Courtesy of Katherine Chang
After COVID-19 struck, IUSD attempted to devise a safe and effective method of education, in which high school families were allowed to choose from four models: Irvine Virtual Academy, blended, hybrid and traditional, the fourth only offered to special education students.
Many were cautious about in-person schooling as they felt it was too risky. In turn, they opted for IVA, where students receive education fully online throughout the entire school year. IVA appealed to students due to the certainty of safety and independence.
“With hybrid, there’s a lot of what-ifs because we never knew what the exact date was for going back,” sophomore Katherine Chang said. “[IVA lets us] choose how to pace ourselves, but also we have teachers there to help us.”
If students opted for the hybrid model, they would learn online until it is deemed safe for them to return to school, where they will attend in person twice a week, with safety measures being taken. Many say they chose hybrid for its learning structure, as they felt it allowed for less distractions during the school environment and more opportunities for interaction.
“After spending the last half of junior year at home, going back in person will definitely help my mental health and my academics,” senior Melanie Lai said. “Learning in person will allow me to better understand the content while being able to ask questions.”
Others chose a model they felt satisfied both the need of safety and ideal learning experience, acting as a blend between hybrid and IVA. Many felt that the blended model was for people who did not feel safe enough to attend school in person, but still wanted to have classes that were not offered for IVA students.
“I chose blended mainly because of the flexibility that it allowed me to have,” junior Amy Chen said. “I was able to prioritize safety while still maintaining some of my prior commitments.”
Even though COVID-19 has created many complications, students have tried to make the most out of what they can, thoughtfully planning decisions that will affect the rest of their high school careers.