DBHS doubles down on Delta

After having nurtured over a year’s worth of quarantine fatigue, forcing the Diamond Bar High School community to return to distance learning after just a few weeks of in-person classes would be devastating to the mental health and education of students and teachers.

With outbreaks of the newer, more contagious Delta strain of COVID-19 on the rise, precautions against infection have increased yet again. This, along with the commotion surrounding last year’s high infection rates and the three recently reported positive cases at DBHS, provide good reason for increased worries surrounding what is being done to prevent further spread.

However, the new measures that have been taken, as well as the mental damage done to students and staff during distance learning, shows there is no need to restrict students to their computers once again.

In the state of California, laws have already been passed requiring teachers to confirm their vaccination status; the first step towards simplifying contact tracing and securing safer environments for schools. In line with this, DBHS has begun its transition to a contactless, digital curriculum with the new “Bring Your Own Device” program, which limits the amount of possibly infected surfaces and interaction between those on campus. 

It’s also required that masks remain on at all times inside classrooms. Most teachers have even spaced out their seating charts and have at least one hand sanitizer dispenser in their rooms so that students can be assured that their health is a top priority.

Should students or parents continue to worry about contracting COVID-19, DBHS has hosted three vaccination clinics, including the most recent family vaccination clinic, where students and their families can get their vaccines. These vaccinations have been proven to prevent severe symptoms in the unlikely event that they happen to contract COVID-19.

The district has also been providing a continuously updated COVID-19 response protocol with every report of a positive case on campus, as well as voluntary drive-through COVID-19 testing at both DBHS and Walnut High School.

Safety measures aside, a return to distance learning would disrupt the lives of both teachers and students who have begun their collective return to normalcy. For all years, except seniors, another year indoors would rob them of half their high school careers. Not to mention, GLCs would be forced to manage another virtual graduating class, and previous complaints from the class of 2021 have shown how much of a struggle that would be.

Certainly, other options would be much more viable compared to another year of distance learning. One such option for crowd control would be the hybrid schedules that were briefly entertained in previous years, or, perhaps, more strictly implemented efforts at social distancing. 

For instance, student movement to their respective classes could be regulated by designating certain hallways or stairways for those going only in a certain direction; this is something that is already being done in the language buildings with the leftover stickers meant to direct visitor traffic during the summer GLC meetings.

In fact, from the perspective of a current DBHS student, the reports of on-campus COVID-19 cases have done nothing to diminish the amount of students attending in-person classes. The staircases are more crowded than ever and the lines to the student store are much longer than before. 

There is no reason to turn students back into their homes with naught but their computer screens as mentor and company. All the precautions that have been taken at every level, from school to state, as well as the debilitating effects of last year’s attempt at distance learning, are evidence that schools should have no issue remaining in-person, and students are well-protected from the threat of COVID-19.