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Returning to School Update

Students in Ferguson returned to school months ago and have adapted to a new type of learning that is more hands-on and attentive. Learning in a physical environment helps to reduce distractions that can divert a student’s attention away from learning.

Those who have been learning online for the past year have had to adjust to physically attending classes by wearing a mask and becoming accustomed to the new routine. While students learn to adapt to teaching physically rather than through a digital screen, teachers have also gotten used to having a large number of people in their classrooms on a daily basis.

When the new school year began, students were required to follow all protocols, the most important of which was the mask mandate. However, as the year progressed, the spread of the deadly virus, Covid-19, decreased significantly, which aided in the adoption of the mask opt out.

Only high school and middle school students can currently opt out of said mandate, as most elementary school students are not eligible for vaccinations. In contrast to a few weeks ago, where the mask opt-out form was mandatory, students may now remove their masks without such a form.

Though there is a decrease in case numbers in Miami Dade, many people remain skeptical of the new findings. After all, any individual can still become infected with it and spread the virus.

“With the new variant, I think it’s honestly dangerous for us to take off our masks at the same time. It just increases the risk of the spread,” sophomore Sophia Perez stated.

It is considered dangerous by many students to not wear a mask because other people are put at risk as a result.

Junior Nicola Croce stated, “The fact of us not having masks could be dangerous, or more dangerous, because people are not distancing themselves enough and not having enough space.”

Failure to wear a mask means transmission risks to everyone, and not just those who come in contact with them.

Taking into account the massive amount of faculty that Ferguson has, Mr. Perez expressed that he thinks wearing a mask is a “personal decision for students or faculty members to decide to continue wearing the masks, I’m all for it.”

While some students argue that opting out of the mask was the wrong decision, others see it as a benefit rather than a flaw. “I’m glad that we’re back in school and I’m glad that we don’t have to wear masks anymore,” sophomore Karina Sacerio states.

Having to attend school physically leaves some students feeling happy and others missing being at home and able to run according to their own schedule. “I love hanging out with my friends but I miss the comfort of my home,” junior Ethan Rebollo says.

However, being back has caused a variety of students to do better with their grades, learn more about other people, and have more fun. “Coming back to school has helped my social life so much. Making new friends and actually understanding my classes has had a positive impact on my mental health,” sophomore Rashel Vazquez says.

The reduction in stress, anxiety, and increased self-esteem that students have experienced since returning has helped their mental health immensely.

“I enjoy physical school since I’m more around people I enjoy seeing along with my learning experience and how I’m able to be more hands-on and interactive physically. Of course there are negatives to physical school but I overall prefer it over online school,” sophomore Daniela Taboada stated.

Returning physically has been a different experience for all sorts of individuals, and opinions will continue to evolve over time. Ferguson continues to succeed not only academically but also socially as the number of cases decline.

Masses of students await many more fun events and opportunities to make long lasting memories for the rest of their lives. As the year unfolds and students remain safe, Ferguson will not only be a school, but a place to have fun, make friends, and partake in exciting experiences!

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