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Word on the Street: Would You Return to School?

Berkeley High School students share their opinions and reasoning on returning to in-person school if the school board deemed it safe.


If the school board determines that school is safe to attend, would you go?

June McNally, a freshman in Universal 9th Grade Hive 6, said, “I know nothing about science, but I would trust the people who know the most. I know that being 6 feet [apart] with masks on or having plastic things around desks could work. But at that point, is it even worth it?” She added, “In Online Learning, we care less about learning and more about stuff getting in on time. When I’m doing online school, I mostly just focus on the due date, but not ‘I want to learn more about this.’ ”

Daniel Dugatkin, a junior in Berkeley International High School (BIHS), is confident that the school board knows what it is doing, and would return to school if they deemed it safe. He said, “The School Board is going to get its information most likely from [the] CDC or the city — who knows what [they’re] doing — and they have the interest of the people and the health of the people in mind.” 

Devon Young, a freshman in Hive 2, thinks that students definitely should not go back to in-person school this year. “It’s only safe if there are under 100 cases in the Bay Area — or an incredibly small number of cases — and if a majority of the population had a vaccine. Only when the virus is pretty much over.” She added, “If they sent us back right now, it would be like ‘Let’s send them back and see what happens.’ They wouldn’t know for sure if it was safe.” 

Adriana Lucero-Dors, a senior in Academic Choice (AC), thinks that even if the school board determined that school was safe to attend, she wouldn’t go. “At least for me, I regularly check the news about the coronavirus status in California and the rest of the country, and it really seems like California is not doing well. I feel like even [if] the school board announces a well-thought-out plan, I don’t think they can implement it or that it can be completely followed by everyone until we have the pandemic completely under control, not just in Alameda County, but in California as a whole.” 

Nathaniel Boyd, a freshman in Hive 7, said, “I would absolutely go to school in person. One of the reasons that I like school is talking to people and seeing friends, and I think it’s a lot easier to learn efficiently in person. It’s more complicated when we’re separated like this.” He added, “Once we’ve gotten a vaccine and gotten it distributed, it’s safe to go. I’ve heard rumors that some schools are opening where they are having certain amounts of people go in and social distancing, and I don’t know if that’s very efficient.”

With plans for opening the high school still up in the air, it is hard to know what the future holds.