OPINION: Should we go back to NTI?


Ty Boler

     It’s the second to last week of November. Sitting in gym class waiting to leave, my teacher suddenly breaks the news that we have to go back to non-traditional instruction (NTI) after only eight weeks of in-person learning. For the next couple days, papers fly everywhere and commotion is heard all throughout the school as everyone prepares for NTI to begin on the 23rd.

     NTI definitely has its positives and negatives. From an athletic standpoint, most students prefer in-person learning because it’s the only way they are allowed to play their sports. However, it also gives athletes more opportunities and more time to work out and train.

     However, if we step back, away from sports, NTI keeps everyone safer and decreases case numbers, which is statistically proven by the Northern Kentucky Health Department. 

     When we went to NTI, cases in the county decreased by about 600 cases. However, once we returned to in-person learning, the cases once again skyrocketed back up by nearly 800 cases. 

     Machines or devices used in schools are as effective as they can be. According to new Healthy at School guidelines, a recent study found that symptom screening that evaluated for all known COVID-19 symptoms and was conducted by health professionals in a hospital setting failed to identify nearly half (45%) of all pediatric patients infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, and 40% of those with COVID-19 symptoms did not have the virus that causes it. 

     In-person learning schools are regulated to have non-contact temperature assessment devices that help detect fever-like symptoms, but these machines don’t always pick up the symptoms or fevers that students are running which can lead to cases rising. 

     In addition to the physical health benefits of NTI, there are many mental health benefits. This is caused in part by the fact that students have more time on their hands. Over half of the school on NTI gets out before 1:00 p.m. compared to getting out at 2:11 p.m. or 3:05 p.m. With NTI, students have more time to spend with their families, on school work, and just to relax because they get all their homework done before their original times they get out of school, this gives students the opportunity/ freedom to excel.

     Students have varying opinions about going back to NTI. 

    Freshman Matteo Matteoli said, “ I personally like NTI more because it’s easier to understand things. I believe that the pros of NTI are that it’s a more comfortable learning environment for other students.”

     Teachers have varying opinions as well. 

     Art teacher Kristine Donnelly said, “My main goal as an art teacher is to make sure students have all the information they need from me to make great art work. Normally that happens in person and not over NTI.” 

     Although it can be more effective for students to be a part of in-person learning, overall it is safer at this time to keep doing NTI until the vaccine is provided to more people worldwide and numbers drop.