Reopening schools should include strict health precautions


Clover Hill student walks into school building with a mask on, as many will in a few weeks.

Krisanny Salazar, Editor

Chesterfield County Public Schools has introduced a hybrid face-to-face model for students that choose to go back to school beginning with Cohort #4 on Nov. 9. Some students, parents and faculty deem this a controversial decision. One side of the argument believes that the reopening of schools is necessary in order for students to gain a proper education. Others believe that the school board should prioritize faculty and student health, rather than rushing the reopening process.  

The hybrid plan gives students and their families the choice of whether to stay in online school or go “hybrid”. If they choose to do hybrid, they will spend two days out of the week in school, depending on their last name, and three days asynchronous at home. They will slowly start introducing students by cohorts. Cohort #1 began Sep. 29 and includes select special education students. Cohort #2 includes PreK to second grade. Cohort #3 includes third to fifth grade students, and Cohort #4 includes all secondary students, grades six through 12. 

Although counties across the country have cases low enough to be able to support the reopening of their schools, Chesterfield County’s cases have slowly been rising and providing greater potential risks to all. According to WRIC, as of Oct. 19, Chesterfield County Public Schools has reported 32 cases of COVID-19 since teachers, staff and select students have returned. Some parents feel as though this is a forewarning as to what will happen if schools return to in person instruction so soon.  

In order to prevent an outbreak, several safety precautions will be installed, including a mandatory mask policy in which masks will be a required part of the dress code. This is the absolute baseline for returning to the school building. Teachers should also be provided with the necessary sanitation products in order to properly keep their classrooms clean. According to Kristel Clayville of “The Atlantic”, teachers could be at a financial disadvantage if they are expected to pay for their classroom’s sanitary sprays and wipes out of pocket.

On the other hand, the Center for Disease Control argues that reopening schools is vital for the mental and emotional health of the students. School provides a breeding ground for the necessary development of the social and emotional skills of students. They also argue that reopening schools provide the most benefits for disadvantaged children by “creating a safe environment for learning, identifying and addressing neglect and abuse, fulfilling nutritional needs, and facilitating physical activity,” according to Some will argue and say that those children are also likely to suffer the most if there were ever an outbreak within the school. If they were to contract COVID-19 then they would have a disadvantaged access to the proper healthcare in order to fight off the virus. 

The Wall Street Journal has reported that schools in multiple states have already closed and gone into quarantine soon after reopening due to outbreaks of COVID-19. By returning to in-person instruction so soon, Chesterfield County Public Schools is ignoring the warning signs set by schools who have already tried and failed to reopen safely; thus, endangering the health of over 60,000 students and employees.