Return to full in-school: Safety concerns for students


As a student, PMHS’ decision to return to full in-person learning comes with several safety concerns.

I personally have concerns about the safety of myself and peers in the building. The use of hallways between periods is one of these major concerns. Even in the current hybrid model, hallways are very crowded, and there is minimal social distancing.

The school tried earlier in the year to prevent overflow in the hallways with different release times for certain classrooms, but this quickly failed. The goal was to have even numbered classrooms leave one minute after the odd numbered classrooms were dismissed. After the first week of school, this was abandoned and the hallways were overflowed once more. Imagine the situation when we are fully in-person!

Along with hallways, classrooms are another worry to me. In the hybrid model, classrooms are well spaced. However, I am not sure how the school will fit 10-15 more students in a classroom under the expected guidelines. The desks would have to be packed together; learning in an environment shoulder to shoulder to a classmate can concern those who have at-risk friends and family members. 

The school’s plan does look acceptable on paper, but it does present some issues when in the actual building.

As for the benefits, students will finally be able to connect with other students from different cohorts. Students will also receive a better learning experience, and more interaction with teachers that the virtual model does not offer at times. It’s much easier to interact and learn when there isn’t a screen in between people. 

Overall, we should still be cautious. The issues that full time in-person instruction presents are challenging ones for the district, but it is possible. The district needs to reform its tactics, which it has not done yet, and provide more clarity to parents and students for their plan.