Clark County restrictions may soon lighten up a bit, but there is still no end in sight for the Coronavirus pandemic. And as the bizarre end-of-year online learning wraps up, the debate over whether school will resume next fall in person or remain online is coming into focus.
On April 6, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced school buildings would remain closed through the 2019-2020 school year.
Despite this school closure, learning has not stopped; all schools were expected to begin online education by March 30. Since then, students have been receiving their education virtually.
Newly-named Camas High School Principal Tom Morris said, at this point, he doesn’t really know what the fall will look like.
“I think it is very safe to say that we all want students and staff back in the building in the fall,” said Morris.
At this time, Washington’s OSPI has not published or released any information whether that hope will be reality.
Camas School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell said district leaders are evaluating how online learning has gone for students and staff this spring in order to develop a plan for next year. Snell said they have surveyed staff and the community, along with students, to determine what is working and what is not.
“I was told that the return to school task force is hoping to have their recommendations out sometime in June. Even with the recommendations, I think we’re going to have to prepare for some twists and turns to whatever we plan for next year,” said Snell.
Indeed, students who feel this spring has already been a rollercoaster are bracing for more potential twists and turns.
Camas High School freshman Erin Mitchell says, “I’m really hoping we go back in the fall, but I am unsure that we will.”
“If we start our 2020-2021 school year in quarantine, I think I will just be prepared for not as rich of a learning experience than if I were at school,” said CHS freshman Natalie Peddie.
It is not just the traditional classroom students are missing.
“I miss my friends, sports, teachers, and actually being able to learn in a class environment,” said another CHS freshman, Gracie Buzzell.
She is not alone in missing “normal” school life. Peddie said, “I really just miss connecting with people and having a concrete routine to follow. Honestly, it’s hard to believe we were ever in school since we have been away for so long!”
For more information on how schools in Washington, including CHS, are dealing with the pandemic, visit the OSPI COVID-19 guidance and resources page.