Editorial: Please, Come to School In Person on May 3

The+Bridge+connecting+Latin%27s+Middle+and+Upper+Schools%2C+the+site+of+many+high-fives+and+hellos.

Big Atmosphere Design

The Bridge connecting Latin’s Middle and Upper Schools, the site of many high-fives and hellos.

It’s a familiar scene for those teachers who taught in person during the third quarter: rows of empty desks broken up by one, perhaps two, in-person students; meanwhile, the Zoom waiting room erupts with life, barely conquerable with a series of rapid-fire clicks on the blue “admit” button. Some students join from their beds, still under the covers, a childhood teddy bear apprehensively peeking in from the bottom-right corner of their screen.

In-person learning at Latin is a zero-sum game. A majority resistance towards physically attending classes negates the benefits that the minority of in-person learners pursue. At a certain point, being the only student in an empty classroom is no different from sitting at home, blankly staring at a Zoom screen. In that sense, hijacking the option of virtual learning (which is intended for those who can’t come to school, not those who don’t feel like it) is not a personal choice but one with class-wide impact.

Moreover, the option to come to school every day in the spring of 2021 is a great privilege, and one that far too few Latin students have, so far, appreciated. Chicago Public Schools currently require students to learn remotely “1-3 days a week,” while the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools didn’t even allow middle-schoolers on campus—at all—until mid April.

This is not a plea directed towards those students with physical health accommodations, or those for whom the pandemic’s transportation complications have made traveling to school near impossible. But to those students who stay at home for no other reason than ease: please, come to school.

Come to school for the little moments, when you pass by a friend—or perhaps not really a friend, but a friendly acquaintance—going the other direction on the Bridge, and shoot them a quick “hey!” Come to school to reflect on how small the freshmen seem these days; or, conversely, how imposing the big, scary seniors appear. Come to school to complain about pre-packaged Handcut Foods rations and ridicule (but still participate in) the corny Student Government dress-up days. Come to school for the people—the lifelong friends, the teachers—who make Latin special.

Put on your Boathouse jacket, your 2016 Latin Homecoming T-Shirt, hell, your Middle School P.E. attire—whatever—and come to school.

Signed,

Peter Jones, Editor-in-Chief; Bea Parr, Editor-in-Chief.