Archer community prepares for return to campus plans following Spring Break

Junior+class+members+play+the+game+%22Head%27s+Up%22+in+their+assigned+on-campus+cohort+group.+Following+the+Spring+Break%2C+Archer+will+continue+to+host+students+back+on-campus+for+in-person+learning+opportunities.+

Photo credit: Paola Hoffman

Junior class members play the game “Head’s Up” in their assigned on-campus cohort group. Following the Spring Break, Archer will continue to host students back on-campus for in-person learning opportunities.

By Vaughan Anoa'i, News Editor

As Los Angeles County ventures into the red tier and more students are now allowed to participate in on-campus learning, the Archer administration prepares for the two week Spring Break vacation, beginning on the afternoon of March 26 and ending tomorrow on April 13. Following the break, Archer hopes to host students on campus more frequently, rather than the allotted one time per week that grades 7-12 abide by. For students who wish to not return to campus and continue remote learning for the remainder of the year, that is also an available option at this time.

“It has been such a joy to welcome students back to campus. As shared during our Return to Campus update last Monday, we are excited to have students return on a more frequent basis after Spring Break,” Head of School Elizabeth English wrote in a recent email. “As before, students may choose to continue remote learning through the end of the school year.”

As students arrived on campus and continued their in-person learning, senior Gaby Ayala commented on the “special” moments that she missed while learning virtually.

“Being online for school is not really ideal because it’s all those little moments where you see your peers and talk to them during class that are really special,” Ayala said.

Following the break, students will travel to school on their assigned day to attend re-orientation and join their Zoom classes remotely in their assigned zones. Like before, on campus COVID surveillance testing will also continue as students are each designated their own appointments. The lunch program, bus transportation and the current athletics schedule will remain the same. Initially, students who in participated in club sports, dance or karate were not permitted to return to campus; however, following Spring Break, they will now be able to return. Junior and dual-sport athlete Ali Aragon noted her “happiness” and “excitement” to return to campus after the two week vacation.

I am happy that I’ll be able to participate in Archer sports as well as school in-person because that was restricted before,” Aragon said. “I think going on-campus more often will allow us to regroup and reorient ourselves with our in-person school schedule.”

Echoing Aragon’s sentiment, upper-school history teacher and junior class mentor Kathleen Niles shared her thoughts on class participation and engagement in-person versus on Zoom.

“I think the kids who are in class — it probably will be participation like it used to be,” Niles said. “I think that on Zoom there’s a little room for, if you’re just not feeling it, you can have your screen off and you can get through a whole class without really participating or minimally participating. And I think in person, it’s easier to be engaged.”

From a student perspective who has experienced both in-person and hybrid learning, Ayala said it was difficult to stay focused and on-task within the virtual realm.

I just think I’m not as easily distracted in person,” Ayala said. “When on Zoom, I have access to my phone and I can do so many other things, versus being in class or just being present, not just mentally but also physically — there’s a whole level of just being in the classroom, so it’s really nice.”

As someone who was not initially permitted to return to campus, Aragon describes how she is “looking forward” to her return, and said she felt learning in-person will have a “positive” impact on her participation and engagement.

“I think in-person learning will have a positive impact. Being able to see my classmates and interact with them in person will allow us to participate more and collaborate more often,” Aragon said. “I think it’s different being on Zoom in your house versus being on Zoom at school because you are next to your classmates, and so it’s easier to seek help or ask questions.”

Moving forward, Niles commented on the many transitions that not only students had to make but also faculty members during this “challenging” year.

“I think it’s another transition, and we have a lot of students who have been rolling with transitions, all year and are like, ‘Whatever, no big deal,’ and I think we have students for whom, you know, each transition is a struggle because there have been so many of them,” Niles said. “But, we’ll roll with it, we’ll see when we get there.”

With eight weeks left in the 2020-2021 school year, Ayala described the “struggle” of saying goodbye to her classmates and moving on from Archer. She said she felt “excitement” to spend as much time with them as she could during these remaining weeks of classes.

“It’s not enough time, especially since we all missed out on the first half of senior year,” Ayala said. “I’m just really excited to see all of my classmates because our time together is going to come to an end soon.”