GUSD plans for secondary return meet with student opposition and concern


Jennifer Davis

Clark classrooms prepare for the arrival of students who are returning to a hybrid learning program.

With GUSD’s recent survey asking if parents would allow their children in secondary schools to return to in person instruction, there has been a lot of opposition to the reopening of schools by students. 

Junior Nicole Matar feels like it isn’t worth it to return back this semester. “We only have a little over two months left and only going for two days a week and leaving before lunch,” Matar said. She thinks it would make more sense to go back to school in the fall for the new school year instead since it would be easier for everyone to adjust. 

On March 26, GUSD parents of high schoolers received a survey form regarding the Board of Education’s plan to return to in-person school for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. 

The plan started to go into effect when Los Angeles County moved into the Red Tier for COVID-19 transmission, which was the requirement the government said for counties to be in if they are planning to reopen. With elementary schools already moving to in-person instruction, it was a matter of time before the district decided to see what to do with the middle and high school students. 

Not only do many students feel like going back to school is unnecessary at this point, there have also been safety concerns from parents and students alike. 

Students like junior Alec Mnatzakanian don’t feel like returning is worth all the risks that come with it especially since he and his family members have yet to be vaccinated. “I’m also not too comfortable with the idea of being on the bus with a lot of other students too,” Mnaztakanian said. 

The only alternative he has is for his mom to drive him to and from school, despite her working throughout the day. This also brings up the issue many working parents have with the return to school plan as well, since they don’t want their children to potentially be exposed to anything. 

Clark teachers, such as English teacher Jennifer Davis, have been going to school at least twice a week, some being there every day, to teach from their own classrooms. Davis says that she goes “to just be at my desk and be at my workplace.” 

She explains that if some students do return to in-person learning, she has to simultaneously be attentive to the students who are on Zoom, adding to her workload. “That opens up a whole new challenge because now I’m no longer having to just interact with this device [computer], I also have live students in front of me,” Davis said. 

This brings up some questions many teachers have thought about: how will they give equitable time to both groups of students without focusing on one more than the other, and how will assessment be fair to both groups. Many have expressed that they think it’s irrelevant to make these types of drastic changes with such little time left of the school year.

Senior Leo Shahbazian was happy when he found out that students would have the chance to go back to school and that he would have the chance to see his friends again. “The decision to go back was easy,” Shahbazian said, “since I have two classes each day right now so it’ll be easy, short days.” 

Although Shahbazian was worried that the school district would be making some sort of “elaborate hybrid schedule” he says he’s willing to take the chance. “I don’t think it’ll be any better with a hybrid learning schedule, but at least it’s different,” Shahbazian said.