After a great deal of preparation and labor, Arcadia High School (AHS) reopened for in-person learning on Apr. 20.
AHS students and their families were offered the choice to return to school for in-person instruction or stay in distance learning. Most students in the Arcadia Unified School District (AUSD) opted to remain in distance learning, with only about 38% of students returning to in-person schooling.
Students returning to AHS for in-person learning keep the same class schedule and teachers. They attend school on block days, which is from Tuesday to Friday. For the most part, as many teachers are teaching in-person and online students concurrently, in-person learning remains the same as virtual learning.
In-person students are required to follow specific health and safety guidelines. These include wearing a mask while indoors, social distancing, and following marked pathways. Both students and staff have their temperature taken and complete a health screening form every day.
Classrooms are equipped with hand sanitizing stations and high-touch surfaces are frequently sanitized. To maximize air circulation, windows and doors are kept open. Teachers use various safety measures that differ depending on the number of students present in each classroom and the availability of materials, such as the installment of plexiglass barriers and the use of seating charts that place students far apart from each other.
Before reopening, AHS improved the filters and ionizers used in its heating, air conditioning, and ventilating systems. Teacher workstations were upgraded by AUSD’s Technology and Information Services team. 200 new access points were installed to improve internet connection all over campus.
Reopening has given teachers the added responsibility of managing classes with online and in-person students.
“I know some teachers are a little bit more stressed than others, and the school administration has been going really well about trying to communicate all of the information as much as possible,” said AP Biology and AP Environmental Science teacher Mr. Peter Vo.
Though the year has been difficult, he added, “It has made me really emphasize the fact that whether it’s in person or whether it’s online, the most important thing for me as a teacher is the relationship that you can build with students.”
Hopefully, the transition into this new learning environment will continue smoothly for both students and teachers.
“We just have to keep supporting each other and being kind, knowing things aren’t going to work perfectly,” said AHS Principal Angela Dillman on the topic of reopening. “But if we can remember how important it is to get back to normal, then we’ll all be moving in the right direction.”
Photo courtesy of ARCADIA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT