On November 9th, 2020, Newport Mesa School District opened its doors to students after almost 8 months since closing on March 13th due to the wide-spread Covid-19. As students finally seem to be adjusting to the new hybrid school schedule, stress and anxiety still runs rampid in those who are trying to navigate our new normal while balancing sports practices, after-school groups, social lives, illness in families and friends, and now ever-increasing workloads from teachers in hopes to catch up with lossed time.
Despite the hard-feelings or overwhelming joy, depending on the student, we still have to wonder whether or not NMUSD and Costa Mesa High School is giving students what they need and asked for.
When polling 243 students, the data was remarkable and quite interesting to look at. When asked whether or not students wanted to return on campus, the split was nearly half and half with 120 students (43%) saying no and 123 students (50.6%) saying yes. This divide is still seen in school today, with some students wishing to return to distance learning but are unable to due to sport commitments, while others are thriving in the new environment.
Now we must ponder, what were the reasons these students wished to stay online or return to in-person learning? In a choose all that apply, the majority of students, 128 (53.3%) out of 243, said they wanted to go back to school to see their friends. 122 (50.8%) of those 243 students agreed it was because they had difficulty learning in an online environment, while 100 (41.7%) of those students claimed it would benefit their mental health.
On the flip side, 111 (46.3%) students did not believe it was safe to return on campus; 42 (17.5%) students said it interfered with their already-established work schedule, and 55 (22.9%) stated they work better from home.
Regardless of these expressed concerns, NMUSD moved us into a 2 days a week hybrid schedule that included 3 cohorts instead of the original 2, Cohort A (Tuesdays and Wednesdays), Cohort B (Thursdays and Fridays),and Cohort C (100% Distance Learning).
30.5% of the students polled, when asked what in-person education plan they preferred, said they prefer this schedule over the others previously introduced. These included 100% Distance Learning (of which 25.9% chose), the 4x4 Learning Plan (7.9%), Half-day Hybrid Schedule (18.4%), and the Regular Bell Schedule (17.2%).
In short, schools have reopened and will stay open, regardless of the fact Orange County was moved back into the Purple Tier of Covid-19 cases as of November 15th , 2020.