POWAY, Calif. – A student in Poway is calling her school district’s plan to reopen “unacceptable.”
“Right now, I’m uncomfortable, worried and anxious,” said Lili Olah, a senior at Westview High School. “I really want to go back to school, but I feel like with what we know so far, it’s not safe enough.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools worldwide to change how they connect with students in the past few months, but the summer provides many of them a chance to regroup. One of those districts is Poway Unified, which now is preparing to offer students two options to return to classes this fall: in-person and virtual.
In addition to adhering to San Diego County health guidelines, the district’s plan includes requiring staff wear masks and recommends students wear them as well.
But Olah said she doesn’t feel the plan goes far enough. She is calling for masks to be mandatory for everyone and for the district to reduce class sizes to be no larger than 25 students. Olah also favors more of a hybrid plan for learning, one calling for some in-person classes and others to be completed from home.
The high school senior posted her ideas to Change.org, asking others to join her cause. As of about 7 p.m. Thursday, the petition has more than 2,400 signatures.
“Yeah, it’s great,” she said. “It’s actually been less than 48 hours since I put up the petition.”
District leaders say if families vote for in-person classes, it will work to accommodate that while following public health guidelines. But those guidelines change often and families are forced to decide which of the two plans they want in two weeks, just a month before classes start.
Olah said it doesn’t have to be that way.
“Push back the date where we have to make the decision,” Olah said. “Or don’t make it a full-year commitment — just a quarter of a year and see how things change.”