SABRINA TANG (News Editor)
Middle and high schools throughout Los Angeles are now eligible to return to in-person learning, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Health (LACDPH). As of Mar. 12, the updated reopening protocol published on the LACDPH website proclaimed safety guidelines and encouraged open discussion for public feedback.
According to Burbio’s K-12 School Opening Tracker, California’s pacing is the last among all states transitioning to in-person learning. With many concerns over safety and vaccine accessibility, the DPH has noted key statutes for schools to follow if they plan to reopen.
The state of California defines an open or reopened school as one that offers in person instruction at least one day each week to all students in at least one of the grades served by the school. In addition, block-scheduling or hybrid learning is highly recommended to limit the contact between students, teachers and other faculty. However, distance learning must be an option provided by the school for families who prefer it. Districts are free to determine an apt timeline for reopening and are not required to do so, an option supported by some students.
“I think schools should have the option for hybrid learning, junior Johnie Yuan said. “There are some subjects better taught in school than in distance learning. That said, I wouldn’t think many would choose the option of going back to school, due to the fact that COVID is still raging.”
Mandated mask-wearing will continue, as well as the prohibition of large gatherings. Classrooms, breakrooms, restrooms and other common areas are to be disinfected frequently. Eating and drinking are allowed during break times, indoors and outdoors, and any mingling between classes is strongly discouraged. Food preparation and distribution services must ensure six feet increments between students when operating.
For schools administering college admission exams, such as the PSAT, ACT and SAT, classrooms must contain no more than 14 students in each classroom with a distance of at least six feet between students and between students and teachers.
Nearing the end of the 2020-2021 school year, some individuals are hesitant to return.
“Students only have two months of school left,” senior Katelyn Luc said. “[The] Majority of us would agree to just stay home at this point.”
Some teachers have voiced their support for reopening the school under certain circumstances.
“In a way I would like for the school to be open again with the proper conditions, being safe,” statistics teacher Mr. Luis Lopez-Perez said. “I think it can be done, but it will take time.”
Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) emailed students and parents on Mar. 15, determining that students will remain in distance learning for the rest of the school year. However, the option for in-person learning is available after submitting a commitment form by Mar. 21. After-school sessions will occur on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and hours vary although they will most likely be during the 1:30-3:30 EHL time..
According to the district, schools will provide masks and other essential protective gear. Health screenings will be conducted for students and staff, as well as other hygiene practices. Plexiglass partitions will be set up in main offices, and facilities preparations will be modified to fit LACDHS guidelines. At this point AUSD plans to reopen for some students and teachers starting April 12.