As the dust settles in staff and students’ minds over the announcement that school will bump up to four days a week of in-person learning, more questions and concerns arise, pressing school leaders to quickly rebuild what school will look like now.
District leaders announced new CDC guidelines that allow a three-foot rule between students, bringing in cohorts A and B in a four-day schedule starting April 19th. School leaders had expressed previously that the hybrid schedule would be the final change for the 2021 school year.
At its current status, cohort A has around 753 students, and cohort B has 694, meaning at this rate, the new schedule will welcome an estimated amount of 1,447 students.
In a survey that was sent out to over 350 students, 71.5% are going to school in- person and plan to stay that way, with 22.2% currently remote and planning to stay remote. The other 6.3% are planning to switch from their current schooling position.
Camas High School Dean of Students and lead administrator for COVID-related planning Seanna Pitassi said, “We have been working to brainstorm logistics as quickly as possible. The nice part is that we have many of the pieces in place already since students have been coming in 2 days a week.”
Pitassi said that administrators will be recalculating the capacities of classrooms, looking at how to keep all students six feet apart during lunches, as well as the number of students who will attend in-person learning.
As administrators are racing to figure out logistics, students are weighing the pros of cons of returning.
CHS Junior Kyle Kennedy said, “I like the four-day schedule because it’s way more simple than having to figure out which classes you have in the day. I also have no real concerns, I am really looking forward to it.”
Other students are facing great concerns with the almost full return to school.
Similar insights are shared amongst grade levels over the risk level for the volume of students that will be allowed inside of the building.
CHS Freshman Adelyn Cowan said, “I’m going to stay on 4 days a week schedule. Though it can be risky, I just feel like everyone in my family is safe right now, three out of five people in my family have been vaccinated twice. I just feel like it’s a little risky but I’m going to do it just because I feel it’s safe enough and I need to be in my classes. I’m not exactly sure about the three feet thing, but the four days a week is definitely a good step.”
Weighing the negatives with the positives, many students come back to the COVID outbreak that was caused by an off-campus party, which shut down CHS for a week.
CHS Sophomore Jada Lincoln said, “I’m concerned mostly with the covid cases. We’re still not out of this pandemic, so I feel like going back to almost normal will have a major effect on the covid cases. I mean in the first week back they had to shut down the school again since there were COVID cases, even though it was because of a party and not school.”
CHS Junior Lily Walsh said, “Honestly, I don’t really feel safe returning to school when we’ve already had so many cases. My peers are being irresponsible and I know that this behavior is going to continue. Even with vaccine eligibility being expanded on April 15th to everyone 16 and over, I know there will still be people who don’t get the vaccine. Plus, technically no one is fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving their second dose, so even if I was able to get vaccinated before returning in-person I still would not be fully protected.”
This schedule change comes several weeks after a huge schedule change, leaving students and staff with little time to adapt.
CHS Junior Grace Torres said, “I think the schedule is changing too much when we only have a little bit of school left. It doesn’t really make sense to change it this much. Just try again next year.”
The current schedule has an advisory period: a long block for teacher support. This allows for three lunch periods, which is the amount needed to have students seated six feet apart.
CHS Junior Conner Murphy said, “I grew used to the two-day schedule and was starting to enjoy it. There are always the concerns regarding COVID with more people too. I was hoping that with this change, the long advisory period in the middle of the day would be reworked, but I guess that won’t be the case”
Teachers are also feeling the burn of the carved-out advisory period that stretches over two hours.
CHS world history teacher Lori Thornton said, “There are a lot of good and bad… students who need the support can get that with this time, but it is a very long period of time to ask students, and teachers for that matter, to stay in one place.”
Numerous concerns and questions have been raised. The uncertainty follows CHS members into spring break, leaving only one week of school left until this shift to four days a week.