Green Hope Reacts: WCPSS Votes to Move Back Into In Person by 2/15

Many+students+opted+to+stay+on+Virtual+Academy+full+year%2C+but+those+on+the+hybrid+plan+will+be+returning+as+of+2%2F15

Uma Bhat

Many students opted to stay on Virtual Academy full year, but those on the hybrid plan will be returning as of 2/15

Uma Bhat, Editor in Chief

WCPSS officials recently voted to return students to in person instruction beginning February 15th, 2021. The vote comes as a surprise to several students, both on the hybrid and virtual academy systems, who didn’t expect to return to campus until much later in the year, and is being questioned for its lack of regard for the safety and wellbeing of community members. 

According to the statement released by WCPSS on February 2nd, the decision to return in mid-February “was first discussed in January when community spread of COVID-19 forced the district to extend remote learning for all students”. Since then, WCPSS officials cite that “conditions have improved” enough to begin returning as planned. 

CDC.gov

Though the number of Covid cases in North Carolina have dropped significantly since mid-January, which reached a peak new case count load at 9,491 cases, case counts for February – at 3,403 new cases on February 1st –  several students are surprised that WCPSS has set a firm return date. In an article written by The Falcon’s Lucas Moore, “only around 28% of students surveyed” believed that in-person school would return before the end of the year, citing WCPSS’ continual pushing back the switch to hybrid schedule. In a recent poll conducted by The Falcon, 80% of a Western Wake student sample say that they did not expect the switch to come so soon – perhaps even at all. 

Furthermore, though WCPSS has claimed that they maintain a commitment to keep schools open in a “safe and responsible manner” and follow state recommended safety guidelines, many of those surveyed are questioning the rationale behind such a decision. 89% of the same student sample answered that they did not feel safe returning to campus so soon. Vaccines for Covid have not yet been rolled out to the teenage population; 100% of the sample said that they had not yet received a vaccine.

“I would rather stay at home and be safe than go back to school and risk my family,” Katie Turner ’21 said. 

The concept of a senior experience has been perpetuated by romantic, misguided narratives. The senior experience is inherently abstract and takes many forms, but its main existence lies in our experiences, regardless of the circumstances they fall under. Thus, this is our senior experience, and we ought to embrace it, make the most of it, and not be misled into believing that an in-person education will magically grant us the mythical experiences of being a senior.”

— Austin Yao ’21

Some seniors claimed that the return to campus would offer an unexpected, but not unwelcome senior experience. Anna Bowersox ‘21 stated that “maybe” the shift would offer some sort of senior experience, “but I doubt they’ll let us do most of the normal events, at least not together”. Akash Ram ‘21 replied, “yes, definitely [it would offer a senior experience].” 

Austin Yao ‘21 argued otherwise. “The concept of a senior experience has been perpetuated by romantic, misguided narratives. The senior experience is inherently abstract and takes many forms, but its main existence lies in our experiences, regardless of the circumstances they fall under. Thus, this is our senior experience, and we ought to embrace it, make the most of it, and not be misled into believing that an in-person education will magically grant us the mythical experiences of being a senior.” 

“It won’t be the same,” senior Kyra Dalbo concluded. “I think it’ll just be more stressful and uncomfortable.”