Student Concerns about In-Person Learning

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Feb 9, 2021, 1:53:26 AM2/9/21
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Dear School Board Members, 

I am a junior at Los Alamos High School. As the daughter of two LAHS teachers, I am deeply concerned about the impact COVID-19 will have on LAHS as well as on the town as a whole. 

Over the past few weeks I have seen the difficulty my parents and other members of the community have endured to secure an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The reality is that vaccine distribution is currently only at its onset in the United States, and Los Alamos is no exception. I believe our community should focus on effectively and safely distributing the vaccine and preventing the loss of life. With the prospects of a safe return within a few months’ reach, why jeopardize it all for a few hours of optional in-person learning? 

Earlier this year my classmate Olivia Koo and I created a petition to remain in remote learning, and over the course of two days we were able to collect 100 upperclassmen student signatures simply through word of mouth. The reason students signed the petition was consistent: they feared the implications COVID-19 could have on their friends, teachers, and high-risk parents. These motivations for wanting to stay in remote learning have not waned within the past months and are, if anything, more evident than ever with new, contagious variants of the virus and ever-spiking cases.

I understand that some of my peers want to return to their sports and activities - as a varsity athlete who is involved in numerous school groups such as Speech and Debate, Model UN and band, I get it. But I also understand that the lives of my friends, teachers, and the other members of the community are far more important than my extracurricular. 

Furthermore, I simply do not have any faith in my classmates. When taking the PSAT in October, I witnessed first-hand what returning to school would look like. In the span of 3 hours, I watched peers eagerly running to hug each other, sitting next to people wearing masks below their noses, making plans to hang out after the test, and talking in large groups about how unsafe they felt in the testing room. Pictures of large group gatherings on social media and the rise in COVID-19 cases among LAHS students only further renforices that reopening our schools before the vaccine is properly distributed will be detrimental to our town. 

Many other members of the community have pointed out that returning to school and sports is optional, but the reality is that in-person learning isn’t optional for many families, including my own. As LAHS teachers, my parents don’t get a choice in this matter which is extremely frustrating and stressful for my family. 

It is true that we have been lucky here in Los Alamos. Throughout the duration of the pandemic we have had (as of today) 459 total cases and 3 deaths, meaning the ratio of deaths to cases is 153 to 1. I understand that some, especially those who have experienced covid with few consequences, may view this as an insignificant number, but quite frankly I do not want one of my parents or teachers to be that one in 153 covid patients. I do not want to lose another friend or family member this year, especially due to something that could have easily been prevented. 

I plead, for the safety of my parents, teachers, and everyone else in the community please wait to implement a hybrid model in LAHS until vaccines are properly distributed. 

Thank you, 

Elizabeth Frost 

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