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Students deserve a voice in school reopening coverage | READER COMMENTARY

People march in front of the Harford County Public Schools office building last month during a protest by local parents, students and teachers, to reopen the school system to in-person learning in the fall.
People march in front of the Harford County Public Schools office building last month during a protest by local parents, students and teachers, to reopen the school system to in-person learning in the fall. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

I am a rising high school senior who began reading The Baltimore Sun somewhat regularly after schools closed for in-person classes. In the past three days, there have been several articles in the newspaper discussing the effect of COVID-19 on public school re-openings. These articles discuss benchmarks for reopening and controversies over whether they’ve been achieved (”Maryland officials say all public school systems meet new set of benchmarks for some in-person instruction,” Aug. 27).

In the past few months, this newspaper and other news sources have also published articles that discuss whether to open schools for in-person learning, use a hybrid model, use exclusively virtual learning, and whether and how to incorporate athletics and other extracurricular activities into the curriculum. These decisions have a profound effect on students ranging from the colleges they apply and are accepted into, whether they receive scholarships, and even whether to apply to college or enter the workforce.

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Although the rate of symptomatic infections appears to be lower in children than adults, the long-term effect of even asymptomatic infections including myocarditis are unknown and may include long-term physical and psychological consequences. Some articles contain polls of adults and quotes from teachers, parents and elected officials; yet, in none of these articles are students’ opinions ever considered. For a newspaper that is suppose to cover local news, this is absence is hard to understand. Since this is the most critical time in most students’ lives, and many face daunting decisions that will dramatically affect their future, the Sun should consider this when they (inevitably) publish more articles on the topic.

Zared O. Cohen, Clarksville

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Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

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