Students, staff reflect on COVID-19 school closures

By Brandon Miller, Staff Reporter

For many, time off from school in March and April means spring break. Unfortunately, the circumstances for the time off now may not be as enjoyable.  In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, all K-12 schools in Michigan, including GPPSS, have been closed for the rest of the school year

English teacher Kristen Alles believes that while school closures were the right decision, she wishes she was still in the classroom setting. Although, to her, it’s not all bad.

“(It’s) definitely (nice) being with a five-year-old and a two-year-old all day everyday,” Alles said. “It has its challenges, it’s also pretty fun, they’re getting along better than they ever have.”

Despite transitioning to temporary online learning, many are questioning whether students will be returning to in-house education at all this school year. According to Alles, this ambiguity stems from the lengthy lines of communication between higher entities and small communities, thus making it difficult for school districts to make their own decisions.

While it may be obvious to many that school closures are popular with students, the reasoning as to why goes beyond simply avoiding the classroom. According to sophomore Jack Gehlert, the move is great for preventing the transmission of the illness.

 “I think that closing school was overall a good idea because, as we’ve seen, it’s gone from one case just about a week and a half ago to about, almost a hundred,” Gehlert said.

While the responses to closed buildings vary from person-to-person, Gehlert personally views it as a “refresher,” but also admits that staying busy can be difficult. Cancellations of school sports have also been a bit of a disappointment, such as state wide events for swimming that Gehlert would have been a part of.  

For Alles, these school closures amidst a public health crisis seem scary, however, she is confident that the actions will be beneficial in preventing the spread of the illness.

“(The closure) is pretty unprecedented because it’s not like a superintendent or a principal, teachers or anyone in authority within the school or school district can make this decision,” Alles said. “It really does have to come from above, from somewhere else, and when we near that, I’m sure they’ll communicate that with us, but I really feel like a lot of us are functioning in the unknown right now, so my motto is to just take it one day at a time.”