Hybrid learning to begin on March 22 for secondary schools

Information released regarding hybrid learning plans

Students who chose hybrid learning will return to campus on Monday, March 22 after Ventura County moved into the red tier on March 17. The district released safety protocols and other information in a StudentSquare and ParentSquare announcement.

Students who opted to continue distance learning will not be affected, but those who opted for hybrid learning will return in two cohorts, Hybrid Groups A and B. However, the school will close again if instructed to by the Department of Public Health or the California Department of Education.

“The administration has been preparing for a return to school since before the Winter break in the event that we were able to return in January,” Oak Park High School Principal Kevin Buchanan said. “We have kept our plans at the ready for when we are in the red tier.”

On campus, students will be required to wear masks with straps that go behind their ears or neck and stay six feet apart from each other without exception.

“All classrooms and outdoor spaces have been configured to accommodate this social distancing requirement,” the announcement reads. “While students walk from one classroom to another and enjoy break times, they must stay 6 feet apart from other students and staff members.”

Additionally, students will be checked for signs of COVID-19 each time they arrive on campus. One way they will screen students is with a health screening form that will be completed on the StudentSquare app. A video delineating the process is available here. In addition, students must complete the Daily Health and Medical History Form available on ParentSquare prior to entering school.

“It is important for the safety of our staff and students that students comply with the safety protocols. Students who do not comply with safety protocols may be moved to Distance Learning for the remainder of the semester,” the post reads.

According to Buchanan these screenings are very important to the success of the reentry plan.

“We are finally able to open and resume some more of our activities because everyone is taking extra care to observe the safety protocols,” Buchanan said. “It’s critical to the success of reopening that all students complete the screening every day and behave responsibly so that we can contact trace if someone gets sick or tests positive.”

Coming back to school physically is a change that, for some students like senior Saanvi Athota, may feel uncomfortable or like a new experience altogether.

“It’s a bit nerve-wracking since I haven’t been to school in a year and I don’t really remember how it feels to sit in a live class, but I think I really need a scene change from my room so I’m excited to be able to walk around campus and stuff,” Athota wrote to the Talon.

For some students, this will be the first time they set foot on campus. Hybrid students in their first year at OPHS are able to tour campus on Friday, March 19. The tours will be one hour in length. Hybrid Group A will begin their tour at 11:30 am, and Hybrid Group B will begin their tour at 1 pm.

Additionally, students will need to bring their Chromebook, charger and wired headphones to class.

“Our Technology Team recommends the headphones have a wire that physically connects to the Chromebook as there may be issues with too many wireless headphones in one classroom. Students who do not have a pair of wired headphones can collect a pair from the Student Store,” the post reads.

Lockers, including PE lockers, will not be available. Students can request an Off-Campus Pass here, and students will not be required to obtain a pass to park in the student lot.

According to Buchanan, reentry is not without its challenges. The obstacles faced by the district have evolved over time.

“Some of the challenges were initially related to scheduling the DL and Hybrid Cohorts to ensure that we could accommodate students safely in classrooms,” Buchanan said. “More recently, our challenges are related to making sure that all teachers are set up with the tech support they need in their classrooms to interact with the students in Distance Learning as well as Hybrid Learners in the classrooms.”