City High Spring Trimester

With the transition from the hybrid to completely in person school, planning is being done for the spring trimester

Emme Perencevich, Opinion, copy, and infographic editor

On January 29, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill requiring all schools to provide a five-day, 100% in-person option for students. For City High, this could mean doubling the number of students in the building at one time.

“So, with the 100% in-person model we have about 750 to 800 students in the building at one time. Whereas with the hybrid model we [had] just under 400 students with the A and B days,” Mary Peterson, a City High guidance counselor, said.

With this change, Peterson feels that social distancing may be more difficult, especially in classrooms.

“Everyone is still doing a great job of wearing masks and sanitizing,” Peterson said. “Teachers in [the hybrid model] are teaching in classrooms that have 10-18 students in them. With the 100% in-person model, the number of students in those classrooms would probably range more from 25-35. So they would not be able to social distance,” Peterson said.

Lucie Brennan ‘21 has some concerns regarding this consequence of the new in-person model.

“I think that depending on how many kids picked 100% in-person it could be very hard to socially distance. Which leads me to think that there will be bigger outbreaks of COVID-19 in our schools,” Brennan said.

Along with the ambiguity surrounding this new enrollment option, there are no concrete plans regarding graduation or prom this year.

“Graduation this year is still a work in progress,” Ben Fraga, another City High guidance counselor, said. “Obviously, COVID-19 will dictate a lot. The other big change will be when we are back to some kind of normal, graduation will be at the new Coralville Arena, not Carver.”

This change in venue is not the only factor in holding graduation in-person. 

“ICCSD will decide on what graduation will look like. Their decision will be made [based] on the state and local regulations and safety guidelines,” Fraga said. “I would assume decisions would be made similar to what the district has on the website about COVID-19 Decision Matrix.”

If graduation is unable to take place in the arena, there is the possibility that this year’s graduation will look very similar to last year’s. 

“There are alternatives. Last year we had seniors and families sign up for a time to receive their diploma in Opstad Auditorium one at a time. Family members were allowed to come and take pictures on the decorated stage,” Fraga said. “The two-day process was live-streamed for those unable to make it into the building.”

There has also been discussion in the student senate around different options for hosting a prom.

 “IMU could cancel prior to the dance. [The] student senate will host prom as always if we are allowed to. We have discussed the alternative of an outdoor prom if IMU is rescheduled,” Melanie Gibbens, the student senate sponsor, said.

At present, prom is scheduled for May 1 and is planned to be held at IMU as usual.

“The district would need to give permission for an event this size to occur. Most of the decisions will be made by the school board, administration, and local health officials,” Gibbens said. “We’re waiting to see at this time.”

At this point, parents have decided what educational model to enroll their students in for the end of the second trimester. They will once again be given the option to switch models for the spring trimester. 

“I am currently enrolled in 100% online,” Brennan said. “I thought that there would be outbreaks of COVID-19 at City which would cause the whole school to shut down for weeks at a time. I didn’t want to be going back and forth between online and in person, so I picked the options that seemed more consistent.”

Looking forward to next year, the 100% online model will continue to be available to students. However, whether next year they will continue the 100% in-person model or revert back to the hybrid model is still unknown.

“I do know that no matter what we are going to have the 100% online option. That has become an accredited school, so it is going to be a recognized school in the state of Iowa,” Peterson said. “Every student will have the opportunity to enroll in the online program next year.”

With the continuation of the 100% online program, there will be some changes in the guidance office.

“Next year, the only thing that will change for me is that I would potentially have to schedule between two buildings if a student is part-time. If a student signs up for 100% online, I am not going to be their counselor anymore. They’re going to have a brand new counselor that will be assigned to them through the online program,” Peterson said.

Peterson hopes that it will be safe enough to return to school soon.

“We don’t really know what this spring or next year will look like. We have to wait and respond to how the community is responding to the virus and following protocols,” Peterson said. “The more the community follows them, the more likely it is that we will be able to safely return to school.”