On July 17th, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the rules for reopening schools for the fall semester.  Under the Governor’s new rule, any California county classified as a “red zone” must offer digital courses only, without any in-person classes, regardless of public or private school.

Since Orange County is currently classified as a “red zone,” all Irvine schools will begin the new school year online.

Prior to the Governor’s announcement, Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) parents were voting on the new school year’s teaching style, with options for IVA (Irvine Virtual Academy, a completely online school), hybrid learning and blended learning.

IUSD has announced that it intends to continue developing the learning models so that they will be ready when schools inevitably re-open.

Right now, digital school appears to be the most ideal option for everyone since it keeps students, teachers and administrators safely at home.

However, as I begin my senior year, I have to admit that I’m disappointed by the notion of a completely digital fall semester.  I’ll be missing a lot of hallmark senior activities, like football games and homecoming dance.  Hopefully, the spread of COVID-19 will be under control so that I don’t miss prom, Grad Night and other similar events later in the school year.

I will also have five AP classes this year.  Attending AP classes in person offers an environment that’s more ideal for learning complex subjects.  Students can interact with one another and help each other understand material, which isn’t feasible with digital classes.  However, I understand that the health and well-being of my fellow students, teachers and school staff is far more important.

Nonetheless, I’ve found it very easy to remain connected with friends during this time of physical distancing through platforms like Instagram, Facetime and Discord.  These social networks allow friends to play video games together, chat via text, voice and video, and even study together.

No matter how this upcoming school year goes, I look forward to it and hope everyone can face it with a smile!

Mandy Yang