At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, school administrations were forced to grapple with the difficult choice between online or in-person schooling. Both have their pros and cons, but which is the best option?
Obviously, in-person schooling during a nationwide pandemic presents a huge risk. Placing a large amount of students and teachers in a concentrated area would greatly increase the risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19. Even though people under the age of twenty have been shown to have a greater resistance to the virus, this does not completely eliminate the risk. Furthermore, students with CCOVID-19, even if they are asymptomatic, could easily transmit the virus to their higher-risk teachers and family members. In Georgia and Florida, public schools were ordered to fully re-open, despite the states climbing COVID cases. Within weeks, many schools were forced to shut down due to an influx in cases. However, with proper precautions (face masks, disinfection, etc.) some schools have been able to open without consequences.
While online schooling may seem like the obvious choice during a nationwide pandemic, it also presents health issues. Children and adults alike do not benefit in any way from staring at a screen for most of the day. Furthermore, many professionals have stated that online schooling could be detrimental to both the development of social skills in younger children and the mental health of adolescents. Interacting with friends and classmates in school is essential to the proper development of social skills in younger students, as well as the happiness of older students.
Finally, there is a choice that has the pros of both approaches, while trying to limit the cons. Severn School, among others, has chosen to go hybrid for the 2020-2021 school year. Going hybrid allows for students to see their friends and teachers in person on some days, while reducing the chances for the transmission of COVID-19.
Some schools, Severn included, have begun using the LiveSafe app in order to record the symptoms of students entering the buildings. LiveSafe, which was created in 2012, was originally used by colleges and universities in order to convey messages about threats on campus. During the COVID-19 pandemic, LiveSafe has become more relevant than ever before. It is now possible to take a short survey within the app that effectively scans the user for risk of COVID-19. This has become an important tool for many schools, including Severn.