The Uncertainty of Schools Re-opening

By : Armani Baker

Background and Topic 
The Coronavirus has changed the educational experience of students of all ages all over the world. Since mid-May in-person classes have transitioned to online classes, forcing students to complete work from home, parents have to balance work and assisting their children with homework and high school students are questioning their attendance for college in the fall. Most news outlets are reporting about this topic in agreeance that there is much uncertainty about returning back to in-person classes. The future for students of all ages is unknown as the culture and dynamic of online instruction has affected the lives of students all over the country. 

New York Post, The New York Times, USA Today, CNBC and Los Angeles Times have reported about returning back to in-person classes in different yet similar ways. 

Similarities and Differences of how each News Outlet Covered Education

         All of the news outlets discussed the uncertainty revolving around the idea of schools re-opening for in-person instruction. However, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times all discussed what a potential school day would look like when and if schools decide to re-open and the significant changes that re-openings will bring to schools. 

What schools will look like when they reopen: Scheduled days home, more online learning, lots of hand-washing.  

USA Today introduces the potential idea that if schools re-open in the fall, students could possibly only attend classes in-person for two or three days a week. This article includes images of what social distancing could look like when schools re-open such as a certain distance between the desks inside of classrooms. USA Today includes an image from the Schloss-Schule elementary school in Heppenheim, Germany, of a teacher measuring out markers for the desks of students, giving the audience a visual to connect with the text of the article. Additionally, this article offers an outline of the new rules that could be put into action when schools reopen. 

Reopening California schools: 4 things you need to know

The Los Angeles Times story centers around four things that the audience needs to know about the potential re-opening of schools in California. The main source for this story is Governor Gavin Newsom as he states that public schools could reopen in the late summer to give students the opportunity to catch up on work. This article is similar to the USA Today article as they both report about how social distancing and hand washing will be enforced and how schools will potentially operate differently when open again. 

Despite Trump's Nudging, Schools Are Likely to Stay Shut for Months

The New York Times reports about how schools could possibly continue on with on-line instruction regardless of Trump's urgency of school re-openings. Similar to USA Today, this article includes the potential of alternating the days that students attend classes in person to practice social distancing in order for the spread of the virus to decrease. Additionally, this article uses the same exact picture from the Schloss-Schule elementary school in Heppenheim, Germany, that USA Today uses in their article to help develop their story. This article includes quotes from Trump, Governor Gavin Newsom and various education officials from all over the country. 

As stated above, all of the news outlets discussed the uncertainty of re-opening in-person school instruction. However, both the New York Post and CNBC focused their stories specifically about higher education. These two outlets gave the audience a deeper connection to the sources within the stories by using quotes from actual students and or parents.  They also used pictures of actual sources in the story. Lastly, they both described students' dilemmas caused by COVID-19 as a 'limbo.' Limbo defined as, the decision between deferring college admission and getting a job or the decision of completing their college education or dropping out permanently. 

High school seniors are in coronavirus 'limbo' with college deposits due

New York Post focused on specific high school students, with various quotes from the families of students, that are questioning whether they should begin their college experience online or wait until things go back to normal and get a normal job for now or complete charity work.  

This story gave the audience a face for the story, Jack Zimmerman, and included his parents' concerns about him not having the traditional college experience if he decides to begin his freshman semester of college online at Vanderbilt University. 

Some students are considering dropping out of college because of coronavirus

CNBC'highlights how the college experience has changed for students. Students are asking for their money back from universities as they unhappy with online instruction. This article raises a question from the sources in the text ' Should students stay in school or drop out permanently? Similar to the New York Post, this article gives the audience pictures of actual college students who are balancing part-time jobs in order to make money to survive during this crisis. Also, the idea of differing college to take a gap year is discussed just like the New York Post. Unlike other articles, CNBC provides a video with facts about how the college experience has changed since March for students all over the country.'

What is Next?

Many citizens of the U.S. such as Michelle Butler, mother of three, feel very strongly that schools should not reopen anytime soon. However, if they do re-open, students should change the way they interact with each other. Social distancing should continue to be practiced throughout the day and washing of hands should be increased. 

Marcus Gatlin gives his perspective as a master's student that has had to transition to online courses. Prior to COVID-19, Gatlin was studying in-person at Solent University in Southampton, England. The last week of March, he traveled home to the United States to begin his journey of remote learning. Gatlin offers a piece of advice for graduating high school students that possibly cannot begin their traditional college experience in the fall. 

Overall, the future of many students' lives is currently unpredictable as there is not a definite start date of when classes will resume in person. One thing most agree on about the Coronavirus and education is that people are unsure if it is a smart decision to open schools again. 

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