As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in California, especially in Los Angeles County, Diamond Bar High School will keep its doors closed for at least the first month of school, opting for a distance learning approach similar to the one integrated last school year.
In an email sent out on July 15, Walnut Valley Unified School District Superintendent Robert P. Taylor announced that the school year will begin virtually on Aug. 10 for a minimum of four weeks. In accordance with new state requirements, virtual interaction will be required daily and grades will be assigned during this period.
To address the concerns of parents and guardians, the district organized an online meeting on Monday during which Taylor discussed details regarding the reopening of WVUSD schools. The webinar was followed by a short Q&A session.
“Last Friday, the Governor mandated that all schools in Los Angeles County are required to open 100% distance learning,” Taylor said during the webinar. “He also announced that there was a mandate that schools in Los Angeles County, including us, obviously, cannot offer in-person education for students until the state removes our county, Los Angeles County, from the monitored list.”
According to Taylor, once L.A. County has been cleared from this list, families and students can choose between traditional, in-person education or distance learning. Updated safety measures for students who choose to return to in-person school will include mask-wearing, physical barriers, increased hand sanitation and deep cleaning protocols.
While students do have previous experience with virtual learning, some don’t feel completely confident in having regular classes held online.
“I feel somewhat prepared because we already did a month of distance learning last school year and I also took summer school online so I kind of know what is expected of me,” junior Michelle Slack said via Instagram. “However, next school year I’ll also be taking classes like [AP Chemistry] and [AP Calculus AB] and those seem a little bit more complicated so I’m worried it’ll be harder to grasp certain concepts through distance learning.”
Although DBHS managed to establish a solid structure for instructors to follow during its initial launch of the virtual learning program, many students felt they weren’t learning as effectively as they could in a regular classroom setting. Due to this, they think they won’t do as well academically when school resumes in August.
“[Learning] online was tough and it always will be as you’re learning from a screen and you can’t actively interact with your teacher,” freshman Annie Chen said via Instagram.
Despite their past encounters with the program and their preference for in-class lessons, many students feel that the school made the right choice by going online.
“I do think that this was the best option because I know a lot of [peers] that are high-risk and if they got [coronavirus] they probably wouldn’t survive,” senior Chandra Phung said via Instagram.