DCIS is Exploring the Possibilities for the 2020-2021 School Year

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DCIS staff members are working to plan for all of the potential outcomes of this pandemic.

By Shivani R. and Mikah C.

As the 2019-2020 school year is coming to a close, students are growing more and more excited about the possibilities of the upcoming school year, scheduled to start in August of 2020. Children used to long for the days of summer when school was out of session, but now they can’t wait to return to their campus.

After being stuck indoors these past few months, and potentially continuing indefinitely, many of us yearn to fast forward to a lifted quarantine when life returns to some semblance of normalcy.

“Once quarantine is concluded, I would like to get together with my friends. I’ve rarely been able to see them and do not want my friendships to diminish due to the pandemic. One specific friend and I consistently had a tradition for the last day of school. I am especially anxious to do that in order for the tradition to continue,” said seventh-grader Aja C. 

Despite our hope for the future, things may never be what they were before the coronavirus changed our lives. However, it is unlikely that we will take social interaction for granted having lost the privilege of seeing one another. We will surely be more self-conscious about hygiene and health, having grown much more aware of the germs and viruses that spread through unintentional coughs and sneezes. Numerous people will also live in concern that COVID-19 will reappear later in the year.

“I am hopeful that more people will continue to practice good hygiene, keeping common spaces sanitized, and continue good hand washing. I think people are aware or more educated about germs and the spread of any illness, not just COVID-19. I think for a while we will see people wearing masks and practicing social distancing when out and about,” said seventh-grade teacher Mrs. Harris. 

Some people may prefer the slow-paced life of working from home having had an opportunity to experience it. More and more businesses will be run from the comfort of the home after this pandemic. Also, entertainment will continue to evolve through the early release of first-run movies as the theater industry transforms itself from destination viewing through the availability of large screen TVs and surround sound systems. In addition, online hobbies like singing, piano, even second-language learning, have moved online in an effort to meet the needs of those who desire flexibility. Nearly everything has gone digital or will have the expectation to do so. 

“I feel there will be a continual increase of online shopping and the use of delivery services such as Postmates and Instacart. The workforce for many may change as employers that can monitor productivity for those working from home may continue to allow telecommuting after the stay at home order has ceased,” said DCIS parent Vanessa Macedo. 

Businesses that have failed to prepare or adjust to the sudden lockdown are in a disastrous state. Planning ahead and adapting quickly have become essential, as people look to the future while currently being stuck at home. Even DCIS staff members have begun to plan ahead, creating optional work over the summer for students to prepare for the upcoming school year and remain engaged in learning. 

“All the 8th grade ELA teachers have put their heads together and come up with a suggested list of activities that students can choose from to make sure they are primed and ready for high school. For those students taking Honors classes, they are also linked to their high school website that has the Summer Homework for the Honors Program,” said eighth-grade teacher Mrs. Morrison. 

With the fear of encountering another virus or a second wave of COVID-19, schools have begun to consider different options for the upcoming school year. Staggered schedules have been considered after a recent press conference in Sacramento. San Bernardino County has contemplated the idea of allowing only half of the usual amount of students in each classroom to attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. Students would only attend school on particular days or for certain periods of time during a school day. 

“Luckily, unlike the early elementary years where teachers teach very fundamental skills and students don’t have comprehensive computer skills, we middle school folks can adapt more readily to varied schedules and modalities. I also know Dr. Judson (Etiwanda’s superintendent) and his advisors will come up with the best solution for all of us. But, the day of the busy crowded gym or MPR at lunchtime is gone and will be gone for quite some time,” said Mrs. Morrison. 

Some people continue to push for online classes through platforms like Zoom or Google Meets, expressing discomfort with having campuses open while the virus is still at large. The convenience of learning at home remains a realistic option. 

“We are only speculating, so I do wonder if we’ll have days that we physically come to school and days that are reserved for distance learning. Or will we have staggered start times- like morning or afternoon. Then I think about logistics for parents with multiple children and teachers and staff with kids in school as well. This has the potential to get very confusing very fast. I am hoping that by the summer, we will have more information and guidance from our state superintendent,” said Mrs. Harris. 

Though Day Creek Intermediate School staff is preparing for all potential outcomes in light of the pandemic, administration seems intent to bring back routine and a sense of normalcy. Even if we have to do Distance Learning or staggered schedules, the staff will attempt to make the 2020-2021 school year as memorable as possible. 

“Next year, we might not be so lucky if we start out as 100% Distance Learning. So, we teachers are going to have to put our heads together right from the beginning and see what we can come up with so that we can connect with our students, our students can connect to us and to each other. But Day Creek teachers are just like our students; we are always up for the challenge!” said Mrs. Morrison. 

This story was originally published on The Day Creek Howl on May 19, 2020.