Annika Welch: A message from the NU Executive Council |

Annika Welch: A message from the NU Executive Council

Nevada Union High School, along with the rest of the Nevada Joint Union High School District, returned to a hybrid model of part in-person and part virtual learning on Oct. 12, while maintaining the option for students to continue with full distance education, an option that less than 25% of students are currently taking advantage of.

There have been a few interruptions in the continuity of the schedule. There was a week off of school for a scheduled fall break and a few days off for emergency power shut-offs, but overall the administration and teachers have been getting positive feedback from students and families.

The vibe on campus allows for a sense of unusual normalcy, allowing students to meet their teachers and classmates, some for the very first time, and many teachers stress the importance of these relationships, which have been hard to create in the era of full distance education.

“I love getting to see students in person,” said a Nevada Union English teacher. “However, it is also really difficult to try to manage an in-person classroom at the same time I am managing a Zoom classroom …. I can’t wait until things go back to normal, and we can all safely be in the classroom again.”

Students must wear masks at all times while on campus, and desks are spread out to maintain social distancing. Every day before first period, students must fill out a symptoms check form to ensure they are feeling well and have not been exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

Desks are wiped down after every class, and hand sanitizer is provided. There has been one confirmed case of a student testing positive for the virus on campus, and everyone who may have come in contact with them has been contacted and is currently self-isolating at home.

Although there is a sense of carefulness around where the cases stand in the county right now, many students and faculty who have decided to return to in-person learning have reported feeling like the transition was safe.

“I do feel safe at school,” said Junior Class President Aneka Torgrimson. “I know I can be responsible and wipe down my desk, and I appreciate that cleaning supplies are offered.”

The school understands that COVID-19 has been financially harmful to many families, so, through the state, the Nevada Union Joint High School District is providing a free lunch to every student, as well as free five-day bags with five breakfasts and lunches to help lessen the financial strain of this economic crisis on families.

The Nevada Union Student Executive Council, with the help of the Activities Director Pete Totoonchie, has been navigating connecting with students, who are learning both in person and from home, and creating school spirit and bonding activities safely in order to keep all students feeling engaged and valued. In their efforts to build school culture and live by this year’s slogan, “Spread Positivity, Not Germs,” Student Body President Bryce Nguyen reflected on the Executive Council’s efforts.

“We have sent stickers out to every senior, we have given shout-outs to students on Instagram, we have made playlists for students to listen to, we have given out information on suicide prevention, and we are giving a mask, lanyard and water bottle to every student,” he said.

Through the work of Quinn Schug and J.P. Drew, the Executive Council has been able to connect students with information and thematic videos online. Activities Chair Kailen Meyers and his team set up a drive-in movie night on Nov. 10.

It has been difficult to come up with ways to involve students while staying safe because there is no guidebook on how to go to school during a global pandemic. But through the cooperation of the school board, the administration, teachers, students, families and the community, Nevada Union and the rest of the Nevada Joint Union High School District have been able to transition back to a hybrid education model safely and with overall success.

Annika Welch is a junior at Nevada Union High School and the outreach chair of the NU Executive Council. She lives in Nevada City.

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