Why are we still at school?

The San Ramon Unified School District announced the cancellation or postponement of out of school events on Wednesday because of the growing concerns associated with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 

This brings up the question: Why are the district’s 32,000-plus students still in class?

Despite the Contra Costa Health Services’ recommendation against events with more than 50 people, the district still continues with school. Simply walking into the commons during lunch goes against that recommendation as hundreds of students sit together to eat and socialize.

Some PE classes have more than 50 students. Yes, their activities may be outdoors, but they all share the same locker room to change before and after class.

Some students have criticized the district for not caring about the health of students and failing to adapt to the situation. DVC, UC Berkeley, Stanford, San Francisco State, Cal State East Bay, and other community colleges and universities have cancelled classes or moved most teaching online.

Yet Cal High students are still encouraged to continue to come to school and attend class despite the fact that there are nearly 3,000 students on campus. In fact, juniors are still expected to continue with their CAASPP testing, which is done on the school’s chromebooks and shared by dozens of students. There is a disinfectant spray and a cloth issued with each cart to help reduce risk and curb worries associated with catching the virus.

But couldn’t the school reduce the risk significantly more by having students stay home like those at many other school districts and workers around the country?

The district, much like the government, is inconsistent with their choices in cancellations. Activities like theatre rehearsals are cancelled, but sports practices and games continue. Games can be played, but no spectators can watch them?

This inconsistent policy is frustrating. The district should either cancel everything school-related or continue with everything. 

The district needs to handle this virus logically and reasonably. Cancelling a select few events while continuing with sports and school, two activities that still have a huge potential to increase the spread of the virus, will not efficiently solve the problem.