Eitan Malkus, Assistant Opinion Editor

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CESJDS high school students have been learning remotely for the past eight months. While JDS has created a well-rounded remote learning program, Zoom classes will never match in-person instruction.

Although there are health risks to reopening school, the CDC and Maryland state officials have detailed procedures to open schools safely. Many private schools in Montgomery County have already opened safely without major setbacks.

Though teachers worry students won’t follow social distancing guidelines, JDS is a small private school in which the administration will be able to enforce health guidelines and will provide plexiglass screens and hand sanitizers for use in classrooms. In addition, COVID-19 tests will be administered to students and staff weekly, preventing an outbreak.

Transitioning to in-person instruction will also benefit the community. Many people are feeling lonely and depressed, unable to see friends on a daily basis. Reopening school would provide a safe environment for students to socialize, which is known to increase happiness.

In-person learning would also allow students to participate in art classes, clubs and performances, which they have been deprived of for the past eight months. The sense of community and emotional support JDS students know so well will be formed again during the hard times of the pandemic.

In terms of the education itself, teachers will be able to provide in-person lessons and teaching, which is much easier and more effective than teaching on Zoom. Teachers will also be able to provide more individual support to their students, improving the quality of education across the board.

While the transition back to in-person instruction may seem risky, JDS should be able to adapt to the situation easily.

The recent announcement that the high school division will be reopening in hybrid learning is a relief to the community. Teachers will be able to meet their students for the first time and gauge their learning methods, easing their concerns and allowing them to build relationships. Students can reconnect with friends they have not seen for a while and new students will be introduced to their grade. This transition allows for students to be learning in a safe in-person environment during a pandemic that shows no signs of fading away.