Los Angeles Unified School District students returned to school campuses on Monday, August 16 to begin their fall semester after staying at home and receiving online instruction during the previous school year because of the global pandemic.
There have been several regulations put in place regarding the coronavirus pandemic situation. Students are now required to wear masks at all times, practice social distancing and receive free COVID-19 testing every week, provided by the school district.
The return to in-person school has been a sigh of relief for many students who are excited about interacting with friends and teachers. but it has also been a source of constant worry for others who are concerned over the recent delta variant and the coronavirus cases. It appears that the majority of students at Cleveland Charter High School are excited to be back at school.
“I joined Cleveland High School as a student this year,” Yena Kim, a freshman, said. “The in-person schooling has helped me understand the material better and form more connections with the people around me.”
Yena also mentioned that in-person has been easier. Other students had concerns about the specific protocols included and were more skeptical about the measures taken by the school district to keep students safe.
“I’m excited about being able to interact with friends in person again. I feel like in person allows for students to be in a better learning environment,” Victor Lee, a student at Cleveland Charter High School, said. “However, I’m worried about the contact tracing protocol. I don’t feel that it is effective and needs to be taken with more caution.”
Jaden Lopez, another student at Cleveland Charter High School, agreed with Lee’s concerns.
“In regards to my worries over the return, what has to worry me the most is the close contact outside of class,” he said. “I think it is handled relatively well in class but it all goes out the window with the super crowded halls coupled with the one main path to walk down. Frankly, it’s a recipe for disaster. I just have to wonder how it may spread but it seems to be going relatively well considering the circumstances.”
Lopez also stated he was excited to be back in person.
“As are most people, [I am happy] to see my friends again in person so often. I’m also more fond of in-person instruction and compared to last year’s virtual learning. It is much easier to learn, at least for me.”
Nicolas Eisenberg, a senior at Cleveland, had direct concerns about LAUSD.
“I’m worried that LAUSD won’t share the test information with COVID and keep us in the dark before suddenly sending us back into distance learning,” Eisenberg said. “I’m excited to finally see my classmates and friends again and to have a traditional final year of high school, doing high school activities before going off to college.”
As the situation rapidly evolves, United Teachers Los Angeles is pushing for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement in LAUSD for eligible students. LAUSD, as the second-largest school district in the country, would not be the first to issue a vaccine mandate. Culver City Unified School District issued a requirement earlier this month, according to NBC, and other districts may follow.
Teachers are also advocating for tutoring to students who fell behind during the pandemic, classroom cameras for quarantine students, and scheduled office hours. LAUSD is working rapidly to address many of the challenges students are facing with their return to in-person school.