Whatever Happened To Online School?



A look at what online looked like a year ago

Last fall semester A-West had a primarily hybrid format. Students would spend half their time at home learning online and half their time in school. However just before thanksgiving break that all changed once again. A-West students were forced to study online. Covid-19 was talked about a lot more back then. More things were being done to prevent the spread of the disease and safety was a primary concern. The question that families have been left with is what is different about this year? Whatever happened to the virtual learning we left behind in such a hurry? 

Covid-19, while still prevalent, is not talked about as much as it used to be. Long behind us are the days of six foot social distancing, shorter days, and online classes. But is Covid really much different this year? According to the New York Times, the 7 day average for Covid cases on November first of 2020 in Colorado was 2128. On November 20th of the same year the 7 day average for cases was 4906. On November 1st of this year the 7 day average was 2790. As of November 14th that number had increased to 3192. 

This shows an unsettling correlation. That spike in November of last year is the increase that forced A-West students fully online for the remainder of the semester. Now without the precautions that were taken last year we are looking at a scarily similar upwards trend. On November 8th, A-West reported 13 Covid cases. The number of quarantines on that same day was 1. This lack of response is astounding. Is this setting us up for a return to virtual learning? 

Now some may argue that this year is different. That it should be treated differently because we are now living in a world with fairly easy access to vaccinations. That should count for something shouldn’t it? 

According to the CDC, “As of July 31, 2021, COVID-19 vaccination coverage among U.S. adolescents aged 12–17 years was 42.4% for ≥1 dose and 31.9% for series completion.”

Not even the majority of adolescents are vaccinated. How is that supposed to provide the needed amount of protection from the virus? It can only make up for so much lack of care in our schools. Just last week Adams County had to close because they have been so short on staff. Boulder schools had to do the same as well. Jefferson county could very easily be next. What else is to stop the numbers from continuing to rise? Is it the mask mandate that is enforced differently by every member of the staff at A-West? 

Something must be done about the rising number of cases. But what can be done? What should be done? Some may argue for a vaccine mandate in public schools but something like this is highly unlikely to be passed. There is too much controversy surrounding the nature and effects of the vaccine. Should we return to hybrid learning? Should we implement more Covid safety protocols? The answer must be yes. We must do something now. A remedy must be found and it must be put into effect quickly. If it is not, we are facing a potential return to online learning, and another question that no school district or parent wants to answer. What matters more, the child’s safety? Or their education?