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Back to School 2021



The clamoring of students feet as they travel from class to class, the hum of hurriedly exchanged conversations and the bustle of students entering classrooms returned to Paso Robles High School (PRHS) on Mar. 16 after nearly a year of the campus being devoid of students and teachers due to Covid-19.

The return to hybrid instruction despite the inherent risk of spreading the virus was due to worsening grades over the distance learning format, students’ affected mental health, and a resolute effort by the school board for students to return to in-person instruction regardless of any possible dissent from public health authorities; board superintendent Kurt Dubost stated in a board meeting on Feb. 23 that the district would “essentially go to war” with public health if they were not given the authorization to reopen schools. 

The transition was marked by new safety guidelines of mandatory temperature screenings, social distancing, one-way paths, and mask regulations to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 on campus. The return was met with excitement as well as worry from some students, as the most common words used by 74 surveyed students at PRHS to describe their feelings about returning to school were excited, stressful, anxious, and nervous. Most students that were surveyed found that the return went well, as 85 percent of those surveyed rated their experience with a score between six and ten on a scale from one to ten.

Junior Hailey Hodel had a positive experience in her return to in-person instruction, with a score of nine out of ten for how well she thought the experience went. “It was great to see my teachers and peers and it felt great to be back on campus,” Hodel stated. 

The safety guidelines put in place by PRHS administration were also received well by students, as 93 percent of 70 respondents remarked that the guidelines made them feel that their health was protected on campus. One student, senior Grant Komm, considered himself to be at a low risk of being severely harmed by Covid-19, but followed the guidelines to lessen the risk for others.

“Being relatively healthy myself, I have not worried about what the implications would be if I got Covid-19, but I’ve been following the rules on behalf of others to protect them,” Komm stated. 

Percentages were gathered from a survey asking how well students thought that the following applied to themselves and those around them.

The enforcement of these guidelines was also deemed adequate by most, as only 28 percent of 71 respondents felt that social distancing and mask regulations needed to be more strictly enforced; of those 28 percent, nine students were referring to mask regulations and 14 were referring to social distancing guidelines.

One respondent, Junior Solana Fairburn, remarked that they saw a “wide support for the mask policy,” and that on the one occasion where she saw a student with a mask off, she could only “hope they would put it back on,” Fairburn said. 

One inherent risk of the return to in-person instruction was that students would not follow the proposed guidelines. According to surveyed respondents, 89 percent felt that students followed mask regulations adequately and 54 percent felt that social distancing guidelines were followed well enough by students. 

As life returned to the Paso Robles High School campus to finish out the 2020-2021 school year on Mar. 13, a collection of stories and photos have been gathered to supplement Crimson Newsmagazine’s findings, capture campus events, and reveal the emotions of students and staff. 

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