moving indoors due to the cold weather. Alaska is an example of this dreaded increase. In the summer, despite the opening of restaurants and increase in tourism, the state reported some of the lowest case numbers across the nation. However, cold weather prompted all gatherings to move in-doors, contact tracing became less effective, and the virus thrived in the lower humidity. Over the past few weeks, the percent of the population that tested positive has doubled.
Considering the uncertainty surrounding the state and future of this pandemic, many students do not feel comfortable returning to school. Most students who have family members who struggle with chronic illness, or are compromised themselves, have made the decision to stay remote for the safety of their families. Interacting with an older parent or grandparent is another major concern. These students must weigh their options: return to school in person and quarantine from their family members or stay remote. Lastly, mental health (particularly stress about contracting the virus) and academic adjustment between remote learning and in-person learning are other reasons for not returning to in-person learning.
Arya Balian '22
Arya Balian ‘22 gives us an inside look into how she’s pursuing her performing arts passion online:
The fall play this year consists of a series of short plays about social media. Actors meet three times a week to rehearse either during the school day or after school. Recording is happening over zoom using green screens and ring lights to improve technological aspects of the play.
Mads and Chorale, which meet twice a week, are happening over zoom as well. Singers record their parts on their own and the recordings are put together to make a full piece of music.
Arya says that “performing Arts is SO different virtually. It’s a lot harder to sing on your own than surrounded by a group of people. Also, a HUGE part of performing on the Close is the community, and zoom is obviously not the same vibe. We have had to adapt to a lot, but I definitely have hope for the future.”
George Clessuras '22
As the 2020 National Football League (NFL) season has reached its midpoint, it is unknown whether football fans will see the completion of a traditional sixteen game season or not. League commissioner Roger Goodell expressed confidence throughout the summer that the original schedule including eight home games and eight away games for each team would be fulfilled, yet I was skeptical. I watched Major League Baseball struggle to contain various COVID-19 outbreaks and adjust its sixty game schedule, resulting in over 40 postponed games. So, I was not optimistic that football, a contact sport with an average roster size almost twice that of a baseball team, could make it through the season unless Goodell reverted to a bubble model. However, as of early November, the league has indeed made its way to the halfway mark of the season.
It is probably more accurate to say that the NFL has stumbled its way to this point. As professional football passes it’s ninth week, half of the NFL’s 32 teams are dealing with a COVID-19 case within their respective organizations , and a plethora of games have been reassigned for different weeks, resulting in a jumbled scheduling puzzle. A number of prime-time games, in both the NFL and the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, college football’s most competitive division) have been played without notable players due to COVID-19 protocols. Just this past weekend, in the highly anticipated matchup between the Clemson Tigers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Tigers were without their standout quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The event made national headlines not only for its thrilling overtime finish, but also for the controversy that occurred after the final whistle, as thousands of Notre Dame students rushed onto the gridiron and formed a dense crowd that covered almost the entire field. The incident has sparked new discussions about the justification for playing football in the first place amidst the pandemic. People question the optics of holding large competitions—often with thousands of spectators in attendance—while cases are once again on the rise in this country. It is important to note that although this incident of football fans defying COVID-19 guidelines has garnered the most public attention, it certainly is not an isolated incident in the sport. The NFL and FBS teams are struggling to contain outbreaks within their locker rooms, and stadium employees are struggling to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing among fans. Why, then, in the midst of a surging pandemic, is it so important that these leagues find a way to finish their seasons? Why is this something a casual fan, or even one who doesn’t watch sports at all, should care about?
Historically, the sport of football has been a rallying symbol of strength during some of our country’s darkest hours and has captured the spirit of American determination. While it may seem excessive to attribute so much meaning to a game, the truth is that America loves football and has turned to gameday not only for a source of entertainment, but also for a source of hope.
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, locals poured into New Orleans Saints’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome, serving as a sanctuary for thousands . With flood waters unwavering in this landmark American city, it seemed that the town’s beloved franchise was ready to pack up its bags and relocate. However, when the state of Louisiana needed a beacon of inspiration, it was a football game, in the very stadium that sheltered so many distressed families, that uplifted the entire region. The New Orleans Saints’ electric return to the superdome in 2006 represented the resilience of the city and highlighted the immense capacity of football to unify. The image of Steve Gleason’s iconic blocked punt from that very game is permanently enshrined outside of the superdome in the form of a statue appropriately titled “Rebirth.”
In 2007, the Virginia Tech Hokies took the field for the first time since the horrific shooting that claimed the lives of 32 students and faculty members . While their offense struggled for much of the contest, the energy in Lane Stadium that afternoon was unparalleled. “I’ve run out there a bunch of times and it’s been loud, but I don’t think I’ve ever known it to be more loud,” recalled former head coach Frank Beamer .
Obviously, a football game cannot expunge the damage of Hurricane Katrina, nor can it erase the grief of those who lost a loved one in the Virginia Tech shooting, but a mysterious healing power does lie on the gridiron. And while some have questioned the message sent out by playing professional and collegiate football in the midst of a pandemic and great suffering, I would argue that we have never needed football more.
Football serves as a safe haven from the politically polarizing social climate that ravages our country as well. Football connects people of different backgrounds, races, genders, and ages. Ultimately, football makes our incredibly abnormal year seem a little more normal. So, while I am not optimistic about the prospect of finishing an NFL or FBS season without major interruptions, especially as cases continue to rise, I implore every NFL organization, every collegiate team, every sports fan, and every American to comply with guidelines and wear masks for the safety of this country and, if for no other reason, for the sake of football.
Jorge Guajardo '21
Winter is coming.
Previously a season of celebration to be spent with family and friends, winter will now be a period of isolation and increased caution as the Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States. And yet, our schools continue in their hybrid plans, defiant of the cold storm to come. Can St. Albans withstand the challenges faced by a potential viral surge this winter? Yes, but students must maintain a sense of personal responsibility for this to happen.
The hybrid model has been a welcome change for many students. Although some luxuries of the online model—sleeping in, a lighter workload, more freedom—have been lost, it nonetheless provides a good opportunity to socialize with friends and interact with teachers in person. Given the present circumstances, the hybrid plan has been well-executed and I commend St. Albans for their tightly structured and regimented plan and for their transparency. The problem with the hybrid model is not with the policies of the school; rather, it is with the folly of the students.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see a great amount of parties taking place during Halloween. Snapchat map showed many clusters of parties across the city, and Instagram posts were abundant, showing friends packed together, rarely—if ever—wearing a mask. I am hesitant to stand on a moral pedestal and lecture on the foolishness of partying, as I am sure many of the partygoers themselves well understand the risk they are taking and waive it anyway in favor of their own short-term gratification. Their mistake is in thinking that the repercussions of their actions end with them.
It is crucial that partygoers realize that their actions do not affect them alone—they affect everyone in the community. However, I am sure that you, dear reader, do not need me to remind you that mass gatherings do not affect only those in attendance, but all those who come in contact with the attendees. In the remote model, responsible students were not at risk due to the actions of a foolish few, as they were secluded in their homes and away from large gatherings. Party-going was not excusable then, including when the Remote-plus model was in place, but it was undoubtedly less dangerous. Now that we are in the hybrid model, students directly endanger not only themselves with their irresponsibility but also the students around them. Young people are spreading this virus , and we must take care to not plunge the city of Washington D.C. into a worse place than it is already in. The hybrid model is a welcome return to the academic and social setting many of us missed, but we must, as students, be especially responsible so we can continue along the positive track we are on.
Large events and parties are not like a cheat meal after a long week of dieting. Quarantine is not something you can deposit in order to cash out on in the future with a party; a COVID-19 infection in one weekend can undo months of strenuous isolation. So, I ask you to please stay at home. If you want to hang out with friends, which I still encourage, make plans to either create a small “quarantine pod” or wear masks and keep distance. Don’t go to parties—especially with strangers—even if it means relieving yourself from a little bit of FOMO and cabin fever. Don’t go to large gatherings, even if it means celebrating a great event in the history of this country (you know what I mean). If you do, at least quarantine for two weeks afterwards. Your responsibility will save lives. The battle against this virus is not only waged by heroes working on the front lines, but also by the aggregate actions of every member of the community. If all of us take steps to be more responsible, we can continue safely with the hybrid model and into a triumphant spring.
Lucy Kerr '23
When NCS announced that students would be starting the blended learning model in November, I was initially worried about whether it was safe to go back to school. As the date of returning to campus crept closer, my worries grew larger. Though my doubts about the health risk were slightly alleviated by NCS’s extensive health and safety protocols, they were not diminished by any means, and I began to wonder if there was truly a benefit to starting the blended model.
The one-week in person and one-week virtual model makes sense as an attempt to allow for social distancing in classrooms and minimize exposure in the scenario of an outbreak, yet this model also strikes me as disruptive with potential for confusion in an already unstable and anxiety-inducing time. Additionally, changes to a student’s day like mandatory in-person athletics and added morning time commuting to school are all disruptive changes to the routines that students have gotten used to over the past months of virtual school.
When I interviewed two of my classmates the weekend before they would be returning to campus as part of Cohort 1, they had similar worries. Sigrid Drefke ’23 said that she had “mixed emotions about [the blended learning model]... I’m excited to see people I wouldn’t go out of my way to see otherwise, but I’m scared that this is too big of a step for where our region is right now… I think that I have to see firsthand what the school is doing to make an accurate opinion.” Penelope Jia ’23 also voiced concern, saying, “I know the school is doing the best they can to keep everyone safe, but I still can’t help but feel anxious. Plus, it will definitely be strange returning to campus after months.”
Amid all the concerns surrounding a return to campus, it seems doubtful that the blended-learning model is truly worth it. I might be pessimistic, but the possible benefits of blended-learning don’t seem to outweigh the negative aspects. Many of the class plans for students in the classroom are not much different from the plans for remote students, despite the fact that on-campus students are facing more risks and difficulties. Additionally, entirely virtual periods of learning are taking place after holiday breaks, which is a necessary decision, but diminishing time on campus also dissolves possible benefits students receive by being on campus. The potential for benefit from an early return to campus seems small, while the potential for problems seems high.
In addition, the risk of exposure to the virus in a time where national and local cases are on the rise, as well as the beginning of a season when many people’s immune systems are compromised by other illnesses, seems like enough alone to outweigh the possible benefits. Even a smaller risk such as a student’s mental health suffering due to the stress of seemingly constant change and instability needs to be considered.
However, I am still hopeful that a return to campus may prove to be worth the possible risks. I also hope that the risks are not as dramatic as I have speculated. Students showed remarkable adaptability when transitioning to online school in the spring and I hope that same adaptability helps students to return to campus now.