Campus to re-open for hybrid instruction

New+Building+hallways+are+empty+as+students+distance+learn.+BOUSD+is+preparing+for+hybrid+instruction+to+begin+on+Oct.+19.

Karis Choi

New Building hallways are empty as students distance learn. BOUSD is preparing for hybrid instruction to begin on Oct. 19.

For the first time since March 13, when Brea Olinda Unified School District (BOUSD) campuses were shut down due to COVID-19, BOHS students will have the option to return to in-person “hybrid” learning on Oct. 19.

Students will have the option of remaining on a five-day-a-week distance learning schedule, or a “hybrid” option. Kerri Torres, Assistant Superintendent, said that the hybrid schedule will “bring students on campus two days a week, and the other three days students could be potentially live streaming with their teachers, or receiving asynchronous learning.” Students will be grouped into “cohorts” — A and B — to ensure that no more than half of the student body is on campus at the same time.

Dr. Joshua Porter, principal, said students will return to school with a hybrid schedule that “will not be all too different from what [we] are experiencing now, but students will be at the school site.”  

One change that both distance and hybrid students will adjust to is a slightly modified bell schedule. Joy Cordia, assistant principal, said that “adjustments might be made to allow for time to clean and sanitize between classes.” An additional five minutes — 10 minutes total — between classes will also afford more time for students at home to connect to their next Zoom sessions. 

Another change for in-person students: Face coverings and social distancing will be required, and masks may only be removed during snack and lunch, according to Torres. Torres said the hardest thing about planning the return to school is “accommodating for students and staff safety and wellness, and trying to create a learning environment that meets the standards for our health and safety guidelines.”

Other expectations include checks for COVID-19 symptoms upon arriving on campus; hand-washing or the application of hand sanitizer before entering rooms and buildings; and student desks cleaned by teachers between each period.

Cordia said that administrators are working hard to get students back on campus: “Being physically in school has a positive impact not only on learning, but overall emotional state and well being.” 

Students and parents have mixed feelings about the return. Linda Miranda, parent of a BOHS student, said, “I’m nervous and worried to send my daughter back to school so soon.” When asked if she would rather have her student remain online or return to campus, she said she’ll send her daughter back to school when it’s “safe to do so.”

BOHS parent Debra Monroe said she is not allowing her daughter to return to school yet and will hold back a little longer to see how “everything works with [COVID-19] and the school.”

Katelyn Wall, sophomore, said she doesn’t want to go back because she enjoys learning in the comfort of her own house, but also misses seeing her friends. 

Peter Segat, junior, said he is excited to be returning to campus for hybrid learning since he personally “prefers in-person learning.”

Senior Jyrmani Hartsfield said she will remain at home because she believes hybrid is “messy,” that it will add more to a teacher’s workload than teaching from one setting, and that staying home has improved her mental health.

Kaitlin Viramontes, sophomore, also said that she will not partake in the new hybrid schedule and would rather wait until everyone can go back full time to return to campus because hybrid seems “more difficult than it needs to be.” Her biggest challenge through distance learning has been staying on task, but prefers it because she can “go at her own pace and take [her] time on things that need more attention.”

Teachers are preparing for the adjustment of teaching on Zoom five days a week from home, to five days a week on Zoom and in-person. Summer Teal, AP Language and Composition teacher, anticipates that her classes will remain fully online even if students desire to return to campus, and her classroom will be paperless.

Sera Yoon, Korean teacher, will “continue to utilize the digital tools available to plan out and deliver instruction” to her students.

Some districts in OC have either returned to in-person instruction, or have announced dates for their return.

Hybrid learning bell schedule, which begins on Oct. 19.

Irvine Unified School District began hybrid learning on Sept. 24, and Fullerton Joint Union High School District announced that they will transition from distance learning to hybrid learning no sooner than Oct 5. Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District is planning on returning in a hybrid format on Oct. 14.

But while other OC districts, like Irvine Unified, have opted for block schedules (three 90-minute classes each day), the BOHS hybrid schedule will have all six periods each day, five days a week.

In order to ensure the safety of students returning back to in-person teaching, Orange County must keep its rate of new cases and percentage of positive tests at an acceptable rate of four to seven daily new cases, or 5 to 8% positive tests, for two weeks, according to covid19.ca.gov. To secure a return by Oct. 19, the city of Brea must maintain its current trends in non-medical public health interventions, such as face masks and social distancing. After this, the decision to reopen schools lies within each school district and seeks approval from the state. 

Porter said he looks forward to going back to school in person because, “school is so much more than what [we] learn in books,” and he “cannot wait for students and staff to create new memories this school year.”

When hybrid learning begins on Oct. 19, which option are you choosing?

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