To the disappointment of graduating seniors, Governor Gavin Newsom announced yesterday that all schools in California will likely be closed for the remainder of the school year.
“To all of the moms, all the teachers, all the caregivers, I know how stressful this is, trust me,” Newsom said. “I know what we’re asking of you over the course of the next few months.”
The governor’s announcement was expected after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recommended in a letter that was sent to all California superintendents on March 31 that schools be closed for the rest of the academic school year. The decision would be taken for the safety of its students and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from infecting the students.
“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing, it appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year,” Thurmond said in the letter.
Although both Newsom and Thurmond have suggested this closure due to the rapid spread of the virus, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has yet to confirm the closure of its schools. Previously, Superintendent Austin Beutner said schools would remain closed until May 1, with teachers returning to campuses May 4 and students on May 5.
With the likelihood of schools closing for the rest of the school year, many questions will soon arise about senior events, such as prom and graduation, and what will happen to them. The announcement will also most likely take the biggest toll on the Class of 2020 who had been hoping for a possible return to finish their last year of high school.
“Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to just get through this all,” senior Katharina Hanna said. “I’m actually becoming better mentally and I even have time to do more art and such, but I’m still stressed on passing my classes with the pile of work being given to us.”
Considering that the spring semester continues throughout the coronavirus pandemic, teachers have taken steps to further the education of students while they are at home. Many have transferred onto the Edgenuity platform that was offered to them as a way to continue instruction or using Zoom to continue face-to-face contact with students.
“It will be used as a wellness check-in,” Spanish teacher Glenda Hurtado said. “Definitely not the 100% teaching platform that we would like it to be.”
As coronavirus cases continue to rise past 213,000 in the United States, it becomes a priority to slow the spread and schools in states like Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Virginia, Vermont and now California have taken the step of closing schools for the school year in attempts to aid the cause. This week, teachers have been attending a variety of online professional development to help them transition to remote teaching or distance learning.
“As of now, spring break starts tomorrow and when we return to our remote virtual teaching we will hit the ground running,” Principal Pia Damonte said.