By Snehal Shinh
Monday morning of April 19, 2021 saw the beginning of a return to in-person instruction. The ASB’s efforts were not unnoticed as their hard work played a huge role in the transition back into campus, along with the larger on-campus student body. Students, old and new, were met with decorations as they entered through the tiger tunnel and posters were placed throughout campus. The lighthearted rivalry between the classes through the Clash of the Classes and a spirit week with lunchtime activities added to the school spirit
For many students, this was their first experience on campus, but thankfully, ASB and Link Crew worked together to give aid and directions to anyone that needed it. Link Crew members met early Monday morning at 6:30 AM, handing out locator cards, and giving tours of the campus before and throughout the rest of the day. Robecca Bonet-Correa, a Link Crew Advisor and AP Environmental Science and Biology teacher, comments, “I had a freshman in one of my classes who needed help finding her art class. I was able to track down a link leader and they helped direct her to her class. I know that the student was very grateful for Link Leader’s help.”
How a Comeback was Possible
Valencia’s first day back went successfully through the meticulous organization and planning done by the Placentia Yorba-Linda School District. This comeback for in-person learning would have not been possible without the updated guidelines. Students and staff on campus continued to wear masks and plexiglass barriers remained on desks. With the new guidelines for social distancing in classrooms being three feet, teachers accommodated space by reconfiguring their classrooms and removing unnecessary furniture. An update by the district listed many of the new measures such as an enhanced disinfecting protocol and upgraded MERV-13 filters for all air conditioning units.
Overall, students on campus were doing their part to remain safe on campus; however, in the instances these guidelines were not followed, students would be given a warning with the potential to face remote learning for the remainder of the year if offenses continue. Additionally, students were no longer allowed to switch between in-person and online instruction, resulting in in-person students marked as absent if not on campus, with the exception of Covid-19 diagnoses for mandatory quarantine.
The Big Why
“The push for combining cohorts happened because we had the space available,” stated Paige Stills, Valencia’s assistant principal. Assistant principal Stills believed that students need the social interaction that comes with learning in person as much as the academic aspect. Of course, there are plenty of students that have enjoyed-even excelled in online learning, so the opportunity to continue learning online remained.
According to the district, the plan for next year is to be fully in person. Stills stated, “[distance learning] is in response to a pandemic that we’ve never had before. This is not going to be the norm for teacher instruction.” Remaining hopeful, Stills believed that by fall Valencia will be making a full comeback, as long as cases lessen and the number of vaccinations increase.