Da Vinci Schools Announces Closure Will Continue Until May 4th. Online Schooling Resumes, but Questions about the Future Arise.

Chelsea McKinnon and Isabel Umekubo

WISEBURN – Mid-afternoon Monday morning, Matthew Wunder, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Da Vinci Schools, announced that all Da Vinci Schools will remain closed until at least May 4, planning to resume on-campus learning May 5. Da Vinci Schools will plan to continue learning online through the use of platforms such as Google Classroom and Zoom, a video chat service. 

As of March 25, Los Angeles County has reported 662 confirmed cases. California reported 40 deaths and 2,102 positive tests for the virus on March 23. 

As mentioned on the Da Vinci Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates page, Da Vinci’s administration made the decision to extend closure after Governor Gavin Newsom announced that in order to maintain the safety of the public, the State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health as well as himself ordered all individuals to stay home or remain in their place of residence. On Thursday, L.A. County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo recommended that all schools in L.A. remain closed until at least May 5 to maintain the spread of the coronavirus. 

Initially, after receiving the news, many students quickly became concerned and worried about the extension of closure and its effect on the future of their learning. Seniors attending all three schools have been affected the most among other grade levels. Seniors are worried about the possible cancellation of prom, grad night, and even graduation depending on the situation.

Junior Angel Uribe was at first thrilled by the fact that Da Vinci Schools had chosen to extend their online learning and closure of schools, but quickly realized some of the downsides to the extension. 

“I do not think this will be as beneficial for students because a lot of grades are going to drop because we don’t get those crucial interactions with our teachers and a lot of students have become unmotivated,” said Uribe. “Without these face-to-face interactions with teachers, it is hard to fully understand the lessons they are trying to teach.”

Sophomore English 10 and Graphic Communications teacher Noël Ingram shares her thoughts on how coronavirus had impacted her year at DVC. She mentions how Graphic Communications dramatically changed the plans for their most recent project due to unavailability with necessary school materials such as the Macbooks.  

“It’s something unique, a very universal experience in terms of how it’s shaped education,” said Ingram. “I think that there have been higher education professionals leading in this area, I’ve gotten a lot of resources from friends that I know who are professors.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a massive global issue, impacting billions of lives worldwide. The coronavirus is transforming education, enforcing more than 30 states to close down schools that ultimately affect 41 million students across the U.S. Just in California, the confirmed cases increase, as mentioned previously. Administrations of schools and school districts alike are working together to make life at home adjustable for students.

DVC Principal Erin D’Souza grew up in New Jersey and spent most of her childhood hoping for snow days that led to school closure, but never considered the extension of school closures due to such a major global pandemic. 

“When there’s a quick and sudden change, there is often a steep learning curve associated with the change, which means that – out of necessity – we will all have to learn new strategies more quickly than we would have had to do it before the sudden change,” said D’Souza. 

D’Souza also shares a bit about her home life, speaking about the fact that educating her two sons alongside working as a principal is a challenge, however, a priority is showing her constant support to all the Da Vinci families. 

“I know that there are so many families who are struggling right now with job instability or the need to go to work and put themselves and their families at risk of exposure to the coronavirus,” mentioned D’souza.“I want to do the best I can to support the whole DVC community during this time while also paying attention to the needs of my family.” 

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