Editorial: All in the same boat – appreciating what we have and helping others during a time of crisis

Editorial Staff

Let’s face it. Nobody is particularly excited about starting school this year. Students want to socialize and see their friends in person, teachers wish they could return to school and teach like every other year and parents worry that their children are falling behind academically. Nobody is in an optimal situation right now. But how can we make this year the best that it can be?

We must recognize that the CESJDS community has been relatively fortunate over the past few months. The school was able to transition quickly to virtual learning, allowing students to continue their studies until June. This is more than what can be said for Montgomery County Public Schools, whose students lost three weeks of classes and lacked crucial academic support. Additionally, the JDS administration has been communicative and transparent about reopening plans throughout the summer.

Unlike the spring, students will be able to participate in more clubs and extracurricular activities that were not offered then. And while clubs are not in-person, students will still be able to engage in activities they enjoy, albeit virtually. While not the same by any measure, this plan is still a better alternative to the situation in the spring, where some students had little to do in their free time. Additionally, students will be able to socialize in person during outdoor athletic programs and optional in-person science labs which provides an additional outlet for improving their mental health and overall well-being.

Next, we should not worry about how much of the formal curriculum we get through. After all, we are living through an ongoing global pandemic, and we are not the only ones going through these circumstances. Everyone is behind on their learning, not just us. If anything, we hope students have and continue to take it upon themselves to self-educate on topics highlighted by current events that are especially prevalent now.

That’s not to say we should ignore our studies, but we should not stress over not covering all the material. Educational institutions know there will be gaps in our knowledge, and our teachers are working hard to catch us up on what we’ve missed while making sure we know core concepts.

As we reflect on the concerns and challenges that we are facing during this time, take some time to consider what you need for a successful school year. That might be socializing more, seeking academic support, taking time for yourself or something else. Whatever it may be, build it into your schedule. With so much uncertainty and so much out of our control, it’s important to normalize taking care of ourselves and address our personal needs as best we can.

Once we have taken care of ourselves, we should look to help others that are less fortunate. Be inspired by people giving back to their communities, like students providing free tutoring to children of healthcare workers, the junior class food drive last spring and websites like “I Lost My Job To CoronaVirus” that seek to connect those unemployed due to the pandemic with job opportunities.

Both in person and virtual service opportunities can be found on websites such as “VolunteerMatch.” Not only will you be supporting others in need, but you will feel the reward of knowing you made a positive difference in someone’s life during a divisive and uncertain time.