Opinion: Finally a ‘normal’ school year next year?

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Katherine Poley

I am a Westwood High School student in my Junior year. Since March of 2020, I have been in school through virtual learning. Earlier in the school year, when students in my district were asked to decide whether they would return to the classroom, the decision was easy. I wanted to stay home. But now that my family, most of my friends, and many of my teachers are vaccinated, schools might reopen next year.

My worries were contracting COVID-19 from school and then spreading it to my family. I have heard of incidents in the school where sports players come into contact with another teammate who had COVID-19, and the virus spread among that whole group. 

In the more recent months, I assumed that many students, especially seniors, would return to school on the hybrid schedule because vaccinations have become more accessible. When I log into class daily, I see a lot of students chose to be at home like me. I count 15-20 students logged onto Zooms (minus students in the school who join on their school-issued laptops). 

According to an article from NJ.com, “The governor reported 142 school districts, serving 107,498 kids, are now providing full in-person instruction. Another 534 districts, representing 843,394 students are operating on hybrid schedules. However, 317,044 students across 98 districts remain in all remote instruction a full year after most schools initially closed due to the coronavirus pandemic” 

Next year I hope to return to a normal school year. I want to spend as much time of my senior year with some familiar and friendly faces. As of April 19, all people 16+ are eligible for the vaccine. But I am not sure if every student could get both Pfizer shots before September. I would feel more comfortable returning to school if everyone in the building were vaccinated.

It is certainly possible that we would return to a normal school year. Governor Murphy is very eager to get students back in their classrooms.