Around Bosco: All Students Given Option to Return to Full-Time, In-Person Learning

by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor, and Omar Cerezo

After a year of COVID-19 protocols and shutdowns, Bosco is ready to welcome most students back to the classroom next week along with an expansion of continued participation in extracurriculars and the reintroduction of student life events, as L.A county shifted into the “red tier” last week.

Los Angeles County has been in the purple (widespread) tier since March 2020. Recently, many people were shocked to find out that L.A County was moving towards the red (substantial) tier during the third week of March 2021. The progress towards a lower-tier brings new regulations, which has impacted schools in a positive way, as it has allowed schools like Bosco to begin operating at a 75% capacity.

Currently, Bosco is planning to bring most of the student body back to campus, while still offering an online option. This is an effort to accommodate every family and allow them to choose what works best for their schedule and health. Mr. Adan Jaramillo, the newly appointed Interim Principal, has been hard at work, as administration and faculty prepare to welcome back all students next Monday.

“We are having two grades, freshmen and seniors, come back on Monday, and on Tuesday, we start with everyone else,”  said Mr. Jaramillo. “It is only for the students who selected to on-campus learning back in August and obviously we will still offer the online component because that is an integral part, especially in a global pandemic.”

According to Mr. Jaramillo, one of Bosco’s priorities right now is to bring something to look forward to in the next few weeks for each class. Similar to the Senior Watch Party held during the first football game of the season, Bosco is trying to bring events unique to each class that they can enjoy after a year of no activities on campus. Regarding extracurricular activities, Bosco is trying to maximize the high school experience and give students the opportunity to return to their after school activities no matter what they are.

Vice Principal Mr. Edgar Salmingo, Jr. recognized that as of now, with COVID restrictions becoming looser, there is no need for any extracurricular activities to work strictly online.

“It is my understanding that every sport and other extracurriculars are going back with competitions. I know other competitions will be unveiled shortly, but with guidelines being a little less restrictive, it has allowed for some resemblance for how games used to be played, with some limitations,” said Mr. Salmingo.

The new tier will also affect how class schedules will look for the upcoming weeks. Instead of being in cohorts, students will be allowed to visit all four of their teachers throughout the day if they opted in for physical on-campus learning. Bosco senior and band president Travien Sears learned on campus during the last phase of reopening last quarter, where he saw one teacher twice a week per cohort regulations.

“I loved being part of the cohort system. Many precautions were taken that made us ,the students, feel safe, and now going back to see – physically – people we normally can only take a look at in a ZOOM meeting makes me really excited to be active and see different teachers and classmates in the same place,” said Travien. 

That social aspect is a big part of students making the choice to return, and teachers, like Mr. Vince Vigil, are happy to see their students in all their different periods and interact with them on a daily basis as well.

“I really look forward to actually coming back to campus, to engage and accompany those students who need to have a physical presence at school,” said Mr. Vigil.

However, teachers are not the only ones excited to see their students back in the classroom, as many students themselves cannot wait to be back in the halls of St. John Bosco High School, ready to learn and interact with their peers. Sophomore Ethan Ambriz realized during online learning how much physical learning is taken for granted.

“I honestly like online learning, but nothing compares to seeing people face-to-face instead of through a screen,” said Ethan. “I’m extremely excited to go back and hang out with my friends during lunch as well as paying attention more in class because there are a lot of distractions at home.”

Another question that raises levels of concern around students, teachers and parents is the possibility of a sudden change – starting a school year online and making a quick transition back to in-person – which could affect the performance of students. Mr. Mario Cordero, Bosco’s AP U.S. History and Psychology teacher, is considering whether there are any serious repercussions for such a sudden change.

“From what I’ve been gathering in my studies of psychology, relationships matter and relationships are strong indicators for a lot of beneficial things in people’s life,” said Mr. Cordero. “I think it has been a real challenge for students to find those relationships, and those three, four hours after school that they get outside of their devices can help them get away from that fixation.”

With a reopening of the campus for full-time school and extracurriculars, students will finally be able to start falling back on their Bosco brothers and mentors again, and for the seniors, many end-of-the-year activities, such as graduation, grad night, prom, as well as sporting events, have a chance of coming back as the pandemic situation continues to improve. That would be a nice reward at the end of a weird year.

Currently, planning the next school year is another challenge that administration and teachers have to face, as guidelines shift fairly quickly. Needless to say, Bosco is always looking for ways to bring life into what has been one of the unprecedented times in current history. So far, they are doing the best they can possibly do and more.

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