Teens are excited and ready to go back to school but, at the same time, are also worried about their and others’ safety. These mixed emotions call for difficult decisions about whether to return to in-person learning.
On one hand, increasing COVID-19 cases and the spread of the delta variant have made it unclear whether schools will stay in person for the entire school year. This lack of clarity makes it difficult for schools and families to plan. Teens wonder if it is worth going back to school if they live with grandparents or unvaccinated younger siblings.
On the other hand, going to school in person offers a sense of belongingness that online school does not, allowing teens to see their friends and connect with others. Also, attending online school means teens miss out on the full high school experience that includes homecoming, assemblies, football games, and so much more. There are questions regarding whether we can have these activities this year. In these uncertain times, it is challenging to plan.
Overall, school-related decisions are difficult ones to make; however, we are not alone – the rest of the world is making these decisions, along with us, from governments to companies to schools. When we look at the big picture, we may feel helpless, but we can do our part by wearing masks and getting vaccinated. This school year, keep a positive mindset, and remember these challenging times will end.
Vernika Jain is an 11th-grader, Highlands Youth Advisory Board member, and Issaquah Highlands resident.