San Carlos schools prepare to reopen

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Joseph Paris

Bailey Chinnan, Oliver Ansel, and Ben Taylor are all students that go to Tierra Linda. Currently, their school district is moving forward with their plan to reopen schools with a hybrid model. “I think that the quality of education, for a hybrid model, will only be marginally better and I don’t think that it’s worth the risk,” Chinnan said.

After a decision by the Board of Trustees, the San Carlos School District (SCSD) has begun moving forward with plans to reopen schools. 

SCSD has laid out a multiphase plan to transition from distance learning to the hybrid model approved by the Board of Trustees on Oct. 22. The plan allows families to choose between staying in distance learning or returning to school using a hybrid model. 

Currently, teachers have started returning to teach from campus, a phase that should be completed by Nov. 13. SCSD plans to have all urgent learners, a term defined by the district, return to in-person learning by Nov. 30. The date for the rest of the students to transition to hybrid learning is still yet to be determined.

At the beginning of this school year, distance learning was required by most Bay Area districts due to their counties’ health restrictions. As cases have gone down and restrictions lessen, districts have grown more confident in starting to reopen schools, including the Palo Alto Unified School District last month. 

SCSD attempted to address safety concerns by halving class sizes, requiring masks, enforcing social distancing, and implementing other precautionary measures.

Students have differing opinions on distance learning and returning to school using the hybrid model. Olivier Ansel, a seventh grader at Tierra Linda, thinks that the education he would receive in the hybrid model is much better than what he is getting with distance learning.

“I’m not really a good learner in this [distance learning] type of way,” Ansel said, “I like more of a hands-on project, kind of approach.”

Even with the benefits, Ansel still isn’t willing to return to school, saying, “I wouldn’t feel very safe yet.” 

Covid 19 by Joey Paris

Bailey Chinnan, another Tierra Linda student, believes the hybrid model’s benefits do not outweigh the risks.

“I think that the quality of education, for a hybrid model, will only be marginally better, and I don’t think that it’s worth the risk,” Chinnan said.

Ben Taylor, another Tierra Linda student, disagrees with Chinnan and Ansel and thinks the precautions will create a safe enough learning environment. 

I think that we are planning to go back if the hybrid model starts because it seems like it’s just a little bit easier to learn in person,” Taylor said, “I think we’re probably a little more comfortable going to school because people understand a lot more now how to properly social distance.”

Students still have time before they have to make their final decision because the start date of the hybrid model remains undetermined. For most students, their choice of whether or not to return to in-person learning ultimately hinges on how safe they would feel at school.

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