Students To Return To Campus On March 29th

With COVID-19 numbers dropping, DUSD has opted to reopen schools. Students will return to campus on March 29th for hybrid learning. As things begin to approach a return to normal, faculty and staff share their thoughts on a return to Downey High School.


At the beginning of the school year, teachers found themselves adjusting to their new educational software, Canvas. Although difficult, they persisted and found themselves navigating the program and new teaching style with ease. Downey High’s economics teacher, Mr. Sanders, feels that through all the preparation and resources the district has provided, he is still ill-prepared.


“I absolutely do not [feel prepared to return]. I guess I don’t really understand the dynamic of teaching to a camera and a handful of people in person. That’s going to take time to get used to… I just don’t have any idea if teaching in front of a camera will ever feel natural.”


Through uncertainty of the new online teaching environment, some teachers found excitement through the newfound teaching style. With concern, they feel as if there are many benefits to hybrid learning. Currently, awaiting the start date, teachers like Ms. Macomber, find themselves eager.


​I am nervous but also excited.  I have missed seeing my students in person and being able to interact with them directly; I’m not sure anyone is ever really prepared for such a big transition and changing to hybrid instruction will be yet another challenge, but my fellow teachers and I have always been able to rise to the occasion,” Macomber said. “I’m pleased with the PPE the District is providing us with and hopefully, we will also be getting Ionizers in the AC units to provide added safety especially as we transition to summer and will be using the units more often.”


Though the faculty has been prepping for a return is some form for a while now, students are likely to prove far less prepared. The drastic change of a switch from distance learning to hybrid learning cannot be understated. Especially in store for a difficult transition, according to Dean of Students, Mr Alverez, are freshmen who have yet to physically attend campus. 


“I think it will be students having some difficulty readjusting to campus. After being out of the school site for a year and not having to walk from class to class will definitely have students readjusting” Alvarez said. “Also, some students have never stepped foot on our campus, that will be a challenge for them.”


The return to school offers in-person education that students may be able to benefit from. Many students felt the online learning environment was stressful and reached out to administrators, teachers, and even the district. In response, a new wednesday schedule was created, and they created a variety of resources for students to voice their concerns. Students returning to school through hybrid may face the challenges of following the new school guidelines, but teachers like Mrs. Wright of Imperial Elementary finds that in-person instruction may be beneficial.


“My hope is that for those students who return to the classroom, their engagement will increase and therefore, so will their grades.” 


Students had the choice between in person and distance learning for the return to campus, and according to Downey High Principal, Mr. Houts, 38% of students will be joining back into the classroom through the Hybrid schedule; about 1,400 students per week at school and roughly 700 students per day on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.


“The school board voted on [opening Downey High and other schools] last night. The school is opening Monday the 29th. Now we have 38% of students saying they are coming back which is about 1,400 students,” Houts said. “We’re going hybrid so kids [from each cohort]  are coming 2 days a week and teachers 4 days a week. I think it will be best to take it slow.”


In response to the worries students have of how strange and quarantined the school will be following the return, Mr. Houts stated that “the school will take measures to keep the numbers down, and as we move down into lower tiers [of COVID-19 cases], we will add snack and maybe lunch into the mix as we have been discussing how to bring things back to normal.” 


The official return date for Downey High school and other DUSD schools will be March 29th. Further updates will be sent and posted by Downey Unified through parent emails.