BPS should follow collegiate example and move to post-Thanksgiving remote learning

Owen Reimer, Entertainment Editor

College campuses across the country have released plans to shut down their campuses after Thanksgiving or finish the semester online, or end as it is. Bellevue Public Schools should also consider this as an option.

Universities are shutting down their campuses due to the high risk of a COVID-19 outbreak among students and staff.  There are different strategies–some are pushing the rest of the work for the semester onto the students  more quickly and moving finals up to November. They then plan on ending the semester as is and wait out the rest of the fall semester.

Other colleges are planning on closing their campus and going to remote learning. Bellevue West, and most other schools, could stand to benefit from taking this approach.

The first major factor is that cases are climbing. Since the beginning of this school year, according to emails sent out by principal Kevin Rohlfs, Bellevue West has had 34 confirmed positive cases of students with COVID-19, as of Thursday, Oct. 29. Twenty-seven cases have been reported in twenty days.

It’s up to students to stay up to date on all of their classes, which can prove to be incredibly inconvenient and overwhelming for both students and teachers.”

— Owen Reimer

As of Thursday, Oct. 29, Bellevue Public Schools lists 129 students in quarantine across the district, according to its official website. When a student is quarantined by the school, their teachers are contacted telling them how long they will be at home. Students are then expected to keep track of every class’s assignments, notes, and tests. It’s up to students to stay up to date on all of their classes, which can prove to be incredibly inconvenient and overwhelming for both students and teachers.

If we completed the semester online it would stop students from having to deal with the stress of missing two weeks of tests, assignments, and new material. Also, even though many teachers post work on Schoology, it’s still a lot of extra work to keep track of normal classes and then having to send things to quarantining students.  

Not only that but if a student felt uncomfortable or unsafe at school, at this point in the year, they are unable to transfer to online courses, according to counselor Molly Moore. Unless they or a close family member have a documented medical need, no one else is able to take at-home classes to avoid being on campus. 

With all the recent confirmed cases, it makes sense why some students might not feel safe in the building, surrounded by a thousand other students. The inability to work from home is a pretty big factor, and so having the semester end early could help students and their families not have to worry about getting infected from school.

Moving to online classes in November would ensure that the district wouldn’t put any more students and teachers at risk, especially if the reports of a potential spike become accurate. 

Student safety should be the number one priority, all the time.