MAP field trips return after pandemic year

September 20, 2021 — by Anamika Anand and Victoria Hu
Photo by Ms. Herzman
MAP 11 students pose in front of Universal Studios on a pre-pandemic field trip to LA.
The MAP planning team works through logistical difficulties to organize the traditional John Steinbeck trip, a viewing of the musical Hamilton and an overnight trip to LA.  

Before the pandemic, senior Mahi Ravi never would have guessed that her Media Arts Program (MAP) 11 year would be fully devoid of field trips. 

Ravi was especially looking forward to the juniors’ field trip to Los Angeles, which she described as the highlight of all MAP field trips. 

“There was a lot of buildup and hype to the moment, and then we figured out it wasn’t even going to happen due to COVID-19,” Ravi said. “Our spirits were crushed.”

This year, however, teachers are working through logistical challenges to plan both traditional and new field trips for MAP students. 

The pandemic has given the planning team certain difficulties such as booking venues because some venues do not accept group reservations. 

“It’s usually stressful planning field trips, but I think there’s this extra layer of stress just worrying about whether we’ll be able to do it,” MAP coordinator and English 11 teacher Natasha Ritchie said. 

In a normal year, freshmen go on the Steinbeck field trip, which involves visiting the John Steinbeck museum and farm in Salinas. Sophomores travel to San Francisco and work through trust exercises in the annual ropes course field trip.

Although the Steinbeck field trip is planned this year, the ropes course field trip will not happen. Ritchie said that students will likely go on a film-related field trip during second semester, possibly to the annual Cinequest film festival. 

Along with the highly-anticipated LA trip, juniors typically go to the Angel Island immigration station in October to look at poetry written on detention barrack walls. This year, however, MAP 11 students will be watching a performance of the musical “Hamilton” at Broadway San Jose on Oct. 26 instead. 

Because of the theater’s proximity to the school, students will be expected to organize their own transportation, unlike previous years. Students attending the show are also required to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 PCR test.

In March, MAP 11 students will go on their LA field trip and stay for several nights. During past LA trips, MAP students toured college campuses such as USC and Chapman University, visited various film studios and walked through the sets of TV shows such as “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Tentative plans have already been made for this year’s trip, such as a Warner Brothers studio tour and a visit to the Getty Museum.  All district COVID-19 protocols will be followed to ensure student safety.

However, Ritchie reported that in the event that COVID-19 conditions worsen and overnight trips become unsafe, everything is refundable.

In senior year, MAP students usually go on a weekend field trip in May to Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds in Monterey County. The MAP planning team is currently looking into Asilomar and other venue options. 

“I’m definitely excited for the field trip in May, and hopefully, we can go,” Ravi said. “And especially because I am a senior, it is one of our last few months together. So it’s always really nice to get closer to your peers before everyone takes their wings and flies off in different directions.”

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