How will reopening schools affect Covid cases?

Bella Cutean, Asst. Group Leader

Thursday, March 12, 2020 was the last day that Milford High School students attended school with a sense of normalcy before the global pandemic laid its clammy hands on everyone’s lives and changed them in one way or another. Six months later, if there was a list of things that have changed it would be a mile long. No matter how adaptable or good at dealing with change someone is, this year has had the potential to throw even the best of people for a loop. There are also many realities about a pandemic that cannot be forgotten. Pandemics don’t just disappear when people get tired of dealing with them, and this school year will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen, but it is essential to remember that there are still positives to be thankful for amidst the remnants that 2020 has left. 

 How will a new school year with many schools all over Michigan reopening affect the Covid cases that have been a looming threat since March? Will we return to all virtual learning? Will flu season have a grave impact on this otherwise very serious situation that is occurring currently? Nobody has all the answers, but there are several science teachers at Milford High School who have knowledge about the possibilities to many of the questions that people are no doubt wondering about. Mrs. Crow, Ms. Hittle, and Ms. Gleason are 3 teachers who work in the science department at Milford. 

 Now the most basic question that has been floating around since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic is what is the easiest way to stop the spread of this unpredictable virus? All of these teachers had a similar response to this and said the same things that the CDC has been saying as well. Wear your mask, wash your hands, leave appropriate space between yourself and others whenever possible, and be intelligent about the choices you make concerning your health. With schools reopening, the main concern that has been on the table is when will there be some sort of vaccine? “I hope soon. I am glad the major vaccine makers have pledged not to release a vaccine until it has been vetted. The companies that have signed the pledge include AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck”, said physics teacher Michelle Gleason. A main issue for many is the fear that the vaccine may not be safe, but knowing that these large companies who have many scientists working for them, and have a history of creating successful vaccines will hopefully help relieve some of this anxiety. 

The new hybrid model that Milford High School has implemented has become the new normal for many, and along with this comes some concerns as expected. “I have been a little anxious about providing worthwhile learning activities that students feel confident in doing from home, but we got good practice in the spring so I believe the Milford staff can do it well,” said chemistry teacher Jennifer Hittle. The hybrid model  requires students to adjust to a new normal, but it also requires that teachers come up with a modified way to teach their students. “I have had to really rethink the way I teach. Science is a very collaborative subject. How do you stay 6 ft from your lab partners? I’m going to have a hard time reminding myself to social distance this year. I love class activities, but all class items including laboratory equipment must be sanitized before it is used by another classmate. That’s going to be a challenge,” said Gleason. At such an uncertain time like this, many look towards the future and hope for better days. Although nobody knows for certain it does not stop anyone from wondering what December of this year will look like. “I think we will probably be in the same spot come December. Pandemics just don’t disappear so I think we will still be taking precautions come December,” said AP Environmental Science teacher Stephanie Crow. 

This school year will no doubt look different, but there is still some form of in-person learning. Teachers have undoubtedly been working extremely hard to adjust to all the new requirements that are making this form of learning possible. All of this hard work is so we can learn in the best way possible despite the situation.. “I do think that it will help everyone to come back to school and regain some normalcy,” said Crow. “ I miss seeing people and interacting with them. What I have missed the most is just seeing my students and colleagues each day. I love telling and hearing stories, I love talking sports to the students, and I just love the enthusiasm kids bring each day.”In-person school, even if it is just two days a week also gives teachers the ability to see the kind of personalities their students have, and makes reaching out to offer further assistance much easier. “I’ve missed seeing my students. It’s a lot harder to see students- really see them- teaching virtually. This is especially true for quiet students and students who are conflicted about school,” said Gleason. There are also so many teachers at Milford High School who truly value their job simply because they get to teach and help students with whatever they may need. “I am excited to meet new students and learn about them as people and learners. I am excited to hear a buzz around the building again!” said Hittle.     

Despite the 2020-2021 school year being unlike anything that has ever happened at Milford High School, there are still many things to be hopeful for. As for a sense of normalcy returning, that will likely not be any time soon.There is no right or wrong way to feel at this time. Everyone is going through this odd experience at the exact same time, and there is no way around the fact that it is hard.The best way to try to get through this year is by being kind to others, appreciating the little things, remaining grateful for the positives, and collectively working to overcome the negatives.