Do Students Feel Safe Returning to School?

Roberto Sandoval, Reporter

This year has been one of the most impactful ones with certain events going on; the biggest one is Covid 19; many places, including Anaheim High School, have closed down due to the danger of this virus.

What has made this disease even worse for everybody is that it has spread like wildfire. According to Google, there have been 37.6 million cases worldwide and 1.08 million deaths due to Covid. In the United States alone, there have been 7.79 million cases and 215 thousand deaths. The numbers are quite shocking.

The students at Anaheim High School didn’t finish their 2019-2020 school year due to the pandemic. Ever since then, the students have not returned to learning inside the classrooms. The school has made all the students learn virtually; it’s been a big change for many people.

AE News created a survey to know if students felt safe in returning to school or not. We wanted to know where students are at in terms of wanting to come back. If they think that the school will handle the situation effectively once students return.

Anaheim Exclusivo successfully received 1,392 responses. The results showed that 40.7% of the students believe that it is not good to return to school. Students don’t feel like the school would be successful in disinfecting and enforcing social distancing effectively.

We showed teachers at our school the survey results that the students took and asked them what they thought about the results. We asked them if the results were surprising and why they thought so many students wouldn’t like to return.

Ms. Lopez, a student-teacher at AHS,  stated, “After analyzing the results, I did not find the results to be surprising with the exception of the question that asks how successful school would be in enforcing social distancing. I believe that in the classroom, there will be a success, but the tricky part would come in during passing periods and during lunchtime. The ratio of teachers to students/staff is significant, and it will be difficult for staff to spend their lunchtime trying to ensure that students are practicing social distance. Also, during passing periods, the halls tend to get crowded, and students tend to congregate in little areas before class begins. The only way that we can reduce this from occurring is to have staff constantly going around school, ensuring that students are practicing social distance guidelines. Even though it sounds like a dream to disinfect everything constantly, that also requires more staff. We can only hope, right? ”

Ms. Lopez then added, “I believe that a large amount of students do not want to go back because they just don’t feel safe – it’s as simple as that. Many of our students have lost family members, friends, and neighbors due to COVID-19, and if no one has lost their lives close to them, they know someone else who has been affected by the Pandemic. It seems very unrealistic that a school as large as Anaheim High can be successful in every aspect of its return. For many temperature checks are not sufficient, and although learning from home is not ideal, it is the best option that many students have, and as a teacher, I try to make online learning as interactive as it can get.”

Mrs. Garrett, an English teacher at AHS, stated, “I am not particularly surprised by the results. Most of the students I have been working with are doing well in the online setting, much better than at the end of last year. I think (hope) that they’re also seeing that the teachers are better at online teaching, too. A few are struggling, but they seem to be coping, OK. I’m not surprised by the concerns about enforcing social distancing. I’m having trouble imagining us being able to do that, too. I’m a little surprised that the number who believe we should go back is significantly higher than the number who believe they’ll be safe,” Mrs. Garrett stated. 

She then added, “I think students likely have a whole range of reasons. I think most are probably concerned about contracting COVID and either getting sick themselves or spreading it to their families. I think for some, the idea of going back to school using the hybrid model — with only some of their classmates at a time, having to wear masks all day, not being able to socialize, having to eat in the classrooms, etc. — is worse than just staying online. And some may just have realized they prefer online. I’ve spoken to quite a few students who have said they like being able to stay at home.” 


Mr. Garcia, CTE instructor, went on to say, “I think the results show that a lot of students have a lot of concerns about returning to school. They still have a lot of questions. Even if they got answers, I don’t think they have a lot of faith. I am not surprised by the results. I think it’s pretty much split down the middle, with more students on the sidelines saying they don’t have any idea if it is safe. I think many students don’t want to go back because they are not sure if the school and it’s staff can enforce social distancing and use of PPE effectively. This is clear in their responses to these questions. The school staff and students are a lot of people to manage effectively.”

AE News was able to get the student’s and teacher’s points of view. From the responses received, it is perceivable that the teachers at Anaheim High School are not quite surprised by the results shown to them. They notice the student’s different points of view. They realize that many are not comfortable returning due to not wanting to get sick and get others sick. Some teachers realized that going back to school would be risky for students and staff members due to the virus being easily spread. People can only hope for the pandemic to end to attend school and live life normally.