Pandemic Adds Five More Weeks to School Shutdown

A visual of counties in California that have known cases of COVID-19.

Ali Zifan/Oganesson007, colored by Moityl / CC0

A visual of counties in California that have known cases of COVID-19.

Today, as a further precaution and to ensure safety for all students and staff, VVUHSD announced that it will extend closure of campuses until at least May 4, 2020, stating that another extension could occur, if warranted. The state-wide situation is being closely monitored by district personnel. With the newly announced date, nearly five weeks after the previously established date, students and staff are even more concerned about keeping on top of the curriculum. On the abrupt move to online schooling, senior Demiana Shenouda expressed, “I feel trapped. Moving to online school will make things harder, especially because of internet issues.” Others, though, don’t mind the change, and in fact, welcome it. Senior Luis Lopez states, “It [moving to online schooling] did not affect me at all because I have access to the internet and there are many great alternatives that teachers can use to teach students online.” Despite the mixed emotions regarding online schooling, it is nonetheless a reality, as teachers have begun to give assignments on Google Classroom and some have set up Remind groups for faster communication with students and to make the transition smoother for everyone involved. 

As of today, March 19, 2020, there have been three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Bernardino county, obviously reflecting the need for the district to extend the return date to school. In addition to the extended return date, the district also announced that all extracurricular activities are postponed indefinitely, including the 2020 prom. While no date has been set for the postponed prom, the disappointment from those planning to attend is tangible. After buying her prom dress earlier in the week, junior Kelsey Bautista’s shock was apparent when she stated, “I still don’t think this is a reality. I understand why prom was cancelled, but I wish it wasn’t because a lot of people already spent money on it.” Meanwhile the statewide order from CA Governor Newsom mandating everyone in the state stay at home except to perform essential activities was also announced, further justifying the district’s actions. 

Leikela Manuel
Principal Valerie Hatcher at the 2019-2020 school year orientation taken during the Jaguar Publication Workshop by Leikela Manuel for her “worm’s eye” photographic composition.

University Preparatory principal, Ms. Hatcher addressed the extended closure and postponing of prom in a statement made to the class of 2020, stating : “Greetings, to the class of 2020! I want you to know how much you are missed and how empty our campus is without each of you! By now you know we have all been informed we are not returning to school until May 4th. I know this means a dramatic change to April’s scheduled events, including your 2020 Prom. This now means the University Prep staff will be working hard to reclaim the time we have lost and use that time to squeeze in everything we can to create special memories regarding Prom, Senior Presentations and other Senior activities. We care so much and will work diligently to ensure we protect those special activities. I know we will get through this temporary situation. We must stay safe, stay positive, and stay connected! 2020 I love you beyond measure! Please reach out to your University Prep staff if you need anything.”

In the meantime, school meal pickup is still scheduled for tomorrow and is set to resume after spring break on March 30 from 10 a.m. to noon each weekday at all district schools except Goodwill, with all students eligible to pick up meals.

For breaking news within the district, subscribe to Listenupjags.org by downloading the  Student News Source App in either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for free and choosing to receive push notifications from University Preparatory School.