Cherry Hill East students should move to temporary remote learning


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CHPS should move to temporary remote learning due to the increase in Covid cases amongst students and staff.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which is markedly rampant within the East community and the other Cherry Hill schools, following the outbreak of the Omicron variant, leaves the Cherry Hill Public School district with a difficult decision to make: either close down and go remote, or continue to perpetuate the spread of the virus throughout our town and state. While the option seems clear – shut down the schools, and in effect reduce the spread of the deadly virus – there are leaders within this town who would rather dictate the lives of students, some of whom are immunocompromised.

To put this in perspective, the effects of the virus right now, just within our school system, have been absolutely devastating. Hundreds of students currently find themselves days, if not weeks, behind in schoolwork, in addition to burdening the stress and hurt of infection. Dozens of teachers are infected as well, adversely affecting their respective students and preventing many educational opportunities – clubs, sports, and class activities – from properly occurring.

That’s why it’s not surprising that a petition created by a Cherry Hill High School East student, calling for the school to close effective immediately, already has over four hundred and fifty signatures. After all, a public institution should be serving the public, not perpetrating biochemical spread, something students learn about in Chemistry and the Infectious Disease elective, but haven’t been able to with the many teacher absences.

Also, it’s incredibly frustrating to recall how we were told that attending school in-person was far safer, from a social and support standpoint, when we began this school year. If there are 500 students missing from East, though, what social community truly exists? Are there even enough guidance counselors to provide support systems?

Guidance counselors at middle schools within the district are already being utilized as substitute teachers. Some students can no longer find a friend, or even a familiar face, to sit with at lunch, with so many missing. And yet we return each day.

This does not need to be a game of who lives and who dies, which is why I wholeheartedly expect there to be a thousand signatures to the petition by the end of the week. We have the chance to genuinely make a change by reducing the spread of the virus.

So, instead of waiting for the Governor to make a decision, what if the Cherry Hill Public Schools did what they have been teaching students to do for decades? What if we “seized the day” or, as the Cherry Hill Beck Middle School motto states, “[made] it a great day… [because] the choice is ours”?