Sunny Hills High School students leave the west side of campus toward Amerige Heights homes on Friday, March 13, after sixth period ended knowing that they will not have to return until Monday, March 30. (Photo by Aliyah Ahmad)
Sunny Hills High School

FJUHSD changes online distance learning start date

Sunny Hills High School will be closed to students starting March 16, an email from Fullerton Joint Union High School District superintendent Scott Scambray stated. District officials said that distance learning will begin on Wednesday rather than Monday as previously scheduled, subtracting two days worth of instruction before spring break starts.

Because of the ongoing coronavirus threat, “All FJUHSD Schools will be closed to students and parents beginning [today],” according to an Aeries communication email sent on Sunday. 

The notice referred readers to the district website, FJUHSD.org, for further information.

“These are unprecedented times for the FJUHSD and every other district throughout our county and state,” Scambray wrote in a letter Sunday, posted as a PDF file on the district website and addressed to parents, guardians and students. “District administration has participated in daily conference calls with the County Superintendent and other OC District leadership teams. As you can imagine, issues relating to the Coronavirus are changing rapidly.”

Although distance learning will now start Wednesday instead of today, Scambray goes on in the letter to tell students that they “may log in to Google Classroom beginning [today], in order to view a brief message from each of their teachers regarding distance learning, which will begin Wednesday.”

Scambray added that starting Wednesday, “all teachers will post to Google Classroom instructional lessons for each period they teach. Teachers will be accessible through email and Google Classroom to assist students and answer student questions. Students will need to login into their Google Classroom accounts on a daily basis in order to access and complete the lessons provided by each of their teachers.”

Scambray’s letter did not mention anything about required attendance and having to follow the bell schedule from home, like the email notice principal Allen Whitten sent after school last Friday.

Classes will meet every day on-line according to the student’s normal daily schedule,” Whitten wrote in the notice. 

That left several students more worried as to how Aeries attendance will be taken.

I’m relieved we’re starting school on Wednesday since that means more time to rest and work,” junior Elizabeth Tamayo said. “But that leaves three days of school before spring break, which is a bit confusing.”

English teacher Scott Rosenkranz said he was glad that the district was supporting teachers who needed time to plan for online instruction. 

“Right now, there are a lot of people who don’t know where their next paycheck is going to come from, who are worried about childcare, who have to cancel plans, vacations, and even weddings,” Rosenkranz said. “And there are a lot of folks who are vulnerable to a virus for which we have no vaccine.  These things put the mere inconvenience of having to shift around my instruction into perspective. It is no big deal. I can roll with it.”

Honors Chemistry teacher Andrew Gartner took to posting information to his students Sunday night after the district’s release of information for how this week will be handled by educators.

“What our online instruction will look like is still being put together, and I will give you all more information about that as we get closer to Wednesday,” wrote chemistry teacher Andrew Gartner in his Google Classroom posting on Sunday.Until then, enjoy these two days off while we teachers get ourselves prepared to work with you online. I know you’re all dying to do some great [AP environmental science] work from the comfort of your own homes, but Wednesday will be here before you know it.”

Scambray’s letter concludes reminding parents and students that the coronavirus situation — with the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times reporting, as of today, 17 cases in Orange County, 335 cases in California and 3,774 cases in the United States — remains fluid, which could lead to other changes in the school year.

“At this time, students are scheduled to return to school after Spring Break, on Monday, March 30, 2020; however, this may change and we must remain flexible,” Scambray wrote. “We remain committed to ensuring the continuity of instruction through the use of distance learning, while we also maintain the safety of our students and staff members.”