While many school districts in Southern California have already begun reopening schools and bringing students back into classrooms, Diamond Bar High School is taking a moderate approach and only permitting athletics and performing arts organizations to return to school in small groups.
With this new development, sports teams and performing arts groups will be able to return to their previous routines for the most part, which is much more efficient and productive than training via Zoom, as well as beginning to refine their condition for performances and competitions.
One of the main concerns surrounding the return of these small groups is the safety hazard that could lead to outbreaks among students. But with proper regulations and protection measures applied, which the school will be adhering to, the possibility of this happening is relatively low. In fact, an international study done by the CDC stated that schools reopening in other countries found that there were low rates of transmission amongst students and staff when the correct safety procedures were in effect.
Being at school will also allow students to experience being on campus after having attended school from home since March. Not being able to learn on campus has taken an immense toll on students’ education, not to mention the impact on their mental health. Being in quarantine has been proven to increase stress and anxiety levels due to the dull environment and lack of social interaction. With the ability to go back, a few students may be able to experience some semblance of normality once again.
Returning in small groups will also allow students to interact with their peers again to some degree. One of the main benefits of high school is the social aspect; learning how to work and interact with others. It is these interactions that guide our development and prepare us for collaborative work outside of school.
This crucial element of the educational experience has been crippled by the distance learning format we now use in school, which prevents us from forming or maintaining relationships with our peers. By being allowed to return to campus, even the small amount of interaction allowed may go a long way.
I know for one, that being away from my peers has definitely made school life more of a bore. Not being in Diamond Bar’s notorious competitive atmosphere that I used to fuel me with passion and motivation to do well in school, has left me the most unmotivated and detached I have ever been.
Some may argue that Zoom calls are a passable substitute for in-class collaboration, but doing things over Zoom is almost entirely incomparabile to completing them in person. Things are so much more efficient and timely when they’re worked on by a group that’s physically present.
Take the Dance Company, for example. It’s incredibly hard to choreograph a dance and teach it to a group of students over a Zoom call, especially without them being around to help one another as they normally would. Technique and quality of the performance is jeopardized when conducting routines and rehearsals over a Zoom call, which is why student organizations need to be able to meet one another in person to practice efficiently and hone their skills.
This is why it is crucial that student organizations will be allowed to return to school in small groups. Doing so, students will be able to yet again experience the immense advantages of in-person practice and interaction.