(File photo)
Orange County School of the Arts

Orange County School of the Arts closes for the rest of school year

The Orange County School of the Arts administration announced on April 2 that the school will remain closed and continue with distance learning until the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

“OCSA will continue online distance learning instruction through the last day of school on Wednesday, June 3, and the OCSA campus will not reopen for on-campus instruction until the start of the fall 2020 semester,” an email sent to OCSA students said.

As widely known, schools across the nation and the globe have started physically closing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the virus that broke out recently in the past few months, originating from China and spreading to the rest of the world.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 affects the body generally with sickness, but it focuses primarily on the respiratory systems. While at the beginning of 2020 the virus mainly impacted Asian and European countries, beginning in March, the United States advised people to self-quarantine. As of April 6, as reported by a live count from Worldometer, the U.S. contains the most amount of cases out of all of the countries around the world.

School closures were a part of the quarantine, with a staggering amount transferring to an online format with platforms like Zoom in March. According to CNN, 39 states closed schools as of March 18 in order to avoid the risk of transmitting the virus.

In the local Southern California region and specifically Orange County, school districts such as Irvine Unified School District, Tustin Unified School District, OCSA and more at first closed down their schools until mostly early April, according to EdSource.

For OCSA, the original school shutdown was planned to only extend until April 13, the day students were supposed to come back from spring break as announced through a mass email.

However, in light of the increasing number of cases and the worsening condition of COVID-19 in the US, according to OC Register, numerous school districts such as the Fullerton Joint Union High School District extended the closing until May some time into the closure period.

Now, OCSA has made the decision to also similarly continue distance learning, but instead of it being until May or merely a later date, the school has determined that students will not be coming back at all for this 2019-2020 school year.

As can be seen through an official news update, other Orange County school districts such as the IUSD have also made the same choice in lengthening the school closure on a large scale. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond has strongly encouraged all California schools to stay closed until the end of this school year, but an official order or enforcement has not yet been released to do so as reported by EdSource.

There have been a variety of opinions from students on this new development; many students are actually welcoming the augmentation of distance learning.

“Personally, I’m glad that the school closed and though I miss my friends a lot, I do feel safer. Now, I have a lot more time to spend time with my family and get some extra sleep. I feel like I really needed this break,” OCSA freshman Elizabeth Leo said.

On the other hand, there has also been sorrow and dread towards this decision and the immediate future it will bring.

“If COVID-19 doesn’t get me, the boredom of quarantine surely will,” OCSA freshman Annie Yan said.