Some students say they'll do whatever it takes to go back to the classroom.
About 20 Templeton High School students set up to attend online classes in the campus parking lot Thursday as a way to demonstrate to district leaders they can learn in-person safely.
“We want to show our community that we truly want to come back,” said Abbey Brady, ASB President at Templeton High School. “By wearing our masks and staying six feet apart, no matter what we have to abide by, we are really ready to listen to the rules and come back.”
Brady, along with other students, took to social media to post their plans to sit in at the parking lot and attend virtual classes while wearing masks and social distancing.
“I would do whatever it took to go back and actually learn,” said Katy Simonin, Templeton High School senior.
So this is a new one... @TTownEagles students voluntarily attending online class in the school parking lot. A group of about 20 say they are fed up with distance learning & ready to go back to the classroom. They support going back safely with COVID-19 precautions. Story @KSBY 5p pic.twitter.com/ruwrHRP14M
— Megan Healy (@MeganHealyTV) October 8, 2020
The seniors said they got mixed reactions about the demonstration and reopening.
“We definitely have gotten since last night a lot of negativity and positivity,” Brady said.
In a statement to KSBY, Aaron Asplund, the Templeton Unified School District Superintendent said, “We respect students' rights to express their views, and wish to commend our students for the respectful, non-disruptive manner in which they chose to make their voices heard. We are reminded that the matter of school reopening is a front-and-center issue for so many in our community and throughout the nation. “
Gavin Taber, a senior, said he found comfort knowing other students were struggling with distance learning.
“It's good to see how everyone interacts with their Zooms so I know I'm not the only one who's awkward from it,” Taber said.
Many students said distance learning is taking a toll on their mental health.
“I wake up, turn on my computer, I get headaches, it's horrible and I know our teachers are trying, but you can't learn through a screen,” Simonin said.
She said the group plans to organize another outdoor sit-in in the future.
These Templeton Eagles are ready to venture into the new educational norm whenever that may be.
Many of the students said they were grateful to teachers and district officials for pushing to reopen school safely.
“I just really want to say thank you to all the teachers and parents who are really trying to make this the best year possible. Even though it's not the best situation, they are making the best of it,” Taber said.
The high school's principal and a few other school staff members were out at the parking lot Thursday keeping an eye on the students, making sure they were focused on school and social distancing.
Templeton Unified School District's Board of Trustees recently gave direction and will consider taking formal action to transition schools to a hybrid model during Thursday's meeting.
If approved, it would go into effect November 30.
At that point, Templeton students will have the choice to participate in either the hybrid program, home school/independent study, or continue distance learning, according to superintendent Asplund.