One-Third of Student Body Stays Virtual

Adrianne Salas and Yerin Hong

It’s time to go back to school! After seven months away from physical classrooms, students are finally returning. That is, all but 761 of us and counting. A whopping one-third of our 2,000-plus student population, has opted for one hundred percent virtual learning for the remainder of the school year. 


Although most students have decided to return to school, others felt that the health and safety of their families were more important than the in-class experience while coronavirus is still a risk.


Chanel Lau, a sophomore who chose not to return this semester, said, “Well, there have been more cases of COVID rising each day, and staying healthy is my first priority… No one knows where people have been outside their homes and may have caught the virus.”


But for some students, full-time online schooling is not an option. For example, members of the marching band are required to attend in person if they wish to continue to participate. 


For senior Austin Ariola, being part of the marching band plays a big role in his choosing to return, and of course, “I wouldn’t want to miss out on my senior year.”


Risk factors aside, many of the students who opted to go one hundred percent virtual have begun to favor this new norm over previous school years.


After getting a taste of the “home-schooled” lifestyle, senior Sua Jong said, “I just got used to online school and I’m really enjoying working from home. it’s more [efficient] to stay home and work. I personally like to work alone so doing school online has actually increased my participation.” 


For senior Daniel Jose, “I didn’t see much of a benefit going back. We would get the same work and listen to the same class as teachers would still have to teach online classes.” 


For other seniors, spending close to half of their final year at home proved to be especially painstaking since this is the last year for many to study alongside their friends. 


“For me, because it’s my last year of high school I wanted to make the most out of this opportunity to go back,” senior Emma Song said. “I really adapted to online learning but I knew I couldn’t stay at home for the whole year off campus.”


Daniel Jung agreed, but for a different reason. “Well, the whole idea of distance learning is great and all, but I’m starting to miss being like in the actual classroom setting and I guess I kind of took that for granted.”


However, neither option is a permanent choice. Vice Principal, Mrs. Tara Hathaway says, “This is a fluid process, if a family at any time chooses to have their student return to school, they are asked to reach out to the administration or counselors.” 


As of now, the campus will seem otherwise empty, with a third of its usual population missing and its returning population divided. Even so, whether they are returning or not, students seem to have both embraced and adapted to the many changes COVID-19 has brought to this school year.