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Sunday, May 9, 2021

No-show high school students reject COVID reopening rules - Los Angeles Times

No-show high school students reject COVID reopening rules - Los Angeles Times
California high schoolers are saying no thanks to reopened campuses and are staying home

During the first week of in-person learning at Panorama High School, drama teacher Patricia Francisco stood in the mini-theater talking on Zoom to her acting class. Two stage lights brightened her face as she spoke to her camera. Students were logging in from home, or from classrooms scattered around campus. Most appeared as black boxes on her screen.

“You guys who are on campus — I’m so proud of you for being here,” she said. “Those of you who are at home — we can succeed in any environment that we are ending up in.”

Except for her voice, the room was silent. Only three students were physically in the class — and they weren’t paying attention to her as they attended other online classes while wearing noise-canceling headphones. Returning to school in Los Angeles Unified, the nation’s second-largest school district, means sitting in one classroom all day, two or three days a week, with little intermingling or movement.

This Zoom in a room option for in-person schooling — the format for high school in Los Angeles and San Francisco — has failed to draw back the vast majority of students. Although official attendance data have not yet been released, a survey of L.A. Unified parents indicated that about 17% of high school students would come back to campus.

L.A. Unified is hardly alone in struggling to persuade high school students to return — or in offering a lean reopening experience.

A few large districts, including Santa Ana Unified and San Bernardino Unified, have not broadly reopened campuses, including for high school studentsBut most of California’s largest districts are providing a patchwork of reopening approaches based on how local school boards weighed risks and benefits and how they met demands from teacher unions over back-to-campus working conditions. One big district, Corona-Norco Unified, has more than 75% of its students back. In others, it’s closer to 20% with more limited schedules.

Despite detailed planning, the majority of secondary school students in California’s largest districts will end their year much like it began — fully online, according to state data. For many, it will mean 17 or 18 months away from classrooms.

Statewide, about 84% of secondary school students have the option to return to their CONTINUE READING: No-show high school students reject COVID reopening rules - Los Angeles Times