When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck down on the Chicago Public School system in March, many believed that faculty, teachers, and students will return to school buildings within a two-week period. Unfortunately, because of the city’s rapid increase in case numbers, that seemed to get less and less likely until it was announced that students would not be returning to school for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. During the summer many had hoped that there would be a resolution and that they might be able to return to school buildings in the fall, just in time for the 2020-2021 school year. In August, CPS faced the pressure of the general public, faculty, concerned parents, and students; they ultimately decided that for the first quarter of the school year, all students will be participating in remote learning. As many students geared up to start school in unusual ways, many have stated that they miss their school communities.
The Beacon asked several students if “whether or not you miss Whitney Young, and what certain aspects do they miss?” Aiyana Leigh ‘22 said “I do miss going to school, especially seeing and interacting with my friends. Even seeing people in general, it’s a lot easier to edit essays when I can talk through it with someone! That being said, it’s really important that we don’t rush back in” Similarly, fashionista Kate Burns ‘22 stated “I miss school very much and I hope that we can all go back as soon as it is safe. With that being said, I miss hanging out with my friends after school, and I definitely miss being able to show off all my outfits. Can’t wait to be back!” Many students seem to agree that social interaction is one of the most important things that they miss, as reported by the New York Times. Aiyana and Kate’s concerns about returning students into the building are understandable, as Chicago is seeing an increase in cases again.
Although Aiyana and Kate do miss school a lot, there are others who do not. Furong Yang ‘22, said “I understand why everyone would miss school, I do too, I miss my friends and other aspects. But I think that for myself, I prefer to have remote learning over in-person learning”. She then continued “I think that remote learning is efficient and productive for me, I think I am unprepared to have another schedule change and to wake up so early to get on my bus. For now, remote learning is pretty okay, and being in the building can wait.” Furong’s thoughts may be relatable to some, as Whitney Young’s students have had to face several schedule changes since the school year started and there are concerns about taking public transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic. For now, students should focus on their academics and be involved in their classes, only time, the CPS board, Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker will determine when students will be back in the school building.