Community service requirement should be cut down due to COVID barrier

Ava Serafino

An important requirement to graduate from Wilson is 100 community service hours. While community service is an important part of the high school experience, COVID-19 creates an entirely new barrier to completion.

 Wilson advises students to pace these by 25 hours a year, so it seems only fair to lower the requirement by at least 25 hours to make up for the lost time and to allow students to complete the requirement at a reasonable pace. Accordingly, DCPS should adjust the requirement for the classes of 22 and 23 or for everyone. 

I understand why we have this requirement, but with the last year and a half off, it was and still partially is difficult for people to get out safely to complete these hours. Even with all that time lost, upperclassmen at Wilson must figure out a way to make up for all these missing hours while juggling college applications, classes, and extracurriculars. 

The class of 2023 must study for things like the ACT and SAT and, on top of that, get 50 community service hours this year to make up for lost time. How is that fair? Wilson advises students to pace these by 25 hours a year, so it seems only fair to lower the requirement by at least 25 hours to make up for the lost time and to allow students to complete the requirement at a reasonable pace.

Even before the pandemic many students struggled with obtaining all of their hours. Imagine how difficult it is to complete the requirement with our world’s current circumstances. There’s no better time than now to cut down on the graduation requirement of community service. 

It feels like DCPS has a double standard, simultaneously preaching COVID safety, but at the same time expecting people to meet a community service hour requirement during a global pandemic. Until COVID cases decrease significantly, community service hours should also decrease. 

Since, for now, getting 100 hours is unavoidable, make sure you’re staying safe while volunteering by always wearing your mask and make sure the environment you are working in is COVID-safe. If it still makes you uncomfortable to be in a place that is not school or your home, the best option may be to find ways to lend a helping hand virtually.