EVHS Introducing Phase 3 with On Campus Cohorts

Students and teachers share their opinions on the Phase 3 school reopening on April 19.

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Karen Chen

A new schedule has been released for students who want to attend cohorts on campus at EVHS.

Karen Chen

Since the beginning of the 2020 to 2021 school year, students have been asking when school would resume in person. For the majority of the school year, the chances of returning to school have been low and uncertain. However, this semester, EVHS has announced Phase 3, which includes opening cohorts on campus to students.

Cohorts will be opening on April 19th to all students. With regards to the Santa Clara County Department of Health, EVHS will be holding cohorts both indoors and outdoors with up to fifteen and thirty-one students in each cohort respectively. Each cohort will consist of at minimum one adult to supervise the students. Only a maximum of a thousand students will be allowed on campus at a time to ensure students aren’t in close or dangerous proximity to others. Students will also be required to follow safety precautions such as wearing masks, staying at a safe distance apart from each other, and maintaining hygiene. 

The opening of cohorts will allow participating students to directly ask for help and guidance from teachers as well as for students to see each other in person. They will also work to support students with special needs, English Language Learners, Foster Youth or McKinney-Vento, disengaged students, students involved in athletics, and students opt-in by their parents. 

The cohorts will be open throughout the week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays after class and throughout Wednesday. Teachers and students who have early schedules will also be able to attend cohorts on Monday and Thursday. 

However, the introduction of Phase 3 has brought up concern and discussion on the necessity and benefits of the cohorts. Mr. Lubbs, a physics teacher at EVHS, has been cautious about the idea of opening cohorts due to the close proximity participants will be in. 

“I’m a little ambivalent. Because at one level I know it’s important for students to have those connections that are there. I know some students are really struggling with the isolation of being at home or some of those other ways,” said Mr. Lubbs. “But the other part of me knows that viruses need hosts to replicate.”

Mr. Lubbs will be one of the many teachers returning to school for the cohorts. While he does believe the cohorts will benefit many students, as a science teacher, he’s concerned about the possibility of the spread of the virus within the cohorts. While outdoors cohorts may provide a safer setting, cohorts inside classrooms may have limited air ventilation and distance. 

Ms. Marfia-Roza, an AP Language teacher and English teacher at EVHS, has also felt conflicted towards the implementation of the new schedule for cohorts. Opening new cohorts would also mean eliminating certain online office hours for students at home. When comparing zoom calls to cohorts, Ms. Marfia-Roza believes that zoom calls are more effective and convenient.

“I’m much more likely to get a student who’s failing to be on a zoom,” said Ms. Marfia-Roza. When it comes to helping students who are struggling in class, Ms. Marfia-Roza believes that zoom calls demand less from both students and teachers. The effort of going on campus may discourage some students from attending cohorts in comparison to attending online office hours. 

Many students like Anikait Paliwal, a sophomore at EVHS, have decided to continue distance learning without attending cohorts. 

“First of all, there’s always the risk of the coronavirus sort of passing itself along,” said Paliwal. However, Paliwal sympathized with students who may want alternatives to distance learning due to the isolating and digital-based curriculum. In-person instruction could help overcome issues with internet connection and learning styles. 

Despite the concerns for safety and practicality, many teachers have kept positive outlooks for the cohorts. Mr. Griffin, an English teacher at EVHS, hopes that the cohorts will be able to provide some students with a better social environment. Due to distance learning, students, especially seniors, have been unable to experience EVHS’s celebrations and day-to-day student life. 

“My only real concern is that as seniors they didn’t get to bond as they typically do, so bringing them physically together might give them some semblance in that case,” said Mr. Griffin. 

As the first week of Phase 3 cohorts approaches, Mr. Lubbs is expecting an eventful and busy start. He compared the start of cohorts to the start of a new school. With lots of tools, appliances, and systems at school having been dormant for the majority of the school year, he is expecting some difficulties and errors to emerge. 

However, even if issues arise, Mr. Lubbs believes the opening of cohorts may make for “some interesting stories to tell in the future.”