Students won’t and shouldn’t be returning to school in January

Eli Dyer, Editor-in-Chief

Like many Fayette County students, I recently signed up to attend school once it reopens in January. For the first time, there’s a legitimate chance that we’ll return to school. I haven’t been to school in almost 7 months and have been unable to see many of my friends. Online instruction has been difficult, not allowing me to get to know my teachers or some of the people in my classes.

Although I’m looking forward to a return, I can’t see it happening in January. Honestly, we shouldn’t. We have been in lockdown for over half a year, but we’re not out of the woods yet. In fact, we’re heading right back into those woods, maskless and surrounded by friends. There seems to have been a resurgence in Kentucky, with the number of new cases reaching over 2,000 at the very end of October. Resurgence is the wrong word because the cases never stopped climbing. The number of new cases plateaued around August and September, but they’ve only increased since. The number only reached above 1,000 twice in that period, while we’ve now hit 2,000 several times, and even 3,000 on one day.

People saw that the increase in cases was slowing and thought we were done. We’re not done, not even close. It’s going to take a long time and a lot of work to be rid of COVID-19.

Based on our current pace, I don’t think we’ll be able to go back to school for another six months to a year. Our cases are increasing even without school in session. How quickly will the coronavirus spread through cramped schools of irresponsible children? And even if every child in Fayette County adheres to the strict rules and regulations, the virus will still spread. A mask isn’t a perfect solution. Even vaccines aren’t a perfect solution, as any vaccine will take a long time to be spread to the entire country.

Considering the overcrowded schools in the district, returning to in person learning doesn’t seem to be the best idea. I have 37 students in one of my classes. I don’t understand how 37 students can socially distance in a classroom setting. The only solution I can think of is moving to the gym or the cafeteria, but that’s obviously not feasible.

Though I would like nothing more than to go back to school and see my friends and teachers, I don’t think it will happen in the near future. Barring any widely distributed vaccine, I don’t think we’re going back to school. Even if we are, I can’t see us staying there long once the cases start increasing rapidly. Especially since it looks like Kentucky is heading back into lockdown in the near future.