Due to COVID-19, many students from all levels of schooling have chosen to opt out of in-person classes for the 2020 2021 school year and are receiving their education at home via online platforms. In Farmington, a hybrid system has been implemented so students can receive both at home, and in person education by coming into school every other week, and learning virtually during the other weeks. FHS students in cohort A; those with last names beginning in letters A-K have been rotating with students in Cohort B; those with last names beginning in letters L-Z in this hybring schedule. Additionally, students who did not want to come into school at all, have chosen to be in Cohort C and partake in virtual school all the time.
FHS students have chosen to opt out and be part of Cohort C for many different reasons. Some have made this decision because they have an underlying medical condition or they live with someone who has one, putting them at a high risk for severe illness from COVID. Aside from these serious health concerns, a number of students have decided to be in cohort C simply because they prefer to be at home whether if it is because they don’t like waking up early to go to school, or because they don’t like socializing and would rather be alone, or if they feel they do better as a learner when learning virtually.
At the moment, student athletes are participating in in-person practices, with the competitive season starting soon on October 1. At these practices, players are required to wear a mask as they arrive and leave practice, but remove them during any physical activity, making this setting more dangerous and putting people at a higher risk than they would be at school, where all students and staff members are required to wear a mask all the time unless more than six-feet away from anyone else.
A concern that has been brought up by many is whether or not students in Cohort C should be able to participate in sports. The reasoning behind this concern is that this situation really leads people to think about who is staying home due to genuine health concerns and who is staying home for other reasons. If a student is choosing to be in Cohort C because they are not comfortable with being in school during a global pandemic, the system of logic as to why they would participate in sports nonetheless is flawed.
Students choosing to be in Cohort C because of health concerns have also chosen to not participate in sports this year, acknowledging that athletics pose an even greater risk than school would.
A rule needs to be set in place, preventing students in Cohort C from participating in sports. This rule would lessen the amount of students in Cohort C who are not in because of genuine health concerns, which would help achieve one of the main goals of this school year to keep things as normally structured as possible while also addressing safety and health concerns. The alterations made to the educational system this year are to promote safety, they were not put in place as a way for students to get out of going to school and have an easier year, which many students are doing by being in Cohort C simply because of a lack of interest in going to school.