Hybrid Loses Students to IVA


Aryan Mittal

For students in IVA, the school campus is replaced by a desk in their own home. Students can learn their core subjects without the inherent COVID-19 risk that in-person campuses present.

About 190 students transferred from the Portola High hybrid model to the Irvine Virtual Academy for spring semester, while only 30 students transferred from IVA to hybrid, according to principal John Pehrson. Due to this enrollment decrease, 27 Portola High classes were closed, causing many students’ schedules to change and some teachers to move to IVA, Pehrson said. Additionally, Portola High is seeing a higher number of hybrid students staying home on their in-person days.

As COVID-19 cases continue rising in Orange County, hybrid students also have the option to stay online on the days they would normally attend school in person for the rest of January. The recently popularized “O” attendance code is given to students who do not feel safe or comfortable coming to school. Many classes were seeing reduced in-person class sizes in early January after accounting for this change, according to sophomore Anshul Aravind, who transferred from hybrid to IVA.

“I switched because hybrid feels inefficient to me,” Aravind said. “In most of my classes, we do everything online in the classroom anyways, so I’d rather do it at home.”

Under the hybrid model, students go to class in-person half of the time, but IVA students stay online every day. IVA principal Rebecca Roberts estimated that, during the first semester, about 22% of students across IUSD opted for IVA, including sophomore Siddhanth Kumar.

“I chose IVA at the beginning because I felt that online school appealed to my learning preferences, being more independent,” Kumar said. “My experience in IVA so far confirmed that. It’s like normal school but less stress.”

For the second semester, there are 3091 students enrolled in IVA, which is about 29% of IUSD students, according to Roberts. Due to positive feedback from students and teachers, IVA is a permanent option for IUSD schools, meaning that students can continue school virtually in the years to come.