New KIS attendance policies due to Covid

Complaining has become a daily exchange in our everyday regimens. But today, I’d like to challenge this commonplace routine that we’ve all become so accustomed to.

Weeks into the start of another school year, the PTO and administration have come to settle a new attendance policy for KIS students: seniors at school, virtual for the rest. After weeks and months of tedious social distancing protocols, the introduction of this policy has spurred discussions across our school community ranging from teachers and parents to bus drivers and the Hyundai catering lunch workers. 

First, let’s keep in mind that this “decision” wasn’t really an individual’s choice but rather a national command from the Korean Ministry of Education to all students of public and international schools in South Korea. In other words, whether you’re a student, a teacher, or a parent, you’ll have to stick with these policies, at least until they further revise our plans.

As a senior myself, I’m not intensely bothered by the new “senior only” policy. Not only am I breaking away from the unhealthy habits and temptations of virtual learning, but I am also enjoying the physical company of my peers (socially distanced, of course). Though the school feels a little empty, it is much less hectic. And yes, taking the school bus to school and back home every day is tedious and time consuming. But still, I very much enjoy the presence of being at school and just learning in real life. 

A great emphasis of this issue is directed towards the students’ perspectives. Not just seniors, but juniors and the underclassmen. Although individual preferences can vary, it is true that being present at school isn’t always the most favorable option. Some people think of it as a convenience to learn virtually, while others think it is an opportunity missed. What about parents? While some parents think their children are having valuable learning experiences taken away, other parents strictly disapprove of their children going to school.

So many perspectives surround this debate and they extend to the forms of arguments and more complaints. In fact, complaining has become a daily exchange in our everyday regimens. But today, I’d like to challenge this commonplace routine that we’ve all become so accustomed to. 

Why are we complaining in the first place? Remember back in March when we yearned to come back to school? Taking things into perspective, we are still international school students with a plethora of privileges. We have school buses comfortably taking us from and back to school. We have access to English spoken classes that are supplied by our online resources and expensive computers as well as internet connection. Are the school lunches not “tasty” enough? At least we still have access to consistent meals and besides, packing our own lunch is always an option. 

Simply put, we are still living under favorable circumstances amidst a very difficult time. Things could really be worse. Though everyone is being economically impacted (unless your mom or dad works for Zoom), most of our parents still afford to send us to expensive hagwons and provide allowances while assisting us in their full capacity. 

Things are and have been difficult for us. But let’s remember that there are always others struggling more. And more importantly, everyone is going through the same –if not worse – difficulties as us. And although many of us are fairly aware of these privileges, we could practice setting for a deeper consideration, at least before taking out our complaints.

Maybe it’s time to abandon our individualistic mindsets and make room for broader perspectives. You decide.

Featured image: John Oh (’21)

– SJ Yang (’21)

Sports and COVID

With COVID continuing to persist, is it worth it – or safe – to play sports?

Céspedes gets on-deck as cardboard fans look on

“Of all the unimportant things, football (soccer) is the most important” – St. John Paul II

Sports are a key factor in many people’s lives that affects both their mood and their enjoyment of life. Watching sports is entertaining and the organizations that sponsor these sports make tons of revenue. However, the coronavirus has thrown a kink into 2020’s sports plans. 

The NBA has arguably done the best job at managing the coronavirus. They’ve created a ‘bubble’ in which all teams, with their players and staff, are going to be playing in Orlando together. It has worked incredibly well so far in limiting the cases of coronavirus in the NBA to 0. The organization has successfully managed to organize games with 22 teams of players and around 1400 staff members without instigating any threats to public health and wellbeing. Clearly, the work that Adam Silver put into learning about the virology and logistics of containing the virus has paid off. 

However, less can be said about the MLB. The New York Times reported on the Marlins, Phillies, and Cardinals, all with coronavirus cases that caused delays. It was clear to Zac Shomler from Strong Opinion Sports that Rob Manfred, the commissioner of the MLB, has done a far worse job at setting an example for the type of conduct that was to be followed in order to prevent coronavirus cases. Although a bubble like the NBA would be more difficult to maintain for larger leagues such as the MLB, it was still poorly managed as to how seriously players and staff should be concerned with maintaining their safety. These delays make it harder for teams to go through with playoffs, as regular season games become more staggered. 

The NFL season has yet to start, but training camps have already seen cases of coronavirus pop up. Now, if a bubble with the MLB would be hard, an NFL bubble would be downright impossible. NFL teams would have 32 teams, with a roster of around 40-50 players each, and their own staff of around 3800 people each on average. It would be a logistical nightmare, and there is not even a facility to house that many people in order to have a bubble. However, teams have begun to check into hotels, so that there is less contact with outsiders. Teams and staff are living in their own hotels and going from training camp to the hotel everyday. According to the Washington Post, there were “56 players [that] had tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the opening of training camps,” but Allen Sills, the chief medical officer of the NFL, says that they expect more cases to arise, and that their goal is to quickly identify and prevent the spread of these cases. Even so, some players have begun to opt out of practice and likely of the season completely, given that it would even start. 

These struggles are universal as coronavirus takes an ever larger toll on the world. Professional sports, although entertaining, should be considered as a luxury of a time before the pandemic. The leagues outside of the NBA get larger and deal with more staff and players, making any solution that is reminiscent of the NBA’s a logistical nightmare. It is far more important that the health and safety of the players is considered, especially in the US where the handling of coronavirus has been far less consistent. 

– Sean Choe ‘21

Featured Image: Al Bello/Getty Images