Mixed Feelings Confront Some Local Families as Schools Reopen
By Vayunamu Bawa
Photos by Vayunamu Bawa via Zoom
Are we ready to send our children back to school? Or are we hesitant about making that transition at this point in time? These questions and others were discussed at RISE San Diego’s webinar ‘RISE Now: Reopening of Schools’ which took place on Thursday, April 8th, 2021.
With the announcement of San Diego County Schools to reopen April 12th, parents face the decision of either sending their children back to in-person learning or keeping them home to learn virtually. The panel of three parents and one student had an honest conversation about the development. They were: Brandon Harrison, Associate Pastor at the Rock Church Point Loma; Ciria Brewer, Vice-Principal at Roosevelt International Middle School; Jorge Narvaez, Fatherhood Case Manager at SAY San Diego; and Melissa Mendez, High School Senior at Preuss School UCSD. Dr. Roxanne J. Kymaani moderated the event.
In a poll at the beginning of the webinar, attendees said they were ‘Neutral’, ‘Slightly Uncomfortable’ and ‘Very Uncomfortable’ about sending their children back to school this spring. Harrison started off by saying that he will not be sending back his 10, 6, and 2-year-olds back to school. “We know our boys, so we decided to keep them at home until the fall.”
Brewer said yes. “Originally, I was not so sure. I started this job recently at Roosevelt and we started welcoming students in Phase One. Seeing the change in their energy and their happiness over the course of the weeks we were with them really had me reconsidering for my kids. Knowing all the work that’s happening on the school side making sure that everybody is safe, I’m feeling confident that everything will be okay, but of course we’re nervous.”
“For me, not yet,” said Narvaez. “My kids love the idea of using the restroom and turning on the camera when they want so there’s a sense of ownership. I don’t know what to expect yet but I’m waiting for an answer.”
Mendez said her high school is not going back yet but she would choose remote learning. “Throughout this past year it has been difficult and there have been challenges but I feel like I was able to accommodate myself and I’m confident I will be able to finish the school year strong if I continue remotely.” She spoke on the student perspective of what she was used to in the classroom and the switch into learning online, naming time management and procrastination as the biggest challenges she has had to face.
“I used to go to school up in La Jolla and I rode the bus for about four hours a day. Switching to remote learning where I was home all day was a big relief for me personally because I had more time to organize myself, do assignments, and just relax,” she shared.
For the parents, balancing work and supervising their children’s schooling with their different learning styles was especially tough. “We’ve gotten to a place where they are kind of managing themselves and now we’re going back. I wish that there was a happy medium,” Brewer said.
“We’re all being tested. I grew up during this time,” Narvaez said on the mental aspect of all the transitions. “My kids are adjusting and my wife and I have been holding on. It’s been comedy, it’s been stressful, it’s been confusing but teachers and the principal have done an incredible job,” said Harrison.
Classrooms are going through a transition once again as some students return to school this week. Flexibility and alertness are the watchwords as we, children and adults, continue to adapt to the effects of this pandemic.