Richmond Times-Dispatch

Outdoor campus spaces could benefit students

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EDITOR, TIMES-DISPATCH:

I have lived in Richmond my whole life. As a student, I know how hard online school is day after day during the pandemic, and I amso glad my school, Trinity Episcopal, decided to let students come back to campus for a hybrid semester. While I agree getting students back to in-person school is important, Richmond Public Schools (RPS) needs to be more careful about letting students return.

RPS is using a hybrid system to bring students back into schools. This is causing problems because there are more financial costs for students and the school itself. If, for example, there is a positive case at a school, the entire school needs to be cleaned. This quickly will add up if cases start spreading.

Even virtual learning has its disadvanta­ges. What if students cannot afford a computer?

How will they get the education they deserve? While the medical community is closer to a vaccine, it “isn’t going to bring a fairytale ending to the pandemic,” said Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An option to consider would be to create more outdoor spaces at public schools instead of the students being trapped in the buildings the whole day. Providing more outdoor spaces would allow students to have a mask break and get fresh air in between classes without as many germs being transferre­d.

Student deserve to go back to school, but Richmond needs to be more careful about letting the spread of the virus get out of control. It wouldn’t be a disaster for public school students to go online for one more semester in order to allow schools to build outdoor spaces for students. Richmonder­s need to come together and help schools transition to outdoor campuses.

SARA PLACIDE.

MIDLOTHIAN.

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