Daniela Abrams, Reporter

CESJDS’ reopening sends a message to the school community that the coronavirus is no longer as serious as it once was. Since necessary safety guidelines will likely not be followed by younger students, and in-person school is not worth the risk for a mediocre experience, JDS should remain closed.

While younger students may be less likely to spread or get sick from the virus, they are also less likely to listen to social distancing guidelines because of their stage of development. It is very hard for young kids to socially distance all day, especially with masks on. Masks do not always stay on younger kids, and they have less self-awareness on how to properly clean things.

According to The Wall Street Journal, middle and high school students are more capable of spreading the virus than younger students, so the reopening of the middle and high school divisions will do more harm than good.

High school students are already seeing their friends outside of school. Varying levels of adherence to social distancing and mask-wearing in friend groups can also be very anxiety-inducing for many, but especially for those who are immunocompromised or have a medically fragile immediate family member. The reopening of school will make the school responsible if there is an outbreak of the virus within our community.

Many high school students will not be capable of adhering to the social distancing guidelines if school reopens. It is very hard to keep a mask on all day and remain six feet from your friends at lunch, for example, when your mask must be off. Additionally, if the administration puts students in assigned lunch rooms, most students will not even get the chance to interact with their friends socially.

In addition, there will not be a significant improvement in in-person instruction. High school students have become experts at using Zoom. This year, online school very closely replicates the in-person schedule and workload we once had. Many of my peers and I feel that we are learning the same amount we once were.

The recent announcement made by Head of School Rabbi Mitch Malkus detailing the plans to reopen the high school division in the beginning of December is not optimal. Because of the upcoming holidays and election, there will likely be the third wave in COVID-19 cases. Our numbers are now as high as in March. Why does JDS plan on opening when cases are peaking, when they could have opened in September when the numbers were lower, or provided the kids with more social outdoor activities when the weather was warmer?