The Return of 100% In-Person Learning


Dylan Griffiths, Co-Managing Editor

As of February 26th, Jefferson County was moved to level blue in response to the drop in test-positivity rates for Covid-19. After this news, Jeffco Public Schools announced that grades 6-12 would be returning to 100% in-person learning. JPS cited that “Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) was notified about the move by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The shift to Level Blue comes after the county’s one-week incidence and test positivity rates for COVID-19 have fallen into the designated metrics for this lower level of restrictions, and this trend has been sustained for a full week” as the reason for the change to the learning style (Jeffco Public Schools). Many students have expressed concern that the change so close to finals, SATs, ACTs, and AP Tests will affect their performance. Students believe that the energy and time spent adjusting to the new learning environment will take away from their education. Students and staff have also expressed health concerns. While all teachers will be fully vaccinated before April 5th, the start date for 100% in-person, students will not be vaccinated. Masks and mitigation techniques like social distancing have proven effective. However, with more students back in the classroom, mitigation measures can not be implemented to their fullest effect.

Sophomore Ashley Bolinger, in response to how she felt about returning to in-person, said, “while I’m excited to see friends and hopefully return to somewhat of a normal schedule, I’m also worried about the health and safety repercussions of returning.” Students, along with everyone else, want to return to what was once normal, however, they are being put in a position where they do not feel completely comfortable. Presley Nemecek said, “In this difficult time, everyone has to debate risking their physical and mental health because it’s hard to have both. As someone who is incredibly social and needs to talk to people and see people, it is incredibly hard for my mental health to stay isolated and remote. However, covid is still very much an unfortunate reality. I am going back in person because I need that social interaction because my mental health will get me faster than covid will. Plus, I am already fairly optimistic of the upcoming days. I think it will all work out okay in the end.” However, not everyone is onboard with Jeffco’s decision as expressed by sophomore, Charlie Burrowes. “I think it’s kind of an idiotic decision, to be honest. If what we’re doing right now with hybrid is working and the rates are down, they’re probably going to go back up again if we go back fully in person. On top of that, there’s almost no way to continue to socially distance safely in the close quarters in the classroom and some teachers haven’t been very good with COVID cleaning and mask stuff anyways. As much as I miss my friends… I think that it’s too soon.” While Jeffco is following health guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, many people are against the change. Covid-19 has made this past year very difficult for everyone and has forced many hard choices. The return to normalcy is approaching, but only time will tell how quickly it returns.