Opinion: We two seniors support online opening (at least for now)


Tess Weinreich

Annual opening-day traditions bring much excitement. (photo credit: Potomac smugmug)

Isabel Engel and Tess Weinreich

In an email sent to Potomac parents on August 20, Mr. Kowalik, Head of School, announced Potomac’s decision to commence the 2020-2021 school year fully online. At present, this is the most responsible decision Potomac could have made.

With the number of Covid-19 cases increasing every day, it is not only idealistic, but dangerous, to hope for a normal start to the 2020-2021 school year. Some universities and schools that have opened their campuses are now virus hotspots. Despite precautions to mitigate the spread of infection, students and faculty at these institutions have fallen ill. 

Especially as seniors, we wanted a normal school year at least as much as anyone else. Through the pits of quarantine, we held onto hope that September would bring a sense of normalcy. A normal first day. A normal opening assembly. A normal start to our last year at Potomac, our last year at home. 

But this, we all must acknowledge, is not a normal year. Of course, we long for those first-day traditions: kindergarteners presenting lifers with roses, followed by their entrances hand in hand. It would be easy to ignore harsh realities, accept the flowers, and (fittingly) look at the world through rose-colored glasses. We could see all that we imagined for our first days as seniors. Crowded halls filled with laughter. Cheering fan sections on the Gumtree soccer field. Bonfire ablaze on the turf. 

Yet, rose-colored glasses cannot suffice in times like these. 

Potomac worked through a difficult decision-making process in which various members of the community expressed their passionate feelings about reopening, and we believe the school made the appropriate choice to ensure the safety of our community. 

The choice, though, only meets this moment. We are certainly crossing our fingers that come October or November, conditions will allow campus to truly “reopen”. September 28, the next decision point to reopen or not, can’t come soon enough. 

We might have lost hope for a normal first day, but let’s stay home so we have the best chance of having our last day be one in which we are together–on campus.