Will CRLS Return to In-Person Learning?

Main+entrance+at+Cambridge+Rindge+and+Latin+School

Eman Abdurezak

Main entrance at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Gaby Traynor, Contributing Writer

As the second semester of school approaches, questions regarding the future of the online school format arise. Given that the COVID cases related to in-person school seem to be well contained, the plan to start going back to school has been approved and now the school district is considering what that might look like. 

Recently, CRLS announced plans for students to come back to the campus starting February 8th.”

Since October 13th, students who needed more learning support were eligible to start in-person school, and as the number of students was nowhere near the amount of all CRLS highschoolers, there didn’t seem to be much of an issue with COVID-19 transmission. However, the past holiday season experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases, bringing in numbers that weren’t even close to those recorded before the holidays. City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said, “Like many communities, Cambridge has experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases among its residents following the Thanksgiving holiday, and our daily case rate has not returned to pre-Thanksgiving level.” 

Online learning so far has been hit-or-miss for students at CRLS. While some have been able to adjust to the new way of learning, others have struggled. As online learning is, of course, not ideal, there is pressure put on the school to go back to in-person school. Evan Garvey ’23 told the Register Forum, “I would go back if it was safe and there would actually be a reason to, rather than just doing Zoom there like they’re about to do.”

Recently, CRLS announced plans for students to come back to the campus starting February 8th. After finding no large correlation with in-person school and the transmission of COVID, they decided to put a plan in action that would get school from fully remote to fully in-person. 

Families were sent a form by the CRLS administration to record the number of parents who would feel comfortable having their kids go back to school. Hesitance expressed towards these new plans stems from the recent danger of COVID and having students be so close to one another in class, since the rate in which cases are rising is faster than ever in Cambridge. Confusion and uncertainty have since risen, with some believing the timing to go back couldn’t be worse. Sonia Kim ’23 mentioned, “I’m just confused why the school wants us to go back right now when cases are at their peak; shouldn’t we be taking the most precautions now?” 

After finding no large correlation with in-person school and the transmission of COVID, they decided to put a plan in action that would get school from fully remote to fully in-person.”

 School officials and CRLS students alike are also filled with the concerns of mandating safety protocols that would ensure the safety of everyone. Diego Alonzo ’23 shared, “I definitely like the possibility of returning to school in person as long as it can be done safely, with regulations in mind.” 

On top of safety issues, the adjustment students would have to make could be challenging for a number of reasons. The schedule changes that students have accustomed to would have to completely change, which could create disorder and stress for students. Zoe Zdraveski ’23 expressed, “I know I and many other students are feeling a lot of uncertainty and confusion respecting the plan to reopen, especially since as soon as more students start going in-person, the schedule will change for everyone.” 

This sheds light on the emotional and mental shift that students would have to undergo. Without proper consideration of the emotional wellbeing of students, we might not see the same learning environment we saw before. 

In the unprecedented and unknown time we are all in, school is one of the many experiences that has had to be changed and adjusted. As we all are ready for COVID to be over and get back to “normal” life, it seems to be unrealistic and idealistic to assume that we would be able to do so without difficulties.