Graphic by Jackie Veliz
Many expected the school closure, but it was still sudden, and plans established at the closure’s beginning have changed over time. As administrators initially intended to reopen school in early April, returning school materials was not determined. Now that the AUHSD Board closed school for the year, there is no plan to return materials.
One would think students could simply return materials next year, but that doesn’t account for seniors. “I am quite concerned about returning materials, as I have checked out a lot of books and even have some textbooks remaining,” said senior Abbie Atkin. “We need to return said materials to be eligible for graduation.” Were the school to rely on students returning materials next year, which is already a risk they’d be taking, seniors would have to ask their families to return the materials for them.
The school could accommodate seniors by setting aside a specific time to return materials, but the idea of having students gather at the school to return materials at a set time could become very complicated. The school definitely wouldn’t be able to have one specific time and location for returning materials. The process of returning materials would have to be over a large window of time, so as to give students plenty of time to return materials, and to prevent a large gathering. This process would also have to be after the school year has ended, since many students will be relying on their school materials for their classes, especially students using a school-provided Chromebook. Other students are not concerned, however: “I’m not really concerned at all,” said sophomore Wolf Marsh. “I’m sure we’ll figure something out, perhaps a drop-off box outside the office. And if not, I’ll return them in August. I’m sure I won’t be fined for it considering the circumstances.”
The school might have to give every student an appointment to return materials, possibly based on last name. Given the large number of students at LL, and due to social distancing, large numbers of students lining up 6 feet apart in one place is unrealistic.
This situation isn’t just convoluted for students; district staff will also have difficulty handling this. As this isn’t a local problem because the plan for returning materials would be a district decision. The district has to make this complicated decision, and the school staff have to make it work. Every item would have to be disinfected, which would take up a lot of time.
The district not only has to figure out how students will safely return materials, but also how to return personal belongings. Assuming that there won’t be a planned way to retrieve belongings, students returning to LL next year just have to hope their belongings left behind will be exactly where they left them. “I am concerned about a hoodie I left on campus the day before school was closed,” said Marsh. “When I went to retrieve it, I found the office was dark and locked shut, but through the window I could see many personal belongings like skateboards, water bottles, and hoodies through the window, presumably left by other students.” Staff also left behind personal belongings on campus, and not all staff members will be returning next year, so there will probably be an assigned time for retrieving belongings.
Like most other things now, it’s a complicated situation and we don’t yet know the ending. All we can do now is speculate based on what precautions have to be taken. “I’m hoping that, in summer when this all ends, there will be a day or two where we can return all textbooks or library books without penalty,” said Atkin.