Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the McFarland Unified School District has decided to reopen schools in four phases, beginning Aug. 5.
There are four total phases for physically reopening all of the schools in the District. While there are targeted dates for opening new phases, the District has the ability to shift depending on the level of COVID-19 cases, county health guidelines, and other safety measures, according to a news release.
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The only grade levels that will start face-to-face instruction on Aug 5 are Kindergartners and first graders, while the older grade levels will begin the school year with distance learning. The District’s goal is to have every grade level back to in-person instruction by Sept. 14.
Kern Sol News reached out to students from McFarland Junior High, and they shared their thoughts on the upcoming school year.
As a student, I feel very conflicted about going back to school. This is mostly because of the different scenarios that could possibly happen, which could have a very negative impact. Due to the COVID-19, I also feel confused and uneasy about how the school district will handle this responsibility. To sum everything up, I just feel very confused and nervous about attending in- person school this fall.
As much as I would like to be able to see my friends and teachers this year, I am also worried about what can happen during these troubling times. It’s scary to think that we’re going back to school in the height of a pandemic that has affected millions of people. On one hand, going back to school would help me in the terms of my education, but on the other hand, going to school would also mean putting my life and the lives of my family members at risk.
Going back to school makes me feel happy yet worried at the same time. I am excited about seeing my friends, whom I haven’t seen in months, but I get worried thinking about how dangerous going back to school can be if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Having new teachers and classmates would normally be very exciting for me. Because I didn’t learn as much via distance learning, I am worried about all academic expectations set for me to surpass that I may not even be able to reach.
Starting school in fall will be a big change. I personally don’t feel comfortable knowing there’s 12,855 cases in Kern County (as of July 31). The school system will change, and it won’t be the same so we won’t be comfortable.
I feel that having to attend in-person school in the fall is going to raise the numbers of people getting infected with COVID. Yes, this may have some advantages but there is also a disadvantage. By allowing students to return to school they are risking them getting COVID. Also, they are not only putting the students at risk but the teachers as well. In conclusion, I feel that having to attend in-person school in the fall is going to raise the numbers of people getting infected with COVID.
I personally feel that attending in-person school would probably be better and would get students back on track and into a better schedule. Now that being said, my anxiety and stress levels are doing great now that there aren’t any people I actually have to talk to face-to-face.
Kern Sol News is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.