Should Beaverton Schools Return to In Person Learning?

Ryan Dickinson, News Reporter

The talks of Beaverton Schools returning to in-person learning is a controversial and debatable topic right now. Some people are all for going back as soon as possible, and others are adamant that schools remain closed indefinitely. While there are potential benefits to either of these options it’s important to weigh all outcomes and listen to the BSD community’s thoughts and concerns.

A brief survey was conducted among some Mountainside students to gauge their opinions on online school,

Survey results of 44 MHS students on whether or not BSD should reopen for in-person learning.

and if schools should reopen or not. The anonymous students were asked if the Beaverton School District should open all schools, requiring masks and practicing social distancing. Of the 44 surveyed, 63.6% said the district should not reopen all schools and 18.2 said they should. The remaining 18.2% selected an ‘other’ answer, giving explanations from “open smaller capacity schools first” to “allow hybrid learning” 

Some of the surveyed offered a compromise, allowing students who are comfortable with returning to school do so, while the remaining continue online. This option allows students and families to use their judgement to choose, however teachers wouldn’t have much say so. Unfortunately this is where the dilemma gets even murkier.

If both teachers and students were given the choice to return, the result could end in a scheduling nightmare and disproportionate class sizes. However, if all teachers were required to return to in person teaching, the question of ethics would likely be brought up. The dilemma may require an “all or nothing” approach to resolve, and even then roughly half of the people would be unsatisfied. 

Students have often been asked their opinions on the current online school system. The surveyed students were asked to rate the system on a five-point scale, with one being bad and five being perfect. Roughly 42% of the students rated the system at four or above, while 26% of the students rated the same system at two

Ratings of the current online school system completed by the same survey sample.

or below. The remaining students rated the system as “just ok”, making up roughly 32% of the students.

While a majority of this sample size are satisfied with the system it’s important to dig deeper into why people chose the rating they did. Some students explained that they rated lower because of the “lack of physical resources”, “the difficulty to stay motivated”, and “loss of social contact”. A fair amount of these statements are fairly common among students and are rather hard to address virtually

Although some students believe the system is subpar, a student who rated the system positively brought up a counterpoint. They said “I like it in comparison to what I think school would be like if we went in person.” This could be taken as speculation that an in person education system that followed COVID requirements might be worse than staying online. This is a unique take that is seldom noted and might be worth keeping in mind.

The fact of the matter is that there will always be disagreements. Should students return to school? Should teachers be vaccinated first? Should online education be updated? These are questions that will probably never be widely agreed upon. It’s crucial to keep up and stay informed. A lot is happening every day and sometimes, the best way to take it all in is by stepping back and looking at every angle.