All North Carolina schools have to close for at least two weeks due to COVID-19 concerns.
Roy Cooper issued an executive order on March 14 to prohibit groups of more than 100 people, with the exception of restaurants, shopping malls and retail stores; this includes schools. This decision was made after an elementary school teacher in Wake County tested positive for COVID-19.
“We issued this as guidance on Thursday; however, despite this guidance, several venues continued their events,” N.C. Governor Roy Cooper tweeted, “so today’s order makes it mandatory.”
COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, spread quickly throughout the world. The concerns arise from its lethality for older citizens as well as the unknown factors of the virus, including long-term effects and lack of vaccines.
Most colleges around the United States closed, and local schools are following suit.
“I think any measures that have our best interest in mind are positive,” English teacher Andrea Julian said. “We need to recognize the fact that something like this has never happened before.”
The preventative measures are trying to limit the spread so that those more susceptible will be protected by herd immunity.
“We are young and probably less susceptible,” senior Emma Jia said, “but our parents and siblings aren’t; the last thing I want is to spread it to my parents. I’m relieved (they shut down school).”
Students who have been extremely sick, are immuno-compromised or live with the elderly benefit from this decision.
“I’m kind of worried of getting it myself after getting very sick several times this year,” junior Ysantis McKenzie said, “but I’m more worried about passing it onto the elderly or immuno-compromised individuals.”
It’s easy for viruses to spread in schools due to the high concentration of students. Plus, even when students are sick, they often still come to school for fear of losing exemptions or having to play catch-up.
Closing the schools is a good precaution, but families and students who rely on the schools will take a hit.
“My main issue with schools closing down is that a lot of parents/guardians rely on school as a form of daycare and a way to feed their children,” senior Kylie DeSilvey said. “This can really affect work schedules and put a strain on budgeting and time management for tons of people.”
Plus, being out for two weeks will hurt students and teachers academically. Exams, like the AP exams, have not been scheduled to move yet, so students taking those exams will have to work on their own to get it done.
“I think it’s responsible for (the governor) to do (this), but I’m worried we’ll have lots of academic consequences,” McKenzie said. “Since many teachers aren’t prepared to utilize technology, many classes are going to be seriously behind schedule.”
Classes will most likely go online, but not all students have access to the internet.
“I think that the kids who don’t have (wi-fi) will either have to get their parents to drive them somewhere, which is an inconvenience to the parents who have to work,” sophomore Lindsay Hash said. “(Plus,) I don’t think schools getting closed down will help contain the virus because kids are just going to go out on their own to hang out with their friends.”
Most students are not used to online learning, and so this adds to the issue.
“There are too many unknowns for us to truly judge the situation,” senior from Durham School of the Arts Kate Cross said. “(It’s a) complex situation. Students will be spending so much time on trying to navigate a new way to learn. I can only hope that it’s all worth it, and we help flatten the curve.”
Beyond academics, makeup time can get confusing. Some schools are pushing back spring break, but others have yet to comment.
“My only concern with makeup time is graduation because if it gets moved, a lot of plans would be gone,” DeSilvey said. “I think it’s just a little over exaggerated, but I’m glad they’re learning to take extra precautions.”
COVID-19 canceled plans, like study abroad trips and personal spring break vacations. College visits for seniors have also been difficult.
“I find the decision to be a wise one, but I don’t like it because it’s a massive inconvenience,” senior Jason Ellington said. “I have lost $1000 to the Coronavirus (due to) stock market (drops) and the planned trip to Europe (being canceled).”
While this decision will help alleviate the spread of COVID-19, there issues from losing two weeks of school can hurt many seniors, such as those who lose opportunities, experiences and even required service learning hours.
“I absolutely see the reason for closing school, but all of this is really unfortunate,” senior Blake Sullivan said. “Seniors are missing out on their last season for high school sports, and that isn’t something that can be given back. Students taking AP and advanced classes are also at a deficit, and this places extra stress on students. I understand why they have cancelled school, but it has come with a lot of downfalls that are just unfortunate.”
Cooper addresses some of these issues on his twitter.
“I do not make this decision lightly,” Cooper tweeted. “We know that it will be difficult on many parents and students. These measures will hurt people whose incomes are affected by the prohibition of mass gatherings, working parents and children who get their meals at school. We are working on efforts to deal with these challenges, from changes to unemployment insurance to special funding from the state and federal government to help get us through this.”