Life as a Distance Learner 21-22

Gina Campos, Photographer

In early preparation for the upcoming 2021 fall semester, parents and legal guardians of DUSD students were issued surveys via email during the precedent spring term to select a preferred method of learning for the 2021-2022 school year. With hopes of a full capacity return, the first (and more encouraged) of two options was 100% in-person learning-granted, with the uncertainties of the pandemic, extended remote learning was offered in accommodation to individuals uncomfortable or physically incapable of returning to campus. With roughly 4,400 -combined- new and returning students; the majority of Downey High’s student population has returned to campus for in-person learning. 


As for the remainder of students participating virtually, the motives behind staying home vary from preference of learning environment to fear of the risk of exposure to COVID-19. For students like senior Allen Sierra, the decision to stay remote was finalized by parents despite Sierra’s personal long to return to campus. 


“Like many of the other kids, I was put into online learning throughout the remainder of the outbreak, especially with the uprisings of the Delta strain and its effect on people all across Los Angeles County,” Sierra stated. “My parents did what any other parent would do, which was to be cautious and mindful of the health of their children.”


In comparison to the virtual system established by DHS administration during the 2020-2021 school year, Sierra comments on the unique experience of this year’s online protocols and how the influence of the return to campus finds itself present even in the ambiance of distance learners. 


“The teachers are very straightforward and most importantly, lenient with work compared to last year. Despite the limited classes and electives due to the majority of students and teachers returning back to campus, I’m very glad the school had the chance to offer distance learning for another year,” Sierra states, “I feel as if everything going on in person is also going on online.”


Looking ahead, Sierra shares his hopes to return to campus and utilize the skills that distance learning has encouraged back in a traditional classroom setting. 


“My intentions consist of getting my work done and staying strong. By second semester I hope to be back and finish off my senior year where I once started,” Sierra adds, “Online school has taught me to keep myself in check. This has helped me with school and in life in general, serving as a reminder to keep on going and continue pushing myself harder than before.”