The East Side Union High School District is postponing the reopening of schools due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. Superintendent Chris Funk said that the district will still continue with distance learning for the rest of the school year unless a widely available COVID-19 vaccine is out. The district does, however, offer some in-person learning at some of its campuses as the current health order doesn’t affect schools. This in-person learning is mainly for students struggling with distance learning. This includes students with special needs and foster students. If the district ever tries to go back to in-person learning or adopts a hybrid model, it will have to follow the guidelines set by the state and county.
In terms of the guidelines set by the state and county, schools may open for in-person instruction when the county has been in tier 2 of the reopening tier list. A county must be in tier 2 for at least 14 days for schools to be able to reopen. Schools that have reopened before the county moved to the purple tier may remain open. Schools that haven’t reopened, before the county moved to the purple tier, must remain closed. Only schools with grades K-6 may apply for a waiver to offer in-person learning. As for the safety precautions, Face coverings will have to be worn, social distancing will have to be implemented, and the capacity of the classroom will have to be limited. A full list of the state’s guidelines could be found here and a full list of the county’s guidelines could be found here.
So how do Silver Creek students feel about the probability of continued distance learning till the end of the semester? The Raider review did a survey to find out if students liked it or not. The results were mixed. Approximately ⅓ disliked distance learning while ⅓ stood in the middle. Another ⅓ of students surveyed voted in favor of distance learning. Silver Creek student Mercedes Lawrence commented, “Ever since we started doing distance learning I’ve been getting really good grades. It’s way less stressful and more organized.” Other reasons why students have grown used to distance learning are the environment of distance learning, the flexibility and freedom of being at home, and the safety of distance learning. Whilst ⅓ of students surveyed liked distance learning, there was a similar number of students surveyed who disliked it. “I don’t like it because I find it socially isolating. I don’t have that connection with my teachers and peers like I would during a normal school year,” commented Arianna Cisneros, a student at Silver Creek. It was hard to concentrate and learn as well for those students. They also say they are missing out on experiencing high school. Additionally, ⅓ of students surveyed were neutral on the matter. Vanessa Barreiro noted that “I’m like 50/50. I kind of like that we get to stay home and not really have to “look” presentable if we have our cameras off. But I really wish I was able to spend my freshman year in-person.” They like some aspects of distance learning, like the flexibility and freedom of being at home and the safety aspect, but also hate some aspects of distance learning like the difficulty to learn on Zoom.
While opinions differ on distance learning, Silver Creek will remain closed for the current foreseeable future. But let’s not focus on that, let’s focus on the bright side. Life will return back to normal as soon as everyone gets vaccinated. We’ve almost reached the light at the end of the tunnel.