Student body on 2020 school year

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LEFT OR RIGHT: Although the top three solutions to fighting the spread of COVID-19 at school were clear, a few assorted ideas lay borderline between fully supported and unsupported with Heritage students. (Graphic/Bella Ramirez)

Patriot Post sent out our summer survey and got the most responses in our history: over 400 students from grades 7 through 12. This shows our student body wants their voices to be heard. Here’s our analysis of their opinions on the upcoming school year in the age of COVID-19.

Solutions to combat the virus in the upcoming school year

The three most supported solutions to combating the virus in school included having hand sanitizer locations throughout the school, increasing the number of excused absences allowed for exempting midterms in case students get sick and wearing masks on campus. Not everyone is in favor of these changes; the second set of graphs shows how widely supported each solution is. For example, the least supported solution is lunch in classrooms.

“Please do not enforce masks because they are extremely uncomfortable, and it will distract us from learning,” freshman Joshua Dobrinksy said.

Students also came up with their own solutions such as “directing the flow of students so that the area near the canal doesn’t get overcrowded,” junior Nicholas Randazzo said.

“Continue with online schooling. It’s the safest option,” eighth grader Haleh Afshani said.

Yet the vast majority of students do not want to do online learning. However, since a few, such as junior Maya Moise, proposed optional online learning, Heritage could try to give this as an option for immunocompromised or ill students. There is also the idea of moving club meetings online as proposed by freshman Amarachukwu Okpala. Larger events, such as the freshman mixer, may also need to be reimagined.

“Move large events or gatherings online,” freshman Aaron Zhang suggested.

Beyond this, students (who have always felt there should be more time between classes) hope for more time now to allow optimizing social distancing. The general majority is ten minutes or more to change classes.

 Also, a majority of students hoped to start school later. Later start times often work better for teenage sleep schedules and health. In fact, the CDC recommends middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later. Starting early often causes students to lose sleep and may lead to health risks and poor academic performance. This small change in schedule may keep students’ immune systems stronger in the long run.

Since schools are often a breeding ground for regular diseases such as the flu, some students recommended altering scheduling entirely.

Sophomore Connor McDonough, hoped the school would consider “staggered starts or block scheduling after Labor Day.”

Around 45% of students like the idea of block scheduling in the 2020 school year. Around 35% of students did not want to implement block scheduling and 20% of students weren’t sure. Block scheduling can allow more physical distancing and give all students either an additional course or an independent study.

With so many unknowns about the upcoming school year though, a few students feel it’s too early to decide what to do.

If you have a stance on any of the proposed solutions or an additional idea, send an email to patriotpost@ahschool.com.

ON THE HORIZON: Heritage students and administration are contemplating the future of schooling during COVID-19. Already changes are made; senior photos are now scheduled with social distancing in mind. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)

Bella Ramirez, senior, is a Marvel fanatic and hardworking leader. Ramirez leads Key Club and French Honors Society with a hope to inspire thinking globally and acting with kindness. She also runs le Congrès de la Culture Français en Floride’s (CCFF) social media accounts and is in charge of international publication Pressing the Future. Her passion for creativity continues through her filmmaking ventures such as “The Adventures of Mister Perfect and Friends,” the charity film with all proceeds going to Project Alive. Ramirez is excited for the upcoming year of The Patriot Post and is honored to lead the print publication to new heights with her wonderful staff.

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