End of Year Activities Adjusted for School Closure


Photo Courtesy of Orange County Register

Under the recommendation of the California Public Department of Health, Orange County superintendent of education Al Mijares made the official recommendation for all public schools to close on March 13.

Jenny Won, Assistant A&E Editor

UPDATE (4/29): 

Traditional end-of-year activities, including awards nights, textbook and equipment returns and graduation, will be adjusted due to the extension of the COVID-19 school closure until the end of the school year.

Two virtual events will be held between late May and early June: senior recognition awards and Bulldog Excellence Awards for students in grades 9-11, according to email correspondence from principal John Pehrson. 

Following a tentative plan proposed by library media specialist Pam Quiros, return and pick-up of school items, including textbooks, Chromebooks, musical instruments and athletic equipment, will be in-person during the last week of May for seniors only. Time slots will be allotted for groups of students in order to enforce physical distancing. 

Students currently in grades 9-11 will complete this process during registration in August for the next school year, unless physical distancing recommendations change.

“We are thinking we would utilize the gym,” Quiros said. “We’d mark spaces six feet apart and have students come in in stages from the parking lot, but keep in mind that this is still a tentative plan, and we’re waiting for approval from Mr. Pehrson and the district.”

Plans for graduation are still under discussion across the district, with hopes of a delayed traditional ceremony in August. If the COVID-19 situation extends past that date, an alternative event would still involve physical attendance while enforcing social distancing, according to Pehrson.

“In both options, students would be in their caps and gowns, and there would be opportunities for photos either by a professional or by the family,” Pehrson said. “Our desire is to still make this ceremony special and memorable and more than just sitting at home and watching a screen.”

As the COVID-19 situation continues to change, administration is adapting based on recommendations from district and government authorities. The details of many of these events are not confirmed. In order to stay updated, the counseling department (@portolacounseling) and the Portola Pilot (@portolapilot) on Instagram have the latest information.

Original story posted March 13:

All Irvine Unified Schools to Tentatively Close Until April 6

Irvine Unified superintendent Terry Walker announced in an email the closure of all public schools in light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, effective March 16 with an expected end date of April 6. Following careful deliberation under guidance from the California Public Department of Health and the Orange County Department of Education, the IUSD Board of Education determined that closing school was a necessary step in order to protect the public health of staff and students, according to Walker. 

District officials will maintain communication with families in order to support those who require school services such as nutrition services and child care. Administration will reach out to individual families to offer necessary resources during this transition.

“IUSD understands that the closing of any school has significant consequences beyond the loss of instructional time and will result in challenges for many of our families,” Walker said. “We are committed to providing available resources to support our families.”

Due to the abrupt change, the originally planned training for Emergency Distance Learning (EDL) will not occur. March 16-17 will be staff development days in order to train instructors on digital learning protocol. Students will not attend school on those dates.

District, county and state officials will continue to update families on the rapidly evolving situation. Administration encourages students to stay informed through reliable sources such as the Irvine Unified COVID-19 resource page and reach out to [email protected] for further questions. 

“On behalf of the IUSD Board of Education, our first priority is the safety of our students, staff, families and community,” president of the Board of Education Betty Carroll said, according to an email correspondence from Walker. “We stand prepared to support our Superintendent and District staff with all available resources as they work diligently to proactively protect and support our more than 36,000 students.”