As CHS is not requiring vaccinations for eligible students and staff, it should offer a fully-virtual option for students

As CHS is not requiring vaccinations for eligible students and staff, it should offer a fully-virtual option for students

For the 2021-22 school year, this district will operate on a fully in-person schedule. It will also not require vaccinations or masks for students and staff, regardless of whether or not they’ve been vaccinated. 

Additionally, according to Superintendent Michael Beresford, the district will not offer a virtual option. 

“We have no plans to offer a virtual option for next year. Our percentage of students that actually took the virtual option (last year) was less than 20% of our students overall. When we did a survey about next year and almost everyone, all but a handful, said they were planning on coming back,” Beresford said. “There just weren’t that many people who said they were interested in a virtual option and it’s really expensive to do.” 

Because the only option is fully in-person, students at high risk for COVID-19 will be forced to attend in-person. Further, because neither vaccinations nor masks are mandatory, some students can choose to do neither, exposing those high-risk individuals to the virus, potentially causing them harm. Due to this, the HiLite staff recommends that the district offers a fully virtual option for students for the 2021-22 school year. 

The HiLite staff understands that unless it is required in certain places, vaccinations and masks are optional and up to the individual. However, if you were to contract COVID-19 and choose to go to school without wearing a mask or getting the vaccine, you are choosing to expose those around you to the virus. This in turn can potentially cause them harm as they could be high-risk or unable to get the vaccine due to outside factors. Since the district does not plan to track vaccinations, there is no way to know if your peers are like this. However, if there was a fully virtual option, high-risk students or those unable to get the vaccine could have peace of mind and learn safely from their homes and away from potential exposure. This would also leave the choice to vaccinate or wear masks up to the individual, allowing all parties to be satisfied. 

Further, because there might not be enough interested students for the virtual option, a potential solution would be to have the virtual students Zoom-in to classes during the school day. This way, they could do the same assignments and even participate in discussions, just virtually from home. This would once again help give students comfort and also save money, making a virtual option more realistic. 

Overall, because the district is not requiring vaccinations or masks for all students, COVID-19 could still be spread from student to student. With high-risk individuals among them, this could be potentially dangerous and unsafe. To eradicate this, the district should offer a fully virtual option, though perhaps in a different format from last year, for students. 

To see more work by the HiLite, click here.