Trojans make the Return to campus

What does the Trojan student body really think about returning to campus?


Information gathered by Alana Luman

Alana Luman, Editor-in-Chief

STOCKTON— Lincoln High School students finally made their long return to campus after 416 days of quarantine and distance learning on April 6, 2021. Until April 19, 2021, students at Lincoln High were on hybrid schedules with students being split in half by last name. Students having last names of A-L attended in-person class on Monday and Tuesday’s, and last names of M-Z attended in-person class on Thursday and Friday’s. Wednesday’s had been reserved for the entire school community to have a minimum day schedule with all of the students working remotely from home. Students who wanted to continue their distance learning schedule were offered their same Monday thru Friday remote schedule. On Monday, April 19th , our district’s school board and superintendent decided to bring the students back on campus for four days of instruction instead of the initial two days. There would be no more splitting of days by surname. Students who had voted to return to in-person learning are now on campus Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is used as a minimum day with all Trojans attending class from home.

The decision to return to campus for four days a week came with very short notice. I don’t think the students had much time to react to the decision. Every Lincoln Unified School District family was initially sent out a survey to select distance or in-person learning. The original survey was offering two days of in-person instruction, and the switch to four days a week of in-person left some families with their head, spinning. I just wish that there was more time to ask students for their direct input because we are the ones, after all, who are sitting inside of classrooms worried about our health.

The students that did make the decision to return to campus have been very happy about the COVID procedures that the faculty are participating in and enforcing on a daily basis. This is excellent news for the school’s overall health plan and a potential normal re-opening of school in August. Classrooms are equipped with hand-sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, air purifiers, and plexiglass desk dividers to keep students safe. Students are also required to keep his/her face covering (mask) on for the entire duration of class. Classroom desks are organized to be socially distanced (3 feet apart) as best as possible based on the size of the classroom. Teachers have the option of opening his/her classroom for lunch, but with the school deploying over 50 new picnic benches throughout campus, there is plenty of outdoor seating for lunch which allows students to stay safe. With 60% approximately of Trojans deciding to return to in-person learning, our classrooms right now can handle the 10 to 20 students per class period. Hopefully, the San Joaquin COVID numbers continue to decrease during the summer because a 100% return of students to campus in August would mean a return of 28 to 36 students per class section. These types of numbers would not adhere to the current three feet social distancing procedure. A good portion of our older classrooms simply don’t have enough space.

In order to find out exactly how my fellow Trojans were feeling, I created a survey that 115 of my fellow students responded to. It was my goal to go right to the source and see how other teenagers – like myself- were feeling about the return to school. 77.3% of students who wanted to return to school (52.6% of surveyed students) returned because they wished to be social again and distance learning simply was not for them. Working from home provides more distractions, more procrastination, and the work can simply appear to be different without direct in-person instruction. However, 30.4% of those same students returned because their mental health is much better when on campus. When working from home, suddenly your comfort/relaxing space becomes your work space, so there is no differentiation between work and relaxing which can create unnecessary stress and tension. Coming to campus allows students to keep stress and tension at school, and not in the comfort of their home.

For those who didn’t want to return to school (47.4% of surveyed students), they chose to stay home because they did not think returning to school for only eight weeks was worth it. With students still waiting for their vaccination appointments to arrive, 42.7% of the respondents felt that there was a potential risk to contracting the virus and wanted to remain safely at home. 21% of those same respondents were thinking about their mental health and physical health more than returning to campus. Several students didn’t return because they had built a good routine with distance learning, and another handful of surveyed students didn’t want to risk bringing COVID-19 particles back home to family members, who may have compromised immune systems.

The statistical numbers presented above do not tell the whole story. My survey included a response section whereby students could verbally express their opinions about how they truly felt about returning to campus. Here is a sampling of the student responses:

“I actually liked the way it was (Two days per week of in-person instruction). It went better than I expected. I think it is safe enough.”
Freshman Returner

“I have anxiety and it’s hard to deal with [on campus]”
Freshman Distance-Learner

“I feel like I would get work done better if I was on campus, utilizing class time instead of walking away [and not doing my work].”
Sophomore Distance-Learner

“Not that many people were in the classes when I showed up and it’s been fairly easy to keep a safe distance from others.”
Junior Returner

“Honestly, I feel that the school is doing the best they can in terms of taking the proper precautions.”
Junior Returner

“I hope the school keeps this hybrid learning schedule for next year. I feel more comfortable instead of being here for four days and therefore have a higher risk of getting
Junior Returner

“I feel like us returning to school really was just rushed a little. In my opinion, I feel like the students should have a bigger voice.”
Junior Distance-Learner

“Kids are still going off campus even though it is supposed to be a closed campus which could be compromising the health of other students and staff.”
Senior Returner

“Don’t do 4 days a week. It’ll be harder to control [students], [the school couldn’t] control the two small groups from what I saw. Kids don’t listen.”
Senior Returner

Luckily, as of the 15th of April, students 16 years or older can get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments can be made for your vaccine on . Fill out the forms, and you will be emailed the best dates and locations for you to receive your first dose. Right now, the only vaccine available to the 16+ age group is Pfizer, which is said to be the best version. The Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, which was just taken under review, was temporarily pulled because there is a slight chance it might cause blood clots. However, the affected vaccination pool was too small to verify anything. Of the 115 students surveyed at Lincoln High, 52.2% are sure they want to get their first vaccine dose when it is available and they are eligible. 27.8% do not want to get the vaccine just yet, and 20% are currently unsure whether or not to get it because they are not old enough to receive it, or have already been completely vaccinated.

With 19% of San Joaquin’s adult population being vaccinated, we will hopefully soon see a massive drop in cases and return to a normal functioning society again. People are growing antsy with anticipation. Even if you have reason to not get vaccinated, you should highly reconsider it or at least encourage others to receive it. The vaccine has been proven to begin reducing the spread of COVID-19 and it shows a positive outcome in the near future. If the goal is to interact with one another in a mask less world, then we just have to continue to stay on top of all our COVID procedures and stay patient.