Hadrian Lau / Staff reporter
British Columbia Premier John Horgan announced on 15 May that students from kindergarten to grade 12 in BC will start to return to classroom on a part-time, voluntary basis beginning on June 1 because the outbreak of COVID-19 has been eased, however this may not be a good idea.
First of all, because are many facilities that are being shared at the school, there is still a high risk of spreading the virus. As COVID-19 has a 14 days infective asymptomatic period, a student or a teacher may not show symptoms but may still able to infect the people around them. COVID-19 also has similar symptoms with flu, which will make it harder to determine if a person is a carrier or not.
Even if the staff or teachers don’t have any physical contact with the students, teachers still need to talk in order to give out instructions for students, which will lead to a risk of droplet transmission.
Secondly, some students who have less self-control may choose to have physical contact with other students when voluntary return to school is applied.
Although physical distancing and remote learning has been difficult for many students, it can protect students from the virus. At the same time, they can also learn in a safe environment.
Presently, contact tracing is impossible. If someone becomes infected, it’s almost impossible to track down and quarantine all the people they have been in contact with.
The purpose of the announcement might not be just for the learning of the students. The salary of school workers who have been instructed to stay home because of the outbreak of the virus are still a big part of the expenses. The school district might want the school workers to resume their job as soon as possible in order to not let their money “go to waste.”
In conclusion, the announcement of voluntary return to school is an irresponsible act. It might cause the situation to get worse and create another outbreak. The best way to ensure the safety of the students and staff is to wait until the outbreak is over , then resume regular schooling.