Cutting Down On Community Service Hours


Lesly Hernandez, Co-Editor-in-Chief

COVID-19 has led to high school students questioning whether or not the community service hours required to graduate should be reduced.

The amount of community service hours recommended for students to complete each school year is 10 hours. With this recommendation, by the time a high school student graduates, they will have accumulated 40 hours of community service within the San Jose Unified School District.

However, after spending a year of school online, students don’t agree with the 40-hour requirement anymore.

COVID has been going around for more than a year now and as a result of the continuation, many businesses and volunteer locations have had to shut down.

Returning to an in-person school environment would make one think that businesses would open back up as well, allowing students to volunteer and earn community service hours.

This isn’t necessarily the case. Various businesses have yet to open back up due to them being dramatically impacted by COVID and the shutdowns. This makes it hard for students to find places to volunteer at.

Others may argue that even with many businesses still closed, there are still volunteer opportunities in other locations, such as schools and planning for school activities.

Although schools and other businesses that have opened back up can offer volunteer opportunities, students may not feel completely safe or comfortable jumping back into such an environment, especially after spending a year at home.

Wearing masks and putting on hand sanitizer are great things to do and everyone should continue doing so as COVID is still around. Nevertheless, students may still be uncomfortable around many students at once and some environments for completing community service hours require volunteers to be working closely together.

This would place student volunteers in an uncomfortable situation, some may say unsafe, as there isn’t much social distancing within these events.

Everyone, including high school students, experienced isolation during quarantine, which impacted them negatively, giving them extra anxiety and stress.

Current juniors at Gunderson were freshmen when the shutdown occurred. More than a year has passed and now they have even more pressure than they did before.

Whether it be getting involved and starting to plan for college, or getting more of a workload than the lower grade levels, current juniors are likely to have high levels of stress and anxiety, and reducing the amount of community service hours would help lower that.

The community service hour requirement was waived for the seniors last year and is being waived for the seniors this year. The amount of community service hours should be reduced for juniors this year as it would be highly beneficial for them.