Published Dec. 9, 2020
By ALICIA KRUEGER
Like most, I was devastated to realize my senior year would not be anything like I expected. I was devastated to know that I wouldn’t be driving my sister to her first day of high school or getting a senior volleyball season or, for that matter, printing a newspaper. But I knew this in July; I knew this four months ago.
I like to think of myself as a realist. Maybe I lean towards pessimism at times, sometimes optimism, but mostly realism. And as a realist I came to the conclusion that I would not have a first semester. Yes, I held out hope for a second one, but that hope was shot down the second we entered this second wave and, I might add, a second wave that is far worse than the first one.
With that, I’ve had trouble understanding the motives behind the vocal community of people who continue to push for a Carmel High School hybrid model or a return-to-school. This trouble lies in the fact that it is literally impossible. There is no state waiver to grant any district in California the right to put high school students back in the classroom. None. It’s simple.
According to the California Department of Public Health, as of Dec. 8 the Greater Bay Area’s available ICU beds shrank to 24.5 percent and Monterey County only has 20.5 percent of ICU beds available. And, to be clear, these numbers are continually decreasing, leaving Monterey County 5.5 percent of available ICU beds away from a shelter-in-place order.
If I could predict the future, or rather be realistic about the future, this is what will happen: All of California, including Monterey County, will go back into shelter-in-place this winter, a vaccine will slowly become available throughout spring, and the summer will grant the opportunity to create herd immunity. Then, and only then, will high schools across the state and country be able to return, hybrid model or full-time.
Notice how this leaves no room to return to school in the 2020-21 school year. And while Carmel Unified School District’s COVID-19 numbers pale in comparison to other districts’, unless something changes at the state level where COVID-19 is no longer looked at from through county numbers, we remain in a helpless state.
So I ask, why are we wasting time, energy and resources on something that will not happen?
CHS has consulted with groups of administrators, parents and students to discuss and plan for a hybrid model. Don’t get me wrong, I really do appreciate the effort and the wide-spread attempt to make this situation better, but I also really, really think this energy could be better utilized elsewhere. Maybe creating cohorts for social-emotional health or extracurriculars. Maybe bettering the system we are currently learning under. Maybe figuring out new ways to bring the excitement of senior year to a socially distanced world.
This is the situation we are in; learn to love it.
From the beginning, I’ve thought that with the right allocation of resources this could be one of the greatest opportunities to shift our mindset around what education looks like and what school is here for. I don’t think we, as a community, have made that shift. And I think we’ve failed as a result.
Alicia Krueger is a three-year Sandpiper staff writer and this year’s editor-in-chief.