Around Bosco: Fate of a Future Reopening? Short-Term Signs Leave Bosco in the Air of COVID-19

by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor

During recent months, several plans for a future reopening of the school have been thwarted by health guidelines keeping Los Angeles County in the state’s “purple tier,” as St. John Bosco High School waits to open its doors for in-person learning.

As cases in LA County remain high, the chance for the school to reopen in the near future gets further and further delayed. But that hasn’t been all negative, as it’s given Bosco time to prepare and create a safe environment.

“I think that COVID is something that could help us prepare for any type of challenge that comes in the future,” said Bosco CEO and President Dr. Brian Wickstrom. “We have implemented bipolar ionization, which actually helps viruses and bacteria in the air, which I think it’s a big positive in all student areas: classrooms, hallways, gathering spots. So I think our school is more prepared than most with all our agile space [on campus] for lunch and student gatherings.”

Dr. Wickstrom is one of the latest additions to the St. John Bosco community as the President and CEO of the school, and he and everyone inside the administration team and faculty have been working hard to make the overall experience during the pandemic better for all stakeholders and to ensure that we are prepared when we’re cleared to return. But in order to understand what the future of the school will look like, several factors, such as the tier system, need to be understood.

“We have been following the minimal requirements for a safe opening and more, but we are at the mercy of LA County Health. We need to pay attention to the tier system. We are currently at the purple stage,” said Vice Principal of Student Affairs Mr. Adan Jaramillo.

This means we can’t reopen. As the county stays in the purple tier, the only hope for a future reopening to occur is to hope for people’s cooperation with public health guidelines to reduce the risk of continued widespread cases, especially with flu season approaching and the holidays.

“Especially for [students] who live in multigenerational families, it is very important to take precautions and follow measurements when they are in school. When someone leaves Bosco, we don’t know what [their] practices are. Therefore, it is important for people to follow instructions – wear masks, stay six feet apart and take everything around us into consideration to take care of everyone,” said science teacher Ms. Allegra Weinstein, who has a master’s degree in Public Health.

For both students and teachers, challenges have come with a delay in reopening, as the school community continues to adapt to fast-paced online learning in the quarter system – a system which was developed in large part to reduce class sizes ahead of reopening in-person school. 

“Online learning has been very difficult with the quarter system. Trying to obtain the knowledge of a whole semester in a few weeks is very intense,” said senior Max Fernandez. “However, I feel that the school is trying their best in reaching out to families and allowing for the best method possible in these circumstances.”

The new system for remote learning also has affected the teaching styles, as teachers have had to adapt old lessons to new circumstances.

“The dynamics change [in online learning] as teachers,”  said Mr. Robert Linares, head of the Biomedical Pathway. “The relationship you have with students is less distracting when you’re face-to-face, which leads to more effective learning, I assume.”

Even despite challenges, the administration, faculty and students work hard every day to make sure that when all is done, actions prevail over promises. With hopes up and as teachers, staff and students miss the opportunity of seeing each other physically, a spirit of thankfulness is necessary to keep everyone’s morale high. Don’t give in to “COVID-19 fatigue.” The more diligent all our communities are outside of school, the sooner we all will be able to return inside of school.

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