Slow return to the Miramonte campus

Small groups set tone for possible hybrid schedule

On-campus classes began at Miramonte High School in October as teachers hosted a variety of options for students in order to buttress distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The small groups allow us to pilot having students rejoin our campus, but the hybrid will be a much more comprehensive undertaking,” Principal Julie Parks said. 

The current on-campus classes will reflect the hybrid model in the future, but with many changes to accommodate a greater number of students. On campus classes now provide administration with information on how to best utilize class space and properly sanitize.

“I’m excited that things are very slowly opening back up,” junior Aidan Dhaliwal said. Dhaliwal attends an after-school music class provided by music teacher Meredith Hawkins every Wednesday. At this meeting, the same small group of students partake in bucket-drumming, Boomwhackers, color-coded tubes that play certain notes, and discussions about influential music. 

“Teaching on Zoom is better than nothing, but the collaborative nature of my classes can’t be replicated on Zoom. Music (and performing arts classes in general) need live interaction.” Hawkins said.

Drama students met at Miramonte for improvisation practices. Split into groups of 12, stagecraft students worked to take down the Mamma Mia set from the Spring Musical and to set up sounds, props, and costumes for the fall plays “Almost Maine” and “Love/Sick”. In addition to other COVID-19 precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing, stagecraft students take extra care to ensure they’re safely completing their work by wearing gloves while handling power tools.

The on-campus musical theater and drama classes both use a curriculum unique to the on-campus visits, which have nothing to do with online school. “The best thing we can do now is bring our Zoom curriculum into class, because in my opinion, that’s one thing that can make in-person learning as close to our life before quarantine,” Dhaliwal said.

Other non-arts related classes also gather on campus for intervention in certain subjects like math, science, and English. Other classes include on-campus physical education. The administration  is continuing to expand the number of on campus opportunities such as the library opening for students during the school day.

The administration has a COVID-19 safety team that makes recommendations to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Class precautions to keep students and teachers include mandatory masks, sanitization, and reduction of the number of students in each classroom. Before coming on campus, every student must fill out a form that lists symptoms and exposure to those outside of their social bubble. In addition, the janitors must sanitize a room after each class.