Starting in April, students will be returning to school in person for the first time in over a year. No longer on Zoom, they will participate in class with other students and a teacher. Whether or not students are going back or not, many say they are comfortable with the situation that will be in place on campus, and that they will feel safe.
According to the CDC, children are far less likely to develop serious symptoms than adults, and approximately 1.3% of children who tested positive for the coronavirus have been hospitalized with only 0.1% of children having died. Still, a National Center of Health Statistics study shows that 203 children between the ages of 0-18 have died as of January 2021.
The school has already established safety precautions throughout campus. Anyone who goes on campus will be required to fill out a health check. Desks and other surfaces will be sanitized frequently and plastic barriers between desks have also been set up. Hallways have been marked with arrows to guide students around campus, limiting contact as they move from class to class. These precautions are in addition to the standard mask wearing and 6 ft social distancing despite the new 3 ft guidelines from the CDC.
Spanish teacher Erica Marquez believes that these regulations will help keep people safe at Branham.
“We’ll have to get used to it, following the rules and making sure everyone else is following the rules,” she said. “The same way we had to get used to following the rules of the pandemic this whole year.”
Even with the safety measures in place, the vaccine, considered to be the most effective precaution against getting sick, is only approved for ages 16 and older. This leaves freshmen and some sophomores unable to get vaccinated and thus more susceptible to the virus.
“It’s too bad,” said freshman Nila Mettler. “It would be nice for the people who are going to be on campus to get the vaccine a little sooner.” Even unvaccinated though, Nila feels safe with returning to school eventually.
“I am more concerned about students not wearing masks correctly or not being as cautious as others” freshman Korinna Dunn shared. “I believe many students will be responsible but I do see some people not following the guidelines and making a joke of it all. Otherwise, I would feel safe in the environment that Branham has set up for hybrid.”
Unvaccinated or not, many students seem to be comfortable returning to campus in April, with about 45% of freshmen planning to go back. In total, around 600 students of all grades have requested to return to in-person school in April.
“I think it is great that we are starting to open up schools after so long, and I am glad that our community is doing it safely,” Dunn said.