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Staff Editorial: The play’s not the thing, but crowded cafeteria is

By the Editorial Board

On Wednesday, March 11, the cast and crew of  “High School Musical” were informed that the show was cancelled until further notice. According to Mr. Hissong, all FWCS events with an expected attendance of at least 100, scheduled through April 11,  have been cancelled due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, also known as corona virus. 

Many universities in Indiana have cancelled in-person lectures for the next month, resorting to online coursework for students. However, if FWCS were to shut down due to the virus, it probably would not implement required online classes. The district is large and cannot guarantee that all of its students have access to reliable computers or internet connection. 

Fort Wayne Community Schools’ determination to keep schools open has proven to be controversial. Many have claimed that the district is prioritizing standardized testing, such as ISTEP, over students’ well-being.  

Although the district’s decision to suspend some extracurricular activities indefinitely is a step in the right direction, the school board should remain consistent with closures. If FWCS feels secure in  their decision to keep schools open, they should likewise allow extracurricular events to occur.  

It seems meaningless to disallow students from attending after-school events if they have already come in contact with hundreds of their peers, teachers and other staff members during the school day. If FWCS cancels extracurriculars, schools should be closed. 

The implementation of this policy has forced Snider’s administrators to cancel a recognition assembly scheduled for Friday, March 13, since more than 100 people would have been present during the event. Using this logic, it is also unsafe for students to eat lunch in the cafeteria where more than 100 students are present during each lunch mod. 

Students have argued that closing schools due to the virus is unreasonable since symptoms are rarely lethal in children or teenagers. Most of the deaths caused by the virus have been among infants, the elderly and those with previous conditions or weakened immune systems.  

The district’s inconsistency is breaking the hearts of many passionate performers who have spent months preparing for opening night. The pain of having the play taken away at the last minute is devastating, especially for seniors who were anticipating the magic of their final performance before graduation. 

In order to make themselves look less hypocritical, the school board should amend their inconsistent policy by either reallowing extracurricular events to occur or by closing schools to properly protect students from the virus. 

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