LPS announces that all high school freshmen may return to school full time


Photo by Emily Stoner

Lauren Van Treeck, Staff Writer

On Feb. 12, Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) announced that all ninth grade students and their siblings could return to school full time effective Feb. 22. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) also recommended that any 10th or 11th graders who have tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 1, 2021 could also return to full time in-person learning. LPS has been working closely with the LLCHD in order to make this decision. 

Currently, the COVID-19 Lancaster County Risk Dial is at its second consecutive week in the mid-yellow category. The mid-yellow category signifies that the risk of the virus spreading in the community is moderate. The Risk Dial is based on indicators from the previous three weeks: the rolling average of daily cases is dropping, the positivity rate has increased (which is why there is still a moderate risk) and the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized locally has been relatively low. 

Many Lincoln Southeast High School (LSE) freshmen students have taken advantage of this new opportunity, including Itai Trainin (9).

The announcement came as a surprise to many students in LPS. Following the return of seniors, freshmen were full of questions about their own return. 

“I felt good, but also in the same sense I was asking myself ‘Is this the right decision for the school to be making [regarding COVID-19] by bringing so many students back, including the siblings of all the freshmen,’” Trainin said. 

Trainin, like many students, had to weigh the pros and cons to returning full-time. Many concerns, such as increased risk of COVID-19 exposure and increased effort to attend school each day, can be daunting. However, Trainin ultimately decided to return. 

“I wanted to come back full time mostly because a lot of my friends were coming back, so I didn’t want to be the only person on Zoom while everyone else was in person,” Trainin said. Also I have a brother, who’s a junior, and he really wanted to come back.” 

Since returning to school, Trainin has been surprised by the amount of classmates he has in his freshmen classes, which is somewhat nerve-racking for him. 

“A lot of my classes are super filled up and we only have a few extra seats, when before, we could all sit diagonally or spaced out, and I can’t really do that anymore, and that’s kind of concerning,” Trainin said. 

Trainin feels safe for the most part, despite a few worries. LPS has been continuing its COVID-19 precautions by requiring face masks, having desks sanitized after each period and providing plexiglass dividers during lunchtime. 

Even though Trainin is uncertain about some things, he feels as though his motivation has been on the rise since returning to school. 

“It’s been a little chaotic because there’s just so many people. (The classes) just filled up and it’s very different. “It’s not necessarily a good or a bad different, but it’s definitely different from how it was when it was A/B,” Trainin said.

While there are concerns and nerves about returning to full time in-person learning, Trainin is excited for what new opportunities lie ahead.