Your Pending Return

Screen fatigue is real, y’all. After six weeks of a four-by-four schedule of remote classes, I have discovered genuine antipathy for looking at screens of any size. I find myself wishing for an old-fashioned landline. I don’t especially care to stream movies I’ve put on the watchlist. I’d as soon go grabbling for alligators as turn on my laptop once I get home.

I’d like to tell you that your physical return to MSMS will result in significantly less screen time. However, social distancing guidelines mean that very few classes will be able to meet with all participants in the same room–only a couple of spaces in Hooper and Shack can accommodate even eleven students at the same time. As a result, we will have to deal with “hybrid” models in which some students are physically present and others Zoom–which in effect means that even those in the room will be watching Zoom to monitor the questions and chats of their colleagues in other places. Social distancing will also mean courses that rely on groupwork–labs, performance classes, robotics classes, etc–will not quite be normal.

This begs a series of questions: because health needs continue to require social distancing, would students be better off at home, both educationally and socially, until the third or fourth quarter? If students do return to campus in October. what should the tipping point be for a resumption of distance learning? Do we send everyone home after ten students test positive? Twenty?

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7 Responses to Your Pending Return

  1. Elena Eaton says:

    I believe that students would be better off returning to campus as soon as possible. The role that a school environment plays on student motivation and mental health is monumental and essential. Without the traditional learning environment, many of my peers have expressed difficulty finding the resolve to complete their assignments. Additionally, the lengthy days on zoom and time-consuming out-of-class assignments leave little rom for a social life. As a friend of mine so adeptly phrased “you can have good grades, sleep, or a social life, but one has got to go”. On campus, it seems that a social element is woven into the fabric of the school day; thus, if we were to return once safe, I do think that this would be most beneficial to bettering the social wellness of students without sacrificing sleep or academic performance. For the social and mental well-being of students, I think that the decision to return to campus as soon as possible is the decision to be made. Regarding procedure after a student has been confirmed positive for COVID-19, I think that setting up a quarantine area at MSMS is best. This way, students will not put their family members or home community members at further risk.

  2. Taylor Wypyski says:

    Schooling fish:
    I believe that we should treat the campus almost like a fish tank. Before introducing new livestock into a tank, whether that be plants, fish, snail, whatever, you should first quarantine them separately in individual tanks. In the case of COVID and human beings, this should be a quarantine period of about 2 weeks in the dorms. After the initial period of self-isolation, everyone and everything can act as though things are normal. For us as students on campus, we should continue to social distance, just as a practiced habit and precaution, but a closed ecosystem to put it should not have anything introduced that wasn’t brought there from an outside source. So if everyone quarantines, has no outside contact with people other than students and res life staff, then no one should get sick. In theory, we could create our own little bubble and go about normally. By sadly that is just a theory. There will always be at least one person to mess it up for the rest of us. Or the odd chance of having late symptoms, or being a carrier.
    If someone does have it then they will sadly have to sent home. We live in some very weird times and my opinion will not change that of admins. I do not know what the determined number of cases will be before they send us home. I just hope that we have none or very few so that if we ever do come to campus we may stay and finally get a little smidge of normalcy.

  3. Dylan Griffith says:

    If we look at this situation strictly from that of a healthcare professional, the answer would be that students should not return to campus until a vaccine has been made widely available and everyone has been administered said vaccine. However, from the perspective of a student, most would say that they wish to return to campus as soon as possible while still maintaining social distancing guidelines. The middle ground between these two options is tricky to find. At what point does the need for education supersede the need for health? Many have proposed the option of creating a “bubble” at MSMS, but this is simply not feasible. To effectively establish a “bubble,” the entire MSMS faculty and students would need to quarantine for two weeks, come on campus, and stay on campus for the entire school year unless they wish to repeat the quarantine process every time they leave campus or come into contact with anyone outside the “bubble”. Simply put, there is no black and white solution to the Covid-19 problem as all solutions involve trade offs between freedom and safety.

  4. Danielle Ryans says:

    Personally, I believe that students would be better at home until the third or fourth quarter. Since not many classes will be able to have all the students at one time, those not in the class would have to be in the dorm room. The teacher would be paying more attention to those physically within the room with him/her. This would work for me, but not many others. If all the students were all on zoom, the teacher could focus on all of them. Many students are not better off at home if you look at it socially. A lot of the students have not left the house in months or seen any of their friends. If they were on campus, they would be able to socialize while practicing social distancing. I think that students should continue virtual learning if they come to campus in October. There is no point in holding small classes with less than ten kids while the other kids are on zoom and trying to switch them out. It should be all in-person classes or all virtual. We know that doing in-person classes are impossible to do while trying to adhere to the guidelines set by the CDC. When someone tests positive, the school will need to shut down. All the students will need to be quarantined on campus until someone figures out a solution.

  5. Zaria Cooper says:

    If students can follow social distancing rules and guidelines, then waiting until the third or fourth quarter shouldn’t be necessary. I believe that being back on campus would help a significant amount of students socially and academically. However, it would be up to students to do what’s right, and hopefully, COVID-19 shouldn’t be an issue. Since juniors should be returning this October, I’d say a tipping point for the resumption of distance learning should be when students aren’t following the rules. I feel it would be hard socially in plenty of ways, but if everyone at school is at a high risk of getting Corona, we shouldn’t be there. Besides, if ten students test positive for COVID-19, I don’t think everyone should be sent home, but if 20 students test positive, I would want everyone to go back to their homes. Yes, it may be only such a small number, but you have to think of people’s families, teachers, and everyone’s safety.

  6. Audrey Robinson says:

    Going back on campus this quarter will be beneficial for the entire student body, but students must take this seriously to do so. All social distancing guidelines have to be followed exactly, and each student must undergo mandatory self-isolation for two weeks. In doing this, the MSMS campus will become a ‘bubble’ for students to live in safely, much as Dylan described. The reason I push for an on-campus return, even if it is a bit different, maybe purely selfish, but I find many students agreeing with me. I absolutely hate online learning and firmly believe it has a negative effect on my performance. I, much like many people in my family, struggle with ADHD. I have always been a good student despite this, but that doesn’t stop it from taking its toll, especially online. Attending in-person classes and being surrounded by students doing the same work as me is beyond beneficial for me, personally. In this environment, I am surrounded by people all doing the same things I should be doing and pushing me to get my work done. Unfortunately, being at home has given me ample room to zone out during class, get distracted by other tasks during my study hours, and not having anyone who truly knows what all I need to do, such as teacher and students, hold me accountable. There is only so much fidget toys, candle repetition, and flavor recall can do for a student in an overwhelmingly distracting environment. For this reason, I, and many other students who struggle with these issues, find it very important to get on campus in order to build better habits and move forward in learning.

  7. Joanna Dickerson says:

    As someone who has been attending in-person classes for three weeks, I believe we should’ve waited until the fourth quarter to return. Being on campus has been fun, however, it is starting to suffocate me. I miss the freedom of going to Sonic at 2 am or even just seeing my family all the time. I would be okay if we could return home on weekends, but I know that the virus is a serious factor that prevents that. Most of my friends are staying, but I cannot because my roommate is coming. This pushes me out of all the social interactions I was getting in the first place.

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