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Learning environment has dramatically changed in all schools
distance learning stock

The learning environment has drastically changed for all students in California since the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of all schools for the remainder of spring on April 1.

Phase 2 of Distance Learning for Ceres Unified School District’s K-12 students got underway on April 20.

“The biggest difference between Phase 1 and 2 is we’re asking teachers to push out one to two lessons per week, per subject,” said CUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Amy Peterman. “We’ve been asking teachers to check in at least once a week with their students. It could be a phone call, a Zoom call or an email. We’re also trying to make sure every family that doesn’t have Internet at home has free access to Wi-Fi.”

Peterman helped created CUSD’s Distance Learning plan, which relies heavily on the use of online educational tools such as Google Classroom, Zoom Video Conferencing and Clever. CUSD provided all of its students with Google Chromebooks at the beginning of the year.

A 4.0 GPA student since her sophomore year, Ceres High senior Siriana Gudino takes care of her two younger siblings before dedicating time to academics.

“I do my homework at night when everyone is sleeping and the house is quiet,” she said.

Gudino’s class schedule includes health, A-P literature, economics, video production and pre-calculus. She’s a teacher’s aide during fourth period.

“It’s hard to grasp we’re not going back to school,” she said. “I definitely miss being in class with other students and socializing. But I have the same mindset. Not wanting to fall behind motivates me. I don’t want COVID-19 to be the reason why I end senior year bad.”

Central Valley senior Aryanna Jimenez’s class schedule includes math, government, English, leadership, AP Psychology and microbiology. 

“I’m pretty focused and driven,” Jimenez said. “I’m not a big procrastinator.”

Ceres High junior Visa Homsombath’s class schedule includes Spanish, English, history, math, biology and weight training.

“The communication between the students and teachers is different,” noted Homsombath. “I watch the teachers explain stuff on Zoom live streaming and take notes. I ask friends for help if I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do.”

Ceres High senior Vianney Perez’s class schedule consists of anatomy, Finite Math, government, English, leadership and PALs (works with special-needs students).

“Our whole lives changed in a matter of days,” Perez said. “It’s kind of crazy to think about.”

“I’d prefer to be at school with my classmates,” she added. “But it’s not too bad doing it (assignments) from home. I have a routine. I wake up in the morning and try to get everything done. You have to hold yourself accountable to get our work done and not procrastinate.”

Central Valley sophomore Gabrial Lopez’s class schedule consists of pre-AP English, chemistry, world history, math, Portuguese 2 and animation.

“It’s definitely different,” Lopez said. “I definitely miss the daily interactions you have at school. You have to be self-motivated if you want to get the work done and get good grades. All the teachers have been nice. They post everything on Google Classroom. Fridays and Sunday are the due dates for assignments.”

Ceres High junior Amare Padilla’s class schedule consists of Math, Biology, History, Art, English and Weight Training.

“You have all day to do your work,” Padilla said. “For me personally, getting started is the hardest part. It’s challenging. I do better with face-to-face learning.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CUSD trustees unanimously approved a resolution on Thursday that temporary amends board policy/administrative regulation related to school instruction, student grading and graduation requirements.

The California Department of Education issued guidance on April 1 which states, in part, the local education agency should weigh its policies with the lens of equity and with the primary goal of first, doing no harm to students.