Editorial: Make smart choices so we can go back to school

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Weekly Word: Each week, the Lasso Editorial Board will comment on an issue that is relevant to the students of George Mason High School. We strive to present a student-oriented opinion about topics big and small that matter to the student body.

Editorial Board

Distance learning sucks.

This is not the fault of George Mason or FCCPS as a whole, both of which have handled distance learning very well, especially given the circumstances. But it sucks. Every day, we trudge through Schoology conferences from one class to another. For the most part, we don’t get to see our friends and teachers that make normal school bearable. 

The good news is that FCCPS has a plan to bring all of us back to school safely, which is a luxury that most places don’t have. Special Populations students went back in October. Kindergarten and third grade students returned in a hybrid model last week. The rest of the elementary school students returned this week. Middle and high school students are scheduled to return in January. But in order for these plans to work, members of the Falls Church community need to continue practicing social distancing and wearing masks. 

We know you’re sick of hearing these messages. Trust us: we are too. But now more than ever, it is incredibly important.

COVID-19 cases across the United States are skyrocketing. Nationally, the United States recorded more than one million COVID-19 cases in the last week. While the number of cases in Falls Church and Fairfax County aren’t necessarily skyrocketing yet, they’re certainly trending in the wrong direction. According to the Fairfax Health Department, the positive test percentage is 8.9%, well above the 5% or less goal set by the World Health Organization.

This prompted FCCPS to shut down all schools and facilities for the week of Thanksgiving for students. Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan called it a “temporary pause.” It serves as a jarring reminder that all the progress Falls Church has made in recent months (including the plan to reopen Henderson and Mason in January) can be taken away from us in an instant.

While there are things that we can’t control, we have the ability to make sure this doesn’t happen. Don’t be reckless over Thanksgiving Break. Don’t go to parties over the long weekend. Avoid large gatherings. If you can’t, please please please do all you can to stay safe. 

Our number one goal as a community and society must be to reopen our schools safely. Doing so in Falls Church is very possible if we just practice social distancing, wear masks, and adhere to government and CDC guidelines. 

Mustangs – keep your eyes on the prize. We know that all the safety precautions suck and nobody expected them to be necessary for this long when the pandemic began. But we all want to go to in-person school in January. If we are reckless, in-person school will be impossible. Stay safe and hunker down this holiday season. It’s a drag, but it’ll be better for all of us in the long run.