"Lack of Communication" by Brynne Barnard-Bahn

EDITORIAL: Please just copy us on the emails

Country Day has really had a hectic time lately. COVID-19 and 2020 have really thrown a curveball at the whole world. Country Day and basically every school had to entirely reinvent the way we learn. And they’ve done a pretty good job.

 They’ve completely changed our schedule, our entire system of learning, cancelling items if necessary, like our class field trips, but often changing them to online formats, like the Rockvember activity on Zoom. Of course, part of all of these changes is communication.

The school does a decent job of sending out emails to parents about changes and important information. But there’s a problem. They send emails to parents, yes, but not that many to high school students.

Students should also be sent what is sent to parents, especially when most items are mostly relevant to us students anyway. It’s just an extra barrier in communication that we don’t really need. 

There are multiple examples we can point out. When school was originally going to start in-person classes, a lot of students had questions about how our schedule was exactly going to work. And a major reason so many of us had questions is because we never had the schedule sent to us beforehand. It was sent to our parents. We had to get our parents to forward the email to us for all the details.

The same exact thing happened with details about juniors taking their PSAT. Essential information — the day’s schedule, Pickup Patrol, where to go, what to bring — information that students really needed to know was sent only to the parents. Again, we had to check with them.

Or even, just on Nov. 10, when parents were informed of the county moving to Purple Tier but school remaining in-session.

Our parents should have this information; they should have this communication from the school. But some of the things the school tells them are related to us, the students. Our parents tell us when important things are sent out, but it’s not their responsibility to manage our high school lives, it’s ours.

We’re not asking for individualized updates for us in addition to emails sent to parents, we’re just asking for students to be copied on those communications.

Extending this theme of transparency and communication to our current hybrid schedule, the school is doing a good job with managing all the variables that come with our unique setup. 

We would just remind the school to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the school’s guidelines and county health decisions. Although it’s great to be in-person again, a lot of us are very nervous about safety Any transparency that the administration can give about its decisions would be helpful. 

The guidelines themselves aren’t the clearest. Most decisions are left to county health officials. They are the professionals, but that also means there’s not a lot of information on what exactly would happen in certain situations. There’s just an “it depends” answer. For example, if a student tests positive, others close to them would be asked to quarantine. Right now, that’s defined as sitting next to them on a seating chart. But would the entire cohort be notified? What about the other cohort?

Err on the side of caution. Students and parents want to know the reasoning behind decisions, the information on why decisions are made, so they can have a real picture of the situation.

 So, Country Day: keep doing what you’re doing, but please make sure to keep us informed. Especially us, the students.

— By Staff

Originally published in the Nov. 17 edition of the Octagon.

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