Students voice concerns at board meeting about returning to school

At+the+Sept.+2+MCHS+Board+of+Education+meeting%2C+several+people%2C+including+students%2C+addressed+the+board+about+whether+they+thought+students+should+be+back+in+the+building.+

At the Sept. 2 MCHS Board of Education meeting, several people, including students, addressed the board about whether they thought students should be back in the building.

Claire Evelyne Edwards, Editor-in-Chief

Whether MCHS would return to in-person learning was the topic of a special Board of Education meeting on Sept. 2. Some students voiced their opinions during the public comments part of the meeting. 

Senior Jacob Pursell was one of the students who vocalized his concerns. 

“It has been proven by all colleges at this point that at a school environment, the virus spreads very quickly, no matter the regulations that are in place,” Pursell said. 

Pursell also mentioned one of the staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 along with stating that he thought it would be nearly impossible to prevent the virus from reaching our school. 

Another student also expressed her concerns about returning to school for in-person learning and the fear of spreading the virus.

Junior Evelyn Maruszak spoke about a poll that she advertised for MCHS students to get a general idea of how they felt about remote learning opposed to beginning hybrid. 

Maruszak said 232 students participated in her survey and the results came out to 89 percent of students wanting to remain learning remotely while 11 percent opposed. The students who voted “yes” didn’t mind remote learning if it meant sports/activities wouldn’t be cancelled, since it’s their only sense of normalcy.

I for one would feel incredibly guilty and horrible to know that I tested positive, and was the reason that my activity, and possibly other activities I have been in contact with, were shut down,” Maruszak told the board. “I would hate to be the spark that caused a chain reaction.”

The students were not the only ones who felt this way towards the possibility of returning back to school.

During public comments, parents and teachers also expressed their concerns considering the possibility of in-person learning. 

Mr. Dave Barney, MCHS PE, Health, and Driver Education teacher, was the first to speak out during the public comments. Barney began describing a conversation he had with his two of his Driver’s Ed students. 

“This week, I got in the car with my drivers and I asked them ‘How was your weekend?’” Barney said. “One said, ‘Awesome, I got to participate in cross country.’ I ask the other, she said, ‘Awesome, I went into a party this weekend.’”

Barney was concerned by that comment and decided to verify the circumstances by asking one question. 

“[With] Masks and social distancing, right?” Barney questioned. 

The student replied that it had started that way.

“This is what we’re up against right now.” Barney said. “This is what scares so many people about returning to school for a program that is not going to be school as we have known in the past,” Barney said.

Some parents wrote into the board to say they were happy with how remote learning was going. Other parents wrote to say they wanted the option to have students in the building as soon as possible. 

Later in the meeting after presentations by the administration and much discussion, the MCHS Board of Education voted 5-2 to continue remote learning and update the public on the Return to Learn Plan at the next scheduled board meeting on Sept. 23.

A livestream was recorded on YouTube for viewers to watch and listen in if they couldn’t physically be present during the meeting. You can view the recording here