Coronavirus: Schools are Closed!


Source: Dana Kim

On April 2nd, LAUSD made the decision to close all school campuses for the remaining 2019-2020 school year for the safety of all students, teachers and staff.

Dana Kim, Editor-in-Chief and Staff Writer

According to the World Health Organization, on January 30, 2020, the COVID- 19 outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Since then, many countries have advised their citizens to avoid large social gatherings and take serious measures to slow down and stop the pandemic. Closures of schools was one major effect of the coronavirus.

In just the United States alone, as of April 7, according to Education Week, “School closures due to the COVID- 19 have impacted at least 124,000 U.S. public and private schools and affected at least 55.1 million students.” 

State governors have made different decisions about their education system. Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, stated in a press conference on March 17 that all state testing for the remaining school year would be cancelled. He mentioned that requirements for graduation, grade promotion and final course grades would be evaluated as if those assessments did not exist. DeSantis also gave parents the option to keep their child in the same grade for the 2020-2021 school year. 

On March 17, Governor Laura Kelly ordered the closure of all public and private schools in Kansas for the rest of the academic year. Governors of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia made the same decision. Several other states, including California, recommended closure for the remaining of the academic year as well. 

Governor Gavin Newsom made the decision on April 1st to close all public schools in California for the rest of the academic year.  Newsom stated, “I just want to go deeply to express an appreciation to all the moms, all the teachers [and] all the caregivers. I know how stressful this is. Trust me, I know. I know what we are asking of you over the course of the next few months.”

Many school districts have decided to continue academic learning through online school. Board members, teachers, staff members and administrators of Los Alamitos Unified School District are doing everything in their capability to ensure this change is smooth and easy for all the students and parents.

Mr. Thomson, an eighth grade history teacher at McAuliffe posts daily check-ins on Google Classroom for his students. The polls range from silly questions asking which superpower you would want, to history related subjects, to how students are doing during this time. Thomson mentioned, “I want to see who is logging in and give kids a chance to think about something fun, silly or interesting that isn’t related to academics or coronavirus. I just want to make sure kids know they’re being thought about and maybe smile for a minute or two.” Thomson also believes the district wide virtual office hours, which allow students and parents to log into a live session with a teacher to have questions answered and receive help in regard to class work, are really helpful. He explained, “I think they are most helpful in terms of keeping kids connected to each other and to us as teachers. Especially in online learning I feel like that is a real challenge—if kids don’t feel connected and heard, it is hard to inspire them to learn.”

Just like the Los Alamitos Unified School District is adapting to online school, many other school districts have followed the same footsteps. Sydney Cho, an eighth grade student attending Calle Mayor Middle School in Torrance Unified School District has not been physically attending school since March 16. Cho has been doing online school, and she believes it is easier because you can go at your own pace, but it may be hard to find motivation. Similarly to our district, she uses Google Drive and Docs, Zoom for live sessions and online textbooks. In addition, Torrance Unified School District is using eTUSD, which is a safe website where students can upload their assignments.

However, it is not only schools in California that have started online school. Ella Galioto attends Ryan Gloyer Middle School which is part of the Seneca Valley School District located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since March 6, students in SVSD have been doing online school, or otherwise known as FID (Flexible Instructional Day). According to SVSD’s website, “Students are expected to log on to SV portal to access assignment information.” The SV portal is where all the student’s grades are posted, and teachers are able to assign work through that website. Galioto stated, “I like online school! I feel like it is easier because I can work at my own pace.”

During this sudden and unexpected pandemic, people have been doing their best to adapt. School closures may be a difficult change, but it is important for everyone’s safety. Stay home. Save lives.