Students struggle to acquire necessary credits admist pandemic

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Niamh Marren

The football field used to be packed with excitement (right), but now sits empty (left).

With the pandemic temporarily stopping all of last year’s spring sports and continuing the termination this year, many students are missing the necessary Physical Education (PE) credits they need to graduate.

Each sport is assigned a specific color, which defines at what risk tier the sport can be played at. More contact heavy sports can only be played in lower tiers such as yellow, while more socially distanced sports can be played sooner in high-risk, purple tiers.

The Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) has decided to provide the participating seniors, who show an interest in playing their sport and attend conditioning, with the credits they would have attained if the pandemic had not stalled the sports schedule.

“The school district determined that for senior athletes who had been planning on doing a fall sport, and the sport was canceled, those credits would be waived for the student,” Instructional Vice Principal Gay Buckland-Murray, said.

Unfortunately, the status of the pandemic is constantly varying, and the fall, winter, and spring sports depend highly on the rate of COVID-19 cases. For now, if the sport ends up competing, then the senior athlete would need to participate in that sport to receive their needed credits.

District-wide, the schools have primarily focused on waiving credits for seniors, so plans for sophomore or juniors are yet to be finalized. However, both have the option of taking a second year of PE or completing their PE credits through a community college.

“It would be beneficial if the credits for all affected students could be waived, as many students have planned their entire high school schedule around not having to take a second year of PE because of sports. Making a second year of PE required because of an unfortunate situation would disrupt that schedule,” Sofie Hai, a junior, said.

Distance learning doesn’t only affect PE credits. It also hinders student’s abilities to learn compared to how they previously did in class. Buckland-Murray expresses her concern for the difficulties some students face when learning the standard curriculum over distance learning.

“The main concerns that I have right now are for students who, for one reason or another, have struggled with D’s and F’s. We are trying to make sure that we have enough options for students to recover those credits, whether if it’s through Edgenuity or looking at our summer school options,” Buckland-Murray said.

While attempting to help students improve in learning over Zoom classes, the school also focuses on expanding their academic abilities by adding new courses to offer.

So although the pandemic has brought many changes to the academic foundation, the students’ learning environment is still the administration’s top priority.

“We got these recommendations for AP Environmental Science and Greentech Engineering from teachers because the teachers are talking to the students. We like to offer courses that the students will benefit from and that the teachers have an interest in teaching,” Principal Ralph Crame said.

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