Editorial: DTSD Should Not Return To In-Person Classes

Benji Keeler

There are 834,048 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania as of Friday, January 29. There is currently an active outbreak of COVID-19 in Dauphin County. Cases are on the rise. DTSD decided to reopen schools for students to return to their hybrid learning schedule on Tuesday, January 19. Some are even discussing a return by all students to the classroom.  This is a huge mistake that puts the student body, the staff, and their families at risk. 

A new strain of COVID-19 was found in Dauphin County last week, according to ABC27 news. This new strain, which was discovered in England in December, is even more contagious than what we’ve experienced to this point. Researchers are estimating, according to NPR, that this new strain could be 50% more transmissible than the original wave of COVID.

With the current outbreak that Pennsylvania is experiencing, sending kids back to the school buildings is dangerous. While wearing masks and keeping distance definitely helps, there are still no guarantees when it comes to the virus, and it would be reckless to possibly expose the staff and students.

Reopening the school buildings for in-person classes not only puts the students and teachers at risk, but also their families. A student could catch the virus at school and bring it home. Many students and staff members live with older relatives or family members who have preexisting conditions. These conditions leave them more susceptible to more severe illness if they contract the virus.

The best way to prevent this risk is to minimize the amount of contact that students and staff have, which is the direct opposite of what reopening the schools would do. By flooding the halls with people, the District is showing no concern for their employees, students, or their families.

The bottom line is that DTSD should remain closed until COVID-19 has been reduced in numbers. The vaccine is on its way. Phase Two, which included K-12 teachers, is set to start in February, while the general public is scheduled to start receiving it during Phase Three that starts in April.

The return to the classrooms is rushed and will only result in another quick shutdown. Contact the superintendent, Joe McFarland, and voice your concerns about an overly hasty reopening.