The New Learning Model: What Students Think

Kevin Callahan, Staff Writer

Monday, March 15 marked the reopening of Minnetonka High School with in-person classes four days a week. The decision has brought up an excellent debate: is this really a good idea?

COVID-19 is still very much an issue with current cases as high as 101,000 in Hennepin County alone. Because COVID has been politicized, there tends to be a certain heat and passion associated with one’s views. Many people simply want normalcy back (or at least something close to normal). Others want to put safety before all else. The opinions and views about the reopening of Minnetonka High School are interesting to hear, as many people bring up unique points and have vastly different backgrounds. It is important to note that this article focused on the views of students rather than statistics.

Haley Rosen ‘21, who is against the reopening, said that it doesn’t seem “realistic.” She expressed concerns about how not all staff are vaccinated. She said she wishes she could attend classes in person, but she also is weary and ultimately critical of the choice due to safety and health concerns. As a senior, Rosen said she wished students could attend school in person during her final year in highschool. However, she also said that she wouldn’t want to put anyone at risk.

Grace Gibney, ‘22, brought up that case numbers “aren’t great.” This is critical considering there will no longer be “cohorts” or classes split up into groups. Gibney also said that hybrid classes worked really well for her. This seems to be a common thread with students, as hybrid offers classes half of the time in school and the other half remotely.

Furthermore, another senior student said that the decision to go fully in person seemed “rushed.” She brought up an interesting perspective on the situation as the decision to go fully in person was announced mere weeks ago.

This student isn’t alone in having this opinion, as both Gibney and Rosen agreed. This begs the question: should the school board have taken more time to decide how to execute their plans and guidelines in a way that made everyone comfortable and confident moving forward?

So what are the school’s new guidelines? How can they ensure safety with maximum capacity? The social distancing requirement has been reduced to three feet to better accommodate larger class sizes, people in the cafeterias and other lunch areas. Students and their families are encouraged to take COVID tests every two weeks to better control the spread of the virus. The district’s reduction of the social distancing requirement is controversial, as the CDC recommends at least six feet, or two arm’s lengths, between people.

Nonetheless, people will have their own opinions about the reopening, and those conversations should take place. It is always a good thing to think critically and to make decisions based on one’s own comfort zone, as a full online option is still available to those students who are not ready to attend classes in person. While the students interviewed were critical of the re-opening, there are many others who are pro re-opening. Many seniors want to spend their last year in highschool as close to normal as possible. However, safety and health are things to be taken seriously. Many believe following state guidelines is crucial for cases to lower and to reintroduce normalcy within the next year.