Photo courtesy of @sda_mustangs on Instagram
The Reality of In-Classroom Learning
September 22, 2020
2020 has been a crazy year. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely turned the world around and has created obstacles we have never thought to imagine before. This includes the sudden shift to distance learning since this past spring; navigating Google Meets, digital assignments, and constant screen time have been just some of the immediate obstacles faced by students due to this change, not to mention the question of returning to school in person.
This year, we really don’t know what to expect in terms of learning. Will students end up in school after all? Or will online learning take over our education through the school year? Ultimately, there is no definitive answer, yet; things change daily, so we can never be too sure about the learning plan.
Whenever students and teachers are allowed on-campus learning, many new rules and regulations can be expected: face coverings and social distancing will be required for both students and staff, as well as the implementation of strict cleaning and disinfection practices and procedures, according to the district document, A Planning Framework for the 2020-2021 School Year.
Of course, there have been tentative plans to get students back in classrooms this year, and options for all-virtual, hybrid, and in-person learning have all been considered. “We’ve been really hard at work behind the scenes, diving into the logistics of supporting students and teachers, whether it be through the safety lens, the planning lens, attendance and engagement, and other logistical work on our end,” Assistant Principal Katie Bendix said.
What is the best method for learning amid a pandemic? Administrative members throughout the San Dieguito Union High School District have considered this question to a great extent, but there truly is no way of predicting what will happen in the future.
“Our main priority is keeping students and staff safe while also bringing people back to campus as soon as we can,”Bendix said. .
Between juggling social distancing mandates, mask requirements, and all other preventative health measures put in place, teachers and administrators have spent a lot of time considering the quality of education and ability to get a meaningful experience out of the school year. District officials have worked tirelessly to get students back on campus, and students are hoping to be back on campus after the second quarter, though that is definitely not guaranteed. The board of trustees voted to extend distance learning, so the expectations for quarter two are still tentative.
“We have opened up to small groups of students that are in need of higher levels of services and support, so we do have a small handful of students that are on campus,” Bendix added. “There are some pretty strict safety measures and protocols in place before a student can even enter campus.” Some of these safety measures include safety videos, agreements, mask mandates, expectations to maintain physical distance, and when possible, outdoor learning.
Additional safety measures have been set in place, such as portable hand-washing stations to increase the frequency of handwashing, availability of hand sanitizer, and a robust stock of masks for students’ use.
Members of the SDUHSD district care about balancing the health and safety of the school community, but another considerable aspect for the school year is the importance of mental health. Additionally, maintaining mental health has been a crucial part of distance learning. The PALs program has offered assistance whether that be resources or someone to talk to virtually this year.
Ultimately, a lot is expected to change within the 2020-2021 school year, and we still can’t say definitively what our Spring will look like. We don’t quite know what to expect, so for now, let’s make the most of distance learning, wear our masks and hope to be back on campus, in school soon!