DBHS assignments, classes go virtual

After the abrupt closing of the Diamond Bar High School campus on March 13 due to the coronavirus outbreak, a month later the school resumed classes in a virtual environment.

As students were under quarantine after the stay-at-home order was issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the faculty formulated a lesson plan for the remaining six weeks of the school year called the Expanded Distance Learning program.

The program was separated into two phases, with the first phase lasting from March 19 to April 10, followed by a week of spring break. During this phase, many teachers sent optional review assignments through Google Classroom to keep students engaged in their classes, especially with the upcoming May AP tests.

In a survey conducted by the Bull’s Eye, 15.2 percent of students were doing the recommended activities, 41.2 percent said they ignored the activities and 43.6 percent were doing only some of the optional assignments. The time spent in doing these recommended assignments was drastically smaller, as 15.8 percent of the students in the survey said they spent an hour per day on the optional assignments. 

Out of the 204 survey responses, 62.7 percent of the students said that they found the activities beneficial while 37.3 percent said they didn’t find the activities helpful at all. All survey responses are anonymous, but grade levels were reported. 

“Most of the activities help me to retain what I learned in class as well as practice/review for the AP exam. However, some of my classes don’t provide me with anything relevant to the AP exam so I don’t find them beneficial during this period of self-studying,” a junior said. 

The second phase marked the official start of the distance learning program on April 20 and will end on May 28. The DBHS virtual school week begins on Monday and ends on Thursday and is separated by three blocks per day. Each block focuses on a certain subject and provides teacher support through office hours, a scheduled time slot for students to ask questions and attend virtual lessons.

“I personally like distance learning because I usually don’t ask a lot of questions,” junior Aileen Park said. “I can work on my own schedule, and I am definitely less sleep deprived too.”

Teachers can contact their students through Google Classroom, Google Meet, their school webpage and by email, and they post assignments for the week on Sundays and Mondays. 

“I wish we could have a more in-class feel because I miss interacting with my teachers and peers,” sophomore Elise Kwon said. “Sometimes the instructions get unclear and it’s hard to properly communicate between students and teachers.”

With the program, the students can work within their own schedules as the blocks are only a suggested schedule and not mandatory.

“I get to work whenever I want and the workload is very manageable,” junior Kevin Lee said. “Throughout the week, I work about 10 to 11 hours total on the assignments and self-study for AP tests about 15 to 16 hours in total.”

Principal Reuben Jones and Assistant Principal Matthew Brummett sent out a video to student emails discussing the changes that would be made for the rest of the year. The program will benefit students of all grade levels as it can only improve students’ grades as of March 13. The teachers will weigh the two gradesbefore or on March 13 and the final grade at the end of the school yearand the higher of the two will be recorded as the semester grade. 

“I am kind of relieved that the lack of assignments turned in don’t actually affect our grade,” senior Curtis Chang said. “I don’t need to worry about a lot of school anymore.”