The Possible Return of In-Person School

Tensions are high as staff and students in the Camas School District will continue remote learning through the first semester. Although people throughout the community are upset that the majority of students are not learning on campus, there are plans in place to start slowly adding more students back in January.

Courtesy of Nora Melcher.

Remote learning has been tough for many students and staff members. The CSD staff has been working hard to make remote learning successful, but for some students, it has been a difficult experience.

Paige Frawley, a sophomore at Camas High School, said, “It’s been a lot more difficult to focus at home, and it’s hard to make new connections with classmates over zoom which makes school less enjoyable. It’s also hard to stay in the same area every day. When we were in person, we got to move from school to home every day which made it easier to focus on work.”

Remote learning has also been stressful for staff, as they are doing everything they can to make students learning experiences beneficial.

CSD Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell said, “Moving the majority of our instruction and learning experiences to remote has been a huge endeavor for our staff.”

In hopes of a return to in-person school, the staff at CHS are hard at work devising a plan to get students back into the building in early 2021. Even if students only enter the building twice a week, it would substantially boost their engagement and would allow them to slowly transition back to a semi-normal schedule.

CHS Assistant Principal Owen Sanford is one of the many administration members that has contributed to the formation of this hybrid schedule.

“It would be great to get students who want to be in the building, in the building. A hybrid schedule does that of course, but it also presents many challenges in order to make it happen. As with everything in 2020, it’s not simple, but if we can make it happen, it would be great to see students and staff in the halls again,” he said. 

As far as a plan for transitioning back to in-person goes, Snell explained, “Currently, about 20% of our students have had some sort of in-person opportunity.  We put a hold on expanding the opportunities until after winter break… Without any change to the COVID-19 rates or recommendations from public health, it is most likely that we will expand in small student groups by adding grade levels.”

Courtesy of The New York Times.

A board meeting was also held on Monday, November 14th to discuss the possible timeline for expansion.

Additionally, kindergarten students are attending school in person under safe conditions to receive the services they require for school. It is increasingly difficult for staff to establish a schedule when COVID-19 cases continue to grow in Clark County and the spread of the virus is unpredictable.

Many staff members agree that students need to enter the building, even if it is only twice a week, in order to increase their happiness and attentiveness in class.

Students also think that being able to go to school in-person would be incredibly beneficial for their mental health and learning success. 

Aynsley Bjorge, a sophomore at CHS, said, “I would be so much happier and I would love to actually meet and interact with my teachers and classmates. I also think it would allow me to be more organized and focused, which is what I need the most right now.”

CHS staff is determined to guide students towards success in the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, whether that be remotely on in-person.

Camasonian journalists Blake Harris and Nora Melcher contributed to this article.

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