OHHS reacts and prepares for HUSD school closures
Teachers prepare for school closure and students question future Class of 2020 events, graduation
As of March 10, 2020, no cases of COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus) have been reported in Hesperia or San Bernardino County. In an article published by the Victor Valley Daily Press, it states, “although cases have been identified in neighboring Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange counties” no cases have been reported in San Bernardino county. The coronavirus is not currently in Hesperia but in neighboring areas. Many precautions are being taken in schools in Hesperia and around.
The Los Angeles Times’ newspaper most recently addressed California school closures and what parents needed to know.
What if Oak Hills High School had to cancel school?
Students have pondered about the plans that would take place if they woke up one morning to discover that school was canceled. Paw Print Editor-in-Chief Savannah Godinez inquired information from Oak Hills High School Principal Michael Capps. At the time of the interview, Principal Capps explained that because there are no cases of the coronavirus confirmed in San Bernardino County, there is no plan for any school closures within the Hesperia Unified School District (HUSD).
The question remains, what if school was cancelled? Principal Capps confirms that, “As of right now we have not moved to that stage. The [HUSD] district office is keeping us surprised and informed. Yesterday I was with the superintendent and district cabinet and we have cancelled some events, some events will not be cancelled, but we are still following the protocol.”
On March 13, 2020, an hour before publishing this article, it was announced to HUSD schools’ administration that that Hesperia Unified Schools and surrounding high desert school districts would close their doors until the end of Spring Break. Furthermore, additional updates and information can be found via the HUSD website.
Options for teaching and learning
OHHS has opted to not have instruction for its students until the HUSD officials announce an academic protocol. Teachers have kept up to date with the ongoing reports about the coronavirus and the impact on schools and education.
“The coronavirus wasn’t taken seriously enough in the beginning without having the information,” English teacher Rodney LaMar explains to Paw Print photographer Kailee Figaro. “I believe that once we had the information it was definitely understood and was underestimated through social media.”
When Paw Print Archivist Isaiah Williams inquired English teacher Chelsea Parker, she said that she wouldn’t really know where to start if the school ever closed down. She would attempt to do online lessons but prefers to teach her students in-person and not over a computer.
Many teachers agree with Parker, but online teaching options are available.
Math teacher Jeff Bunyea routinely uses technology in his AP Calculus and Integrated Math II classes. If his classes had to be taught online, he had a plan.
“I would create all my videos on YouTube like I have been doing,” explains Bunyea. “Then I would create some sort of live, streaming type of thing where students can log in and ask questions they needed.”
For his senior class students, Lamar considered a few options, “[If the school were to shut down] I would use technology (as in Socrative and Kahoot and other sites) as a way of communication. Sites have reached out and said that they would help schools and teachers in this time of crisis. They talked about lowering the cost to help the community. … I feel like we should come together as a community and help those who have been affected.”
Science teacher Donna Bastian explained to Paw Print writer Destini Camacho that if school closed, Bastian would go about teaching her class by going online. Her plans include using Google Classroom and possibly a podcast. Bastian explains that, “Everything is on my Google Drive so I can access it from anywhere.” Bastian continues, “I think Influenza is worse than coronavirus. There are more deaths from influenza than the coronavirus.”
To prevent the spread, “The biggest thing is to wash your hands and be aware of everything around you.” Bastian advises, “Don’t touch your eyes after you touch a door or another surface. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t worry about your grades. Stay home try not to get better.”
Prom, Graduation, and School Events
Senior Brian Arlington-Frisch keeps up with the news on the coronavirus as well. He concluded that, “Our school’s prom will be in Riverside. Riverside is currently a “hotspot” for the coronavirus…I heard that our prom might be shut down because of this.”
Class of 2020 senior and Paw Print Editor Errajay Gilmer asked about the possibility of canceling a major event like prom. ASB representatives Jezzica Vasquez and Christian Castillo both confirmed that, for now, prom will not be cancelled due to the COVID-19.
The Senior class is asking many questions. Paw Print Editor and Class of 2020 student David Marquez wanted answers. He inquired about the Class of 2020 graduation as it is traditionally scheduled to take place at the Glen Helen Theatre (formerly known as the San Manuel Amphitheater) located in San Bernardino.
“I know that there are discussions about grad night, graduation and all of that,” Principal Capps explains, “It’s too early for that type of discussion.”
Principal Capps believes that in addition to coronavirus talks and fears, the weather is also something to consider.
“We’ll have to talk about those things very soon but I think as you get further down the road to April, weather patterns are going to change. Warmer weather is coming which is better for us being able to deal with all of this,” Principal Capps explains, as there was no further discussion with HUSD officials as of the time of the interview. “The flu season is going to be coming to an end … I know that we are very close to these events [and] in the next couple of weeks these decisions will be close to being modified or changed.”
With worried staff and students, the custodians are now taking the time to clean all of the student’s desks and chairs with bacterial wipes. This means with the time they are taking to wipe down, they will not be vacuuming classroom floors. Disinfecting the chairs and desks will hopefully help prevent the spreading of any illness and keeping our students healthy and safe. This action is all part of the Hesperia Unified School District Custodial Illness Prevention Plan.
According to Paw Printer staffer Allyson Patten, there are two custodial crews for OHHS: daytime and evening. Though the daytime staff maintains the day maintenance of the school, the evening crew are responsible for the evening disinfecting.
“I think we are taking the appropriate measures and precautions to keep the bacteria out,” explains OHHS custodian Jeff Pierce of the daytime crew.
An email sent out from HUSD superintendent, David Olney, states, “We have instituted an HUSD Custodial Illness Prevention Plan and are following the California Department of Health’s school guidance for COVID-19. We are currently in “Scenario I-Measures already underway to prevent the spread of COVID-19”.
According to Principal Capps, “Things are changing rather quickly and rapidly in some cases yet we are still taking the precautions needed.”
As of March 13, 2020 Oak Hills High School along with announcements from the HUSD Superintendent, Dave Olney, schools in the high desert will be cancelled from March 16th through the end of Spring Break on March 29th. On March 30th “[HUSD] will assess where [HUSD] are at that time and communicate to our community if further action is necessary.” Any updates and announcements will be announced via phone voice messages and text messages, along with the necessary media forums from HUSD.
In conclusion, Principal Capps wants the Oak Hills High School community aware and explains, “We do not want people to panic and to start believing things that people are spreading [the coronavirus] without the evidence to back it up, [Hesperia Unified School District and Oak Hills High School] are following protocol as needed.”