Tag Archives: pandemic life

Absences & Struggles

By: Yael Ventura

As 2021 came to an end and the students returned back to school, a new COVID variant has shown up as well. Omicron has reared its ugly head as a more infective mutation of the virus, with it easily being able to spread around quickly. This new variant has affected schools across the nation, with teachers having up to 50% of their student’s being quarantined or absent. Just in the LAUSD district alone, they recorded 33% absentee across the district. On average, teachers recorded up to 40-50 absent students across all their classes. Of course this brings forth many issues concerning students and teachers. For instance, teachers struggle with trying to keep their quarantined students on track with their regular classes. Teachers can’t continue with a lesson because the absent students won’t be on the same page as regular students when they eventually return. students aren’t being sent back home, teachers are back to being in a full classroom and seeing familiar faces.

For students, it’s difficult to keep up with the homework without the teacher’s guidance and having that face to face learning. Just being given the homework without the much needed learning can cause a student to fall behind, making it very difficult to raise their grades. As well as possibly falling behind with grades, another struggle students face is mental health. Quarantine was hard, mentally, for students as they went from being in a social setting to being stuck at home for a year. Seniors are also really worried about shutdowns with how many people have been sent home, fearing that a possible shutdown could ruin their final year of school and senior activities. As scary as possible shutdowns are, it doesn’t mean students are helpless. Many actions can be done to counteract COVID-19 and it’s variants, like covering up with a mask.

Along with covering up, getting the vaccine and it’s booster is a great way to protect yourself and family against the virus, especially with the new Omicron variant. Taking tests is also very useful in counteracting the virus. Thankfully, as the days go by more and more students are showing up to school again. With classes being almost filled back to how they were, and with students aren’t being sent back home, teachers are back to being in a full classroom and seeing familiar faces.

Should colleges require students to be vaccinated?

By Monse Juarez

The decision has been made by several colleges and universities across the country: students will be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Some exemptions from this requirement include religious and medical reasons. Aside from the exemptions, there has been pushback by Republicans and even from parents of students. However, the majority of students have not tried to fight the decision at which colleges have arrived. It is clear that different groups have formed their own opinions about the Covid-19 vaccine, however the real question is: Should colleges require students to be vaccinated?

To answer this question, society must first consider if it is actually legal for colleges to set this requirement. According to Harvard Law Professor, Glenn Cohen, colleges aren’t exactly breaking any laws. On the other hand, there aren’t any laws that explicitly say it is allowed. The Covid-19 vaccination roll-out for college students has been controversial for this very reason. The law doesn’t explicitly forbid or allow college institutions from setting vaccination requirements. In reality, the pushback comes from individual states that have decided to ban Covid-19 regulations like masks and vaccinations.

Clearly, Covid-19 vaccinations are needed to make sure that people are safe. So in reality the Covid-19 vaccination requirement that has been implemented by several colleges across the country, is not exactly illegal. Some colleges already require that students receive flu shots, and all public schools require vaccinations for things like MMR and chickenpox. So the Covid-19 vaccination requirement is actually not as far-fetched as some may believe.

Kids over 16 can now get the Covid-19 Vaccine

By Mario & Mathew Ruiz

Teens are now able to get the Covid-19 vaccine. With all states now starting to open slowly, vaccination eligibility to residents 16 and up, these teens are among the latest groups trying to get the vaccine. Children as well as teens tend to get mild cases of Covid-19, though some have gotten very ill, and have even died from the virus. So by getting vaccinated it can help protect them. Vaccinating these younger populations will help limit the spread of the virus, as proven by the experts.

To my knowledge, many teenagers want to get vaccinated to be able to go out more and keep themselves safe. WIth the reopening of many schools, graduation being around the corner, some health officials are reminding the teenagers about how they may be at lower risk of Covid-19. Many parents want their kids to get vaccinated but others are unsure so it is both-sided. The plan is to get millions of people vaccinated so the rates can drop and everything can go back to normal again. Well, that has already begun. Disneyland has reopened, as well as Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags, Universal Studios and many other attractions starting to reopen with precautions. 

When teenagers were first eligible to get vaccinated, over 2,000 kids got the shot in the third phase among those who have received it and have no side effects. It has been said that 12-15 year olds produced higher levels of antibodies on average than older teens and adults. So far, it has been successful for the vaccinations on these kids. But everybody’s body is different and they can also react to things differently. Results of further data are being expected in the second half of the year.

Opinion: Elementary Schools are Reopening

By Evelyn Aquino

Starting this Monday, March 29, preschool through 2nd grade students in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District returned back to campus for in-person learning on a hybrid learning schedule. 3rd to 5th grade students are expected to be back after spring break on Monday, April 12, 2021. Parents were given the option to either return their kids back to in-person school or continue digitally online.

In my opinion, schools should not reopen yet; instead, they should focus on how to improve for the following school year instead of possibly putting kids at risk of getting the virus right now. If one person–either a student, teacher, or staff member–got the virus, they would have to close again or send multiple people into quarantine, which could possibly lead to kids falling behind once again. It will also take time for students to adjust to the sudden change of going from online to in-person, and there are fewer than 40 days of school left.

Although young kids are less likely to transmit the virus, it is still important that the schools continue following safety precautions. They should still be 6 feet away from each other while wearing masks, and teachers and custodians should clean any surfaces that the students would most likely touch, such as the door handles, desks, books, and any electronic devices.

It was believed that many parents didn’t want their children to return to school when cases were at the peak. Now, around 50% of parents want their children to return to school since cases are decreasing and L.A. County is slowly reopening since it approached the red tier. Opening schools in general was something that wasn’t settled knowing the risks of getting the virus. Reopening elementary schools was the first approach because they only stay in one room all day.

Young kids will most likely have difficulties following the same precautions an adult has to follow. It is also a concern for kids with special needs. Most might be capable of following safety protocols, but others might not.

It might be better if schools didn’t reopen for the rest of the school year; but the opening has begun, and now we wait and see how things go.

“Help is Finally Here” : Stimulus Checks Help Those in Need

By Daisy Penaloza, News & Opinion editor

Finally.

In the last couple of weeks, much to the relief of many, Americans began seeing a rise in their bank accounts. That is because the stimulus checks have finally started arriving; and, more are on the way!

How did this come about?

The American Rescue Plan is a 1.9 trillion dollar economic stimulus bill created by President Joe Biden and signed into law on March 11, 2021. This bill includes many benefits for people who qualify.  

This stimulus bill will bring aid to small businesses and communities as well as many others in need.

This new plan covers just a small portion of what is needed in order to rebuild what was of incredible destruction from the previous years, from the United States last administration. We all know how much of a struggle those last four year were.

Anyways, enough about that. It’s time to focus on the new, the better. We’ve finally got some good coming our way, let’s see what that’s all about.

This new bill incorporates many needed factors from creating millions of additional jobs to advancing racial equity. Many people will finally see their window of opportunities arise.

As President Joe Biden stated, “It’s time that we build an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out. And this bill shows that when you do that, everybody does better.”

With this new plan, Americans are hopeful that the country will begin to recover from not only the consequences wrought by the traumatic pandemic but also from the period of national upheaval and unrest.  

See our related story for more insight on the American Rescue Plan.

Stimulus Checks From Government

By Carter Balbuena 含光君

The new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill proposed by President Biden has been signed by the Senate and the President himself, so here’s what the bill includes:

Direct Payments

Most likely, the first thing people are wondering about is the stimulus check, specifically how much they’re getting, and if it’ll be enough to support them. Those eligible are as follows: individual people get $1,400 per person if they earn up to $75,000 per year and for couples if they earn up to $150,000 per year. This means that for a family of 4–two parents and two children–they would receive a check for $5600.

Unemployed Benefits

Now, those that are unemployed get $300 a week, which was originally proposed as $400. This will extend up to September 6, 2021.

Public and Education

Over $128 billion in grants is being given to schools, which includes funding for colleges, transit agencies, housing aid, child care providers, and food assistance. $7.5 billion is being sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to aid the COVID-19 Vaccines.

Other Benefits

Child tax credit has been increased to $3,000 for ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6. As for couples earning $150,000 a year and individuals earning $75,000, this amount is reduced. However, those that are eligible for full credit will get payments up to $300 per month starting July and lasting until the end of the year. Additionally, $7.25 billion is included for a small-business loan program known as PPP which allows for more nonprofits to apply and also includes larger nonprofits to be eligible.

Check out more on the American Rescue Plan and the stimulus checks.

Return to School Opinion: What Choice Would You Make?

by Eliza Rodrigueza

School is a big part of a student’s life and it will prepare them for adulthood, but since 2020 students have been in distant learning and taking classes over Zoom. If given the option to go back on campus, I wanted to see what the students would choose, so I created a Google survey and asked students to participate. 

My question was simple, If high schools were to open again and you were given two options to choose from: (1) going back on campus, or, (2) staying home and continuing to do distance learning, which one would you choose?

Out of the fifty students who responded to the survey, the results were pretty close. 52% said they would opt to return to campus while 48% stated they would remain home.

When asked about her choice to continue distance learning, Cadet Paula Huerta stated,  

“I personally do not think it is safe enough to go back. My dad is very prone to getting sick and it could be very risky. The vaccine is out but it doesn’t mean it is a cure.”

Personally, I agree with what Huerta has said because it is not yet safe to go back to school even if the vaccine has been released.

Cadet second class Briana Guvara shared that, “Yes I would go back on campus because distance learning is very distracting.”

Staff Sergeant Mia Martinez states, “I would like to go back on campus because I need to get out of the house. And because I miss seeing my friends even if we are conversing from 6 feet apart.” It’s easy to understand that students miss seeing their friends. 

Those wanting to return to school have valid reasons. The distractions at home can really get in the way of learning, and all of us miss socializing with friends. 

What to Consider?

In January, Harvard Health Publishing released information on the Coronavirus Outbreak, and it stated that younger kids can get COVID-19 too. 

Still, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District just reopened elementary schools beginning Monday, March 29th. But unfortunately, there has been no vaccine released for younger children under the age of 16.

Therefore, I don’t believe that it is safe to send them back to school; younger kids are very naive, and they do not always listen to what adults tell them to do. They may not wear their masks. They may share them with friends.  If it is not safe for high school students, why would they send little kids to go back to school? 

Just because a vaccine was released there are still many possibilities where it can go wrong and turn out for the worst. 

UC Davis and WebMD both published articles that share why many people are still hesitant to take the vaccine.

The decision about whether or not it is safe and advisable to return to school remains quite controversial. 

If you were given the option, which would you choose? Sound off in our comments section.

Preparing For An 8-Week-Old Puppy

A Female Shih Tzu named Oreo McFlurry Martinez

by Mia Martinez

Would you own a puppy right now if you were able to?

For weeks, I had been wondering what to name my new puppy. She would be arriving in 7 weeks! I needed a name. It took me a while to figure out the perfect one. While my cousin, who is also getting a puppy, and I were texting, she gave me the idea of Oreo McFlurry. Instantly,  I thought YES! My puppy’s black and white fur and the name Oreo fit perfectly.

The puppy was born January 3rd,  so I have to wait a total of 8 weeks to bring my new friend home. In the meantime I will be creating a little corner for her in my room with a crate, bed, blankets, pads, and toys.

Necessities

This puppy will be the 2nd dog I have owned. But I haven’t had a dog in a couple of years. So I am going off of my memory of what I remember from having a dog in the past. I recall some of the basic necessities they needed on a day to day basis. 

She will need pads, training treats, food, a crate, a bed, blankets, and toys, And Items for her hygiene care such as a brush, shampoo, conditioner, etc. From YouTube videos I watched about the same breed of a dog is that some leashes and collars are better than others and now I know which ones are better.

It was important to research this breed to learn how big she’d get. The reason it was important is because I needed to know what size bed and crate to get her, so I wouldn’t need to continue buying new beds and crates as she grows.

Why get a puppy right now?

Since COVID-19, everyone is at home–well–everyone should be staying at home–so instead of being bored, doing nothing, and especially instead of being by yourself you could have a little buddy to lighten up your day!

The dog could bring pleasure into your day. Since there is a lot of negativity in the world right now, having a puppy might bring you joy and help you emotionally and physically. Even though taking care of a puppy is a lot of work, the benefits are worth it. 

Dogs can reduce stress and anxiety, and they can ease loneliness and depression. For these reasons, dogs are great companions for older adults too. 

Dogs can help you be more physical because they need to go on walks, and they enjoy activity. You can chase them around the house or the yard and play catch or fetch with them. All of this gets your heart beating faster in a good way. Something many of us really need these days. 

So since we are in quarantine, and since we really don’t know how much longer this pandemic will last, we should all make the most out of being at home. 

For me, the answer was simple: I got a puppy!

from TheSprucePets.com

Opinion: Senior Year 2021

by Joceline Rodriguez 

Senior year. It’s said to be one of the best years of high school. Normally, there are so many fun activities and events to enjoy with your friends as school is coming to an end. It’s one time in our lives that we’ll never be able to experience again.

Although most teens would agree that school sucks, and it is not very fun, what IS amazing is how we meet new people and develop new friendships. School has its ups and downs for sure,  but it’s honestly a great experience–with the right people.

Before COVID, everyone would always complain about going to school, and they talked about how much they would prefer to do school online instead of dragging themselves half-asleep to campus every day.

But now, after a year of “learning” at home,  I know many kids and adults who would jump at the chance to return to campus right now instead of doing classes via Zoom and Schoology all day every day alone and in isolation.

At first it was not bad. In fact, it was kind of fun–a novelty.  But the newness has quickly worn down like an over-sharpened pencil.

Last year, the class of 2020 suffered major disappointments. They didn’t get to have the full senior experience with prom, activities, and graduation. On campus life was cut short–right at the most exciting part of the year.

Graduates couldn’t walk the stage in person with their friends.  Families couldn’t sit in the crowd and cheered them on. Instead, all everyone got was just a video of all the seniors’ pictures on a TV screen.

However, this years’ seniors have it worse. We didn’t even get to step foot on campus for one day of our senior year! And it sucks knowing that we probably won’t be having graduation in person either.

We’re all wishing for things to get better. We’re all hoping that the vaccine will allow us to actually graduate live and in person. We’re all at home waiting.

But, no matter what happens, we can finally see a light at the end of the dark and lonely tunnel. Eventually everything will go back to normal.

Maybe the class of 2022 will be able to experience the whole traditional senior year thing complete with dances, homecoming, prom, grad night, and an actual graduation.

If they do, I hope they truly appreciate it.

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