Poway High School is planning to reopen its campus as soon as Nov. 30 with a new hybrid schooling system. The current plan is to split the number of students on campus in half, so one group would attend school on Mondays and Wednesdays, while the other would go on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays would be completely virtual, giving administration the chance to thoroughly clean the school.
Our staff believes there are benefits to in person learning, but some of us are unsure if they outweigh the costs that being on campus may bring.
Distance learning is challenging to say the least, and many students say they learn more efficiently when they are in the classroom. In person learning would give students the opportunity to ask questions with their teacher in the same room, and allows students to hear the answers to questions other students might have.
In class learning can also help prevent cheating since teachers are able to supervise students. When students are at home it is easy for them to use notes on tests and quizzes, even if the teacher directs them not to, which is problematic since the students may not be learning anything at all, and instead are simply getting the work done.
Another point we would like to make note of is that students are younger and most likely healthier, so we are less at risk for COVID-19; especially if our school thoroughly follows CDC guidelines. This is evident since there have been successful reopenings of high schools near us, such as Bishops High School and Temecula High School, which have operated without any issues. If we are careful, we should be able to do the same.
Students miss being able to get dressed for school and interact with their peers, so we are glad the school is considering opening sooner rather than later. It is also nice that students still have the option to stay completely virtual if they are uncomfortable being on campus.
Even with the option to stay home, our staff still has some concerns about the school reopening.
Cases of the coronavirus are on the rise, and San Diego County is nearing the purple tier once again, which would force our schools to shut down. Not to mention how easily the virus spreads.
We are concerned that small spaces like hallways and bathrooms may make it hard to adequately socially distance on campus. Although we are at less risk, youth are still able to become sick with COVID, and if they go to school with the virus unknowingly, it could become an issue quickly.
Adding onto this, not all masks are created equally. Some are made with thinner materials, and even if it is a good mask, it is hard to enforce their proper positioning on students faces.
We do not know how the school will decide to move forward, but if it decides to reopen, students and families must be assured there will be proper sanitary equipment and janitorial staff on campus. When COVID was on the rise, not even soap was provided in the bathrooms for students, so if we return to campus, we want the environment to be safe.
So, not everyone is comfortable with returning to campus this soon, but those who do may get the chance to experience high school surrounded by their peers once more, and sooner than we expected.