Pandemic Snowballs as Winter Arrives

Maxwell de Voogdt

Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases the state of California has been put into lockdown once again. As of December we’ve seen a dramatic uptick in hospitalizations, a sharp drop in ICU availability, and a tragic wave of deaths due to the virus. At hand, retail stores have been forced to reduce capacity to 20%, non essential travel has been temporarily banned, and non essential businesses have been closed. Worse yet (or not), the reopening of schools has been pushed back yet again.

In a message to students and parents alike, LBUSD has stated “Distance Learning Continues through March 1”, rather than the reopening commencing on January 4th. For many this is no surprise; especially since the cease of distance learning has been pushed from October, to early January, to mid January, and now early March. The push back is not limited to Wilson, although it sits within the long beach zip code with the highest cases. Instead it is district wide. To many this comes as no surprise. The pushback is one of 4 extensions to the distance learning order.

In order for the reopening plan to commence for LBUSD pre-k – 6th grade, the city of Long Beach needs to have 25 cases per 100,000 residents. For 7th – 12th grade, the city of Long Beach must remain in the “Red Tier” for 5 consecutive days. As you may remember, “Red Tier” according to the California Dept of Public Health means we have 4 – 7 cases per 100,000 residents.

With the reopening being pushed closer and closer to the end of the school year, this begs many questions. Will we go back within this year? How will testing happen? What will prom look like? What will graduation look like?