As of November 13th, the hybrid learning model implemented by CCHS came to an end as COVID cases in Illinois continue to rise. All students will now attend virtually until at least November 27th as per Superintendent Murphy and the Jackson County School Board’s decision to follow Jackson County Health Department (JCHD) recommendations.
“We want to ensure the safety of all CCHS students,” said Principal Thomas, “It seems clear to us that returning to an all-remote curriculum is in their best interest.” The Jackson County Health Department advised that immediate actions are needed by all residents of Jackson County to limit new COVID infections.
According to the JCHD there are now over 1,000 confirmed COVID cases in Jackson County with more cases than ever before. They advised public institutions to take further action to limit the spread, leading to the Jackson County School District’s decision.
“We will continue to monitor our school-related health metrics, and guidance from the Jackson County Health Department,” Murphy said, “To determine if the district can return to Blended Learning on Monday, November 30” It appears unlikely that the Jackson County School District will return to blended by the 30th, however. Winter is projected to be the worst time for COVID cases, and it is almost guaranteed that cases in Jackson County and Illinois will increase far above current levels.
Students had mixed feelings about the return, “I was just starting to get used to having in-person classes twice a week, then boom, back to all remote” a Junior told me. “I’m obviously disappointed that I won’t get to see my teachers in-person anymore,” a senior said, “but it makes sense for the school to put our safety first.” Though students are less vulnerable to the virus, the concern lies with the students’ families, many of whom are not so lucky. “I chose to stay remote,” a student said, “not because I was concerned for my health but because I live with my grandma and she is extremely at risk from the virus.”
Parents echoed the mixed feelings of the students. “I’m not very happy with all this lockdown nonsense,” one parent said, “We need to get over the fact that people are going to die and return to normal.” Other parents weren’t so brazen in their opinions; “I think this is the right decision, we need to take this virus just as seriously, if not more seriously, as we did in March and April.
Regardless of public opinion on the return, students will no longer be coming into school. With the current state of the pandemic, students may not return to in-person until the 4th quarter of this school year or even the beginning of the 2021 school year. While promising vaccines have been developed by Moderna and Pfizer, we must still wait to see if they can be distributed and be effective on a large scale. Vaccines may star being distributed to public health workers as early as mid-December, but it is still unclear for the general public.