When it was announced that the Los Angeles Unified School District would shut down for two weeks, I remember how the entire school gym exploded in applause in light of the news. Considering how midterms were on the horizon, I suppose it was a natural reaction for many who needed extra time for a Hail Mary for their grades. With the entire building being alight with jubilation, it felt as though that at least for one day in these dark hours awaiting us, we could have one last hurrah before the end of school.
Looking back now, it’s a bittersweet memory of how naive we were as community, city and ultimately as a country. Two weeks have already passed since the announcement was first made, but I still wonder whether or not the new school closure extension of May 1 is long enough for the outbreak to be contained. The number of confirmed cases only seems to increase by the hundreds daily, while the doctors that are bravely protecting the lives of those infected fight without proper safety equipment.
A vocal population of people in my school was happy about the news, but as a Title I School, this meant the loss of not only lectures but meals, access to the internet and so many more services for a significant amount of people. With so many of the over 700,000 students in LAUSD dependent on the same services, it’s no wonder why the right choice was so hard to make.
Doing it in such a short time was tough, but I applause how services such as meals and computer access were carried out by members of our community. In the face of crisis, these people made it so that my fellow students and friends wouldn’t be left out of what they needed as essentials.
When this is all over, I believe that the city will forever remember the guardian angels who refused to let kids starve during these troubling times.
The attention to resources have been met with a growing response, but I feel as though education is something schools haven’t been able to meet. Online learning is probably the best thing that we can do at this time, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s fine as it is.
To put it bluntly, the plan was rolled out without enough time for both students and teachers to utilize the platforms correctly.
Teachers found out about the closure at the same time as students did, and had to produce weeks worth of lessons in a single day. To add to the mounting pressure, many had to learn how to get accustomed to various online classroom platforms at the same timeframe. With that in mind, at least for the teachers in my district, it certainly hasn’t been the greatest experience.
Computer screens cannot fully replace the classroom, but they should have been able to provide some semblance of a learning environment.
In my personal experience, there is nothing more that I do than complete assignments. I don’t feel as though I am learning anything, but rather maintaining the appearance of being a student. I hope that it will improve as time goes on, but you still have to consider that this is considered an above-average experience in the district.
Up to 100,000 students in the district still don’t have access to the internet. That means that 100,000 students have never used the platforms that they will depend on for learning. That also means that 100,000 students are going to be at the very least two weeks behind schedule.
The district shut down out of necessity, but statistics like those showcase exactly how we failed so many in education.
I don’t recognize the state of the world, I doubt anybody can, but we can most certainly do our best to make it one we can.
With odd stories such as the hoarding of toilet paper, to more disturbing ones such as a rise in discrimination towards those of Asian descent, we can’t let this break our sense of community. With practically everybody in this country facing losses, it’s now more important than ever that we support one another.
Speaking out for the sake of those in education, I just want to say that there ought to be better reactions to the current state of education by the district. Both teachers and students have faced difficulties with what to do with very little direction from administrators. There have been several instances where no one was able to log on due to overloaded servers, unanswered questions on matters for future plans and etc. Actions like these have made learning a rarity instead of the norm.
Managing the second-largest school district in times of emergencies was never going to be easy, but listening to the people you serve might just change that. We are all part of the same community, and we are just as ready to help you as you are ready to help us.