By Eric Wickboldt
Graphic by Jackie Veliz
On January 4th, Winter Break will end at Las Lomas, and on the following day, many students will return to school as part of a hybrid model designed to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. In addition to the structure of the model, the Las Lomas administration has decided to implement new safety measures by revamping old campus hardware and enforcing new rules.
According to an excerpt from an October 28th schoolwide email, “HVAC air filtration systems have been improved in every classroom.” Additionally, a separate email sent out on November 4th said, “Changes you may notice on campus include painted traffic flow arrows, increased signage and touchless hand sanitizer dispensers.” According to Associate Principal Jazmin Hernandez, another safety measure is that “While the AUHSD ventilation has been upgraded to filter the air for particles, we are encouraging all staff to keep their doors and windows open to further help with air circulation.” In addition, Hernandez stated, “All students, staff and visitors must wear masks at all times while on campus. The masks must cover the nose and mouth. Bandanas, neck gaiters and masks with valves are not allowed. We will follow progressive discipline for students who do not wear masks, which will ultimately result in removal from in-person instruction.”
Most of these changes and improvements have been in the works for a long time. According to Hernandez, “The implementation of painted arrows, touchless hand sanitizer and the updating of the HVAC system all began at the beginning of the school year before we began offering small group intervention. The exception being that the arrows were painted when we learned about (in-person hybrid).”
The administration has stated that safety is their top priority and that they will continue to enforce their rules to reduce the risk of anyone getting sick.
Form a Nov. 4 email: “The Covid Safety Team has been working on campus to get our facilities ready! We are going room by room to assess capacity, sanitation needs and increased protection for faculty and students. Other changes you may notice on campus include painted traffic flow arrows, increased signage and touchless hand sanitizer dispensers. We are also in the process of hiring an additional campus supervisor to help monitor and reinforce our mask wearing rules on campus.”
From an Oct. 28 email: “Last week the School Board voted to return to campus in stages, with the Phase II — small group activities starting this week. We are starting with our most in need students and expanding our offerings so students interested to coming to campus can in the weeks ahead.
Safety is our top priority and we have been outfitting our entire campus to be ready to welcome students on campus. For Phase II, here are some of the safety measures in place:
- HVAC air filtration systems have been improved in every classroom
- All students will be assigned to a location with limited students to ensure 6 ft distancing.
- All staff and students are required to wear face masks at all times on campus.
- All students will sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting the room at a sanitizing station located in each classroom.
- Disinfectant wipes will be provided in each room.
- All students will observe social distancing both inside and outside of the classroom, which will be monitored by staff.
- All breaks will take place inside the classroom or in supervised outside spaces near the rooms (depending on room location) and students will use the restroom one at a time if needed.
- Students will complete a permission form and students and staff will complete daily symptom verification before coming to campus.
These precautions are paving the way for our return of all students in the second semester. Currently, the details of our hybrid plan are being honed, but here are thing you can expect in January:
- Continued safety protocols from Phase II, including masks, social distancing and small classroom capacities.
- The student body will be divided into groups which will rotate when they are on campus to limit the overall numbers of students on campus and in classes.
- Increased staff supervision, including an additional campus supervisor.
- Both online and in person learning opportunities for students.
Currently we do not have the details of the plan finalized, and parents will have information about that plan for the Nov. 18th Board meeting. After the plan is finalized, families will have the opportunity to confirm their placement choice for second semester.”
From an Oct. 21 email: “This week we began Phase II of our return to campus, and I am so happy to be welcoming groups of students back to campus for academic support. Beginning next week, we will be holding sessions for students before school (8:30-9:30) and after school (3:30-5:30 and 5:00-7:00) with a targeted approach for students who are in the most academic need. We plan to open the on campus offerings to more students, including club meetings, leadership activities and general academic support, after the first two weeks.
Our focus is on students returning to campus safely, and we will be setting up tight protocols for all on campus activities. All students and staff will wear masks on campus, do symptom screening before coming to school and will adhere to strict social distancing in each of the rooms. We love seeing our kids on campus, and want to make sure that we are taking all necessary precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.”