By Natalie Jimenez and Karlee Akesson
As the William S. Hart District welcomes students back on campus beginning March 29, children and parents have mixed feelings about the return after a year-long hiatus from in-person classes.
“At first, I was nervous. The coronavirus is no joke, but after learning about all the precautions they’re taking and limiting the amount of kids in her classroom, it helped me feel better,” said Marisol Mejia, who has a daughter in sixth grade. “I hated seeing her struggle with the online classes at home, especially because I wasn’t able to be there to help her because of work, so her going back is definitely something positive that we are happy about.”
While a complete return to campus is in the works, blended learning will help transition students in the meantime. This includes students physically attending two classes a week while the rest will be completed through remote learning.
In-person learning allows students to have hands-on instruction that they might not receive online.
“I’m glad to be going back. Going to school remotely has really been hard for me. I went from a straight-A student to having low grades,” high school student Jason Corona explained.
While some students and parents are thrilled to be back on campus, many still fear the virus and want to make sure precautions are being made to protect each student.
Safety is a top priority and precautions will be taken as students return to campus. All staff and students are required to wear masks at all times and sanitizing stations are supplied in common areas that are missing a sink to wash hands. Hallway traffic is controlled by exiting single-file to help overcrowding, and all work is done digitally to avoid passing materials around the classroom.
“I have mixed emotions about going back to school. I’m excited but nervous because I want to make sure there are precautions being taken,” said senior high school student Travis Corona.
In the event that a student forgets their face mask, the school district will supply their schools with disposable face coverings to provide to students who don’t have one. As students enter the campus, they will also be required to use hand sanitizer.
“I am happy because I will be able to see some friends again from afar or in classrooms, but still scared because my father has a condition and I wouldn’t want to bring anything that could harm him,” said senior high school student Natalia Veloz.
With the pandemic still going on, some parents are skeptical about sending their children, but could see how their children were struggling with maintaining good grades with online learning.
“To see my children going back to school physically is something that I needed to think about because of the coronavirus,” parent Carmen Hernandez said. “But knowing the precautions they are taking with classrooms, knowing that teachers and students and others will be wearing masks, I made the decision to say yes to sending my son back in person. He is struggling with online school and hopefully going back can help him get his grades back up.”
In the meantime, redesigning classrooms, social distancing, face masks, hygiene stations, and daily symptom checks will become the new norm for schools as we continue to battle with COVID-19.