Returning to school for fall semester remains uncertain

Maribella Ambrosio

As the school year comes to a close, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is still considering various ideas on how to safely get students back to learning in the fall and get the proper education they need.

“Reopening schools is integral to the future well-being of our students as well as restarting the economy,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a May 29 weekly update. “However, opening our schools will not be easy.”

The new school year is scheduled to begin on Aug. 18. How classes will be conducted has not yet been decided, whether it will be in person or a continuance of distance learning or a combination of both.  This past week, the district sent a survey to faculty and staff to get their opinions on the reopening of the new school year. 

“As of right now, neither I nor my family feels safe to go back (to school), as much as we’d like to,” sophomore Diego Hernandez said. “We still think it’s too early and too risky to try.”

Thousands of students have been connected to their courses virtually and doing online learning since LAUSD campuses closed on March 13. However, educators worry about students’ academic growth since not every student logged into Zoom meetings or worked on assignments. Students will be able to learn more this summer, with more than 80,000 students and 5,000 teachers enrolled to be a part of summer school, according to Beutner in a video to the school community on June 1.

On June 8, the California Department of Education issued its own guidelines on reopening schools, just days after the state’s Department of Public Health released much-anticipated guidance. Health officials advise reconstructing arrival times to minimize contact between students, staff, and families and serving meals in classrooms or outdoors rather than in cafeterias. Cleaning and sanitizing will need to be frequent on touched surfaces, such as school buses and in buildings, such as door handles, light switches, student desks, and chairs.

The CDE also has Instructional Scheduling Model Options that contain four examples of what the next school year could possibly look like. Such as Example A in the CDE guidelines on page 12, which shows an example of a Two-Day Rotation where students report to school on two designated days based on grade level for in-person instruction.

“I wouldn’t feel safe knowing the virus is still out there and there’s no vaccine,” sophomore Allison Puc said. “My mom would feel the same way about it”.

Many students think that reopening schools isn’t a good idea since the U.S. has the most cases of COVID-19 than any other country. They and their parents worry that they might be infected by others on campus. 

“I wouldn’t feel safe going back to school and neither would my parents because they fear that either staff or teacher might have the virus,” junior Nathaniel Vargas said.

Students also miss being in school, seeing their friends, and being in a social environment. Being in a learning environment is also better since learning from home has affected many students’ education.

“I’d rather go back to school, as I just perform and learn better in that setting,” junior Patrick Bullock said.