Change: The new constant

Inconsistency prompts frustration as the district – now on their third adjusted school schedule – must consistently adapt to the everchanging circumstances

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Screenshot of 1/26 board meeting

As circumstances change constantly, attending board meetings have become the new normal, in anticipation of how the board’s decision will impact the students accordingly.

If anything, the one thing that has remained consistent throughout this unprecedented school year is change.

After adapting to three different schedules so far, many students, parents, and community members have expressed concern over the lack of stability and consistency.

“Since the beginning, (my daughter, Lauren Combest,) has had distancing learning, she opted for hybrid on the 12th (of October), she went full-time on the 5th (of January), she was quarantine on the 11th (of January), (and) you are telling me on the 1st (of February) she is going to go on hybrid and then maybe she will go back to full-time on the 12th of March – where is the consistency, the predictability, and the relationships there?” said Karen Combest, an Oakmont High School parent, at the school board meeting on January 26th. “I implore you to get creative … so that we do not change things for our kids or take more away from them than has already been taken.”

Despite the plethora of schedule changes, students and teachers have consistently adapted in efforts to still maintain high educational standards throughout, although circumstances are not ideal.

“Compliance of the teachers and the students (has been consistent) with every new change,” senior Paloma Garcia said. “Teachers are constantly trying to figure out the best system possible, and I am really thankful to have such dedicated teachers.”

On January 14th, the California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines for reopening schools, which is to be in effect by February 1st. This new guideline requires a minimum of four feet spacing between students in class, which the current model does not ensure. 

Due to overwhelming discontent provided by the prospect of another schedule change, many parents and students emphasized that the school board should find a creative way to maintain the current 5 days a week schedule. As a result, the district sent out a survey to estimate whether the number of students attending school in-person would permit for no unnecessary changes to be made.

Despite an increased number of students who reported their intentions to return on-campus, the district received support by the county and state to remain open five days a week, with Zoom to be offered throughout the rest of the quarter at minimum.

The lack of consistency has not only impacted students who returned to school, but also students who opted for the Roseville Student Virtual Learning Academy, which is the alternative option for students and families who do not intend to return to campus for the remainder of the semester for a variety of concerns. 

In weighing the two options offered for the spring term, GBHS senior Kavya Krishnan decided to enroll in the RSVL Academy since the current circumstances offered by the hybrid model were not reassuring to her.

Even with minimal attendance (at the time hybrid was offered in the fall), we would get weekly COVID-19 notifications of a student or (staff member) catching the virus. I believed a full hybrid system in the spring would only foster more cases and spread the virus further.”

— Kavya Krishnan

“When the school board first introduced the two options that would be available in the spring term, they mentioned the hybrid system and the RSVL Academy,” Krishnan said. “Even with minimal attendance (at the time hybrid was offered in the fall), we would get weekly COVID-19 notifications of a student or (staff member) catching the virus. I believed a full hybrid system in the spring would only foster more cases and spread the virus further.”

Consequently, if Krishnan were to attend school in-person, she would be putting the health and safety of her immunocompromised parents in jeopardy.

“The decision was quite simple – if the choice was between my education or my parents’ health, I would and will always choose their health,” Krishnan said.

Despite the RSVL Academy being the obvious choice for Krishnan, it also came with some tough sacrifices.

“Graciously, the teachers of my two year-long courses agreed to continue (students to Zoom into their classes),” Krishnan said. “Unfortunately, (however), given the limited number of teachers and classes (offered through the RSVL Academy), there was only one period of AP Literature and AP Statistics (which) occurred at the same time, so I couldn’t do both. Thus, I had to drop AP Statistics and take guitar instead.”

Now that the school board has decided to offer Zoom throughout the rest of the quarter in response to new CDPH’s guidelines, Krishnan expressed frustration in regards to having to make unnecessary educational sacrifices through enrollment within the RSVL Academy.

“The school board has finally decided to comply with state guidelines for COVID (which) will potentially reduce the number of students in-person by implementing a safer hybrid system,” Krishnan said. “If I had known this, I would have chosen this system and wouldn’t have had to sacrifice my initial choice of classes.”

The school board has finally decided to comply with state guidelines for COVID (which) will potentially reduce the number of students in-person by implementing a safer hybrid system. If I had known this, I would have chosen this system and wouldn’t have had to sacrifice my initial choice of classes.”

— Kavya Krishnan

Additionally, the fully online platform presented some natural disadvantages, limiting the complete educational experience.

“Given that the online learning is already isolating, filling these classes with students from different schools makes it more uncomfortable since you don’t know your peers,” Krishnan said. “It’s difficult to make connections in an online format, and that problem is exacerbated when you’re surrounded by strangers. Peer connections, which is an important part of education, has greatly suffered due to the incompetency of the school board.”

Despite this, Krishnan is still fortunate for her education through the RSVL Academy.

“So far, (my RSVLA teachers) have done a great job in handling online learning to make it easy and accessible to all students,” Krishnan said. “It’s been amazing to have an adequate learning experience in a safe, COVID-free environment.”

Whether the current situation will change once again is unknown; although based on the history of events, change is not unexpected as circumstances evolve consistently.

“If there is anything that 2020 taught us is that we should learn to adapt to new changes, including school regulations and policies,” Garcia said. “I think it is important to stay patient and stay open to new solutions while trying our best to hear and listen to one another.”

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