Students Worry about Local School Closures

John Ryu, Staff Writer

Covid cases in Washington have started to increase over the last two months. Over a year of quarantine and an increasing number of vaccinators, new COVID-19 variants are being discovered which makes it hard for schools and students. Therefore, some schools in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, Olympia, and more decided to go back to online school temporarily. Local school closures could affect students’ mental health and give even more stress. Senior Emily Choi says, “I am concerned. I do not want to spend my senior school year in Zoom class.” However, some students prefer online school over in-person learning. Freshman Taylor Woo says he prefers remote learning because “he could cheat, and could use time more efficiently.” Junior Harry Liu says he prefers remote because he could focus better and “does not feel safe in school because of COVID-19 cases and shooting threats” 

Many teachers in Issaquah High School, especially foreign language teachers are struggling from overwhelming stress because many students last year barely learned anything, and the class is not caught up to where it should be. There seem to be a lot of conflicts between students, parents, and teachers. Over 80% of students seem to have trouble paying attention in Zoom class mostly because, they have easy access to distractions, access to test answers on the internet, and teachers are more generous about grading. Liu says, “Teaching pace is usually slower in remote learning because of that we skipped a lot of units in math and history class.” He also says that “I do not think it is fair to few students who seriously participate and learn while there are people playing games and get the same grade as them.” 

There are also students who are struggling this school year because they are having problems learning in person and focusing. Of course, not everyone is struggling, There are students who are doing better in person. Junior Arnav Singh says his grades are better in person because “you are forced to learn” and “it easy to ask questions and pay attention.” 

Around 27 percent of students would like to remain in person. Sophomore Anna Kim says she prefers in person because it was ”hard to get any work done in class because peers do not participate in a breakout room,” it is “very awkward” and “we have more human interactions in school than Zoom class” She also says, “Downside of remote school is that you do not get more opportunity to be physically active. I sometimes see people on TikTok comparing their body before and after quarantine and motivate people to go on a diet with them.” She continues, “Also from my own experience many people I know gained a lot of weight since quarantine started and some of them are struggling with depression.” Singh says, “Because quarantine encourages you to stay home it makes people find things to be lazy like watching Netflix all day or playing video games all day.”

Freshman Jonathan Yu says, “I was preparing for national competitions in California, but then it got canceled because of COVID-19. All the fitness equipment got overpriced because of inflation. In my opinion, everything including school should be open to help people go back to normal life and to recover united state’s economy as well.”

One of the biggest concerns by students was the number of COVID-19 cases in Issaquah High School. Issaquah High School currently has one of the largest number of COVID cases in the Issaquah School District. Over the last seven days, nine people were infected, there were 161 cases this school year, and there are nearly 600 people who are in close contact. So, about 31% of people are having or had COVID-19 or had close contact with people, which stresses a lot of students. 

The one possibly big issue of in-person learning would be making up and catching up. Woo says he came to school during finals week when he was infected because of the amount of school work and stressful finals. They also think that the school not doing well on COVID-19 policies: “No social distancing during lunch, staff does not care if there are more than four people sitting on the table, crowded bus, and being able to take the mask off during PE class.” Sophomore Anna Kim says she had a hard time in AP Biology class because her teacher was absent during finals week due to COVID. 

Singh notes that “as an individual, I prefer online learning. However, as a big community or group, I think school and other restaurants, and stores should be kept open if you are looking at the future.” Yu says we should not close school again because we are already behind in many classes. There are pros and cons to both remote and in-person learning. Issaquah High School should keep remaining in-person for students’ sake.