Hybrid Learning is a Disaster Waiting to Happen


Ariella Bucio

Although doing online school alone all day can have negative effects on mental health, it is important to keep in mind that as Covid-19 rates continue to rise, so does the danger of going back to school. Because of this, the safest choice is to continue learning from home.

More than a month ago, LHS parents voted overwhelmingly in favor of sending their students in for hybrid learning in a survey sent out by the district. With over 70% of families opting for in-person hybrid learning, students who chose that option are scheduled to return to school for the second semester.

As someone who has struggled emotionally with stay-at-home orders and remote learning, nothing would please me more than to be back at school with my friends and classmates. However, with records being set every day for new positive tests, it is extremely dangerous for us to switch to in-person learning now.

Through the month of November, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois averaged a staggering 10,910 new cases per day, up from October’s average of 3,777. Illinois also saw 2,678 deaths from COVID-19 in November. While the majority of these cases and deaths come from the densely-populated Cook County, there are still scary statistics in our home Lake County.

Lake County currently ranks third in COVID-19 cases and deaths out of the 102 counties in Illinois, with 23,901 cases and 603 deaths in the last nine months. However, these numbers are increasing drastically. Just how drastically? On Oct. 30, Lake County registered a then-new daily case record of 237 new cases. On Nov. 12, the IDPH counted 850 new cases in one day, almost quadrupling the mark from a week and a half prior.

If we’re seeing these spikes in positive tests while still in remote learning, we’re going to see an uptick in cases that our county has never seen before while in hybrid learning.

The reopening of schools depends entirely on the local transmission rate of the novel coronavirus. In Illinois, with the eighth-highest cases per 100,000 people nationally, according to The New York Times, it is highly unlikely that a reopening of our school will go smoothly. Other suburban Chicago schools have already experienced failed reopenings, like the Naperville district, which returned to remote learning within a week of opening, and have no plans to reopen in 2020. Libertyville could be the next school to have attempted reopening and failed.

While sending a bunch of kids to school to possibly get infected with COVID-19 might not seem like a bad thing because of the very low fatality rate for teenagers, there is a high probability that students will act as carriers for the virus and pass it onto their relatives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes grandparents and people with weakened immune systems, who may have a higher risk of fatal COVID-19 symptoms.

When reviewing the potential benefits and consequences, is it really worth going back to school for a few days just to return to remote learning right after, all whilst putting kids and their families in danger? If the District 128 school board truly values the health and safety of their teachers and students, they will keep everyone home instead of potentially endangering the whole community. Lives don’t need to be lost because of an ill-thought-out plan. Make the right decision.