No more hybrid: While providing an online alternative in the fall, the district wants students in in-person classes next semester

May 13, 2021 — by Selina Chen

The district will give students a limited online learning alternative that combines Saratoga and Los Gatos HS students in the fall but hopes almost all students will be sitting in classrooms on Aug. 12, according to principal Greg Louie.

Considering the uncertainties of the pandemic, the district is anticipating that a few students may be anxious about coming back to campus for medical or social reasons, he said.

“Pre-pandemic, we basically had compulsory in-person education, but because we don’t know what three months from now is going to look like, it would be a little bit foolhardy to say that not coming back to school will mark you a truant,” Louie said.

The district’s survey, disclosed at a board meeting on May 11, shows that 94.1 percent of SHS students will be coming back. A similar sentiment is reflected in a student FaceBook poll in which out of 60 respondents, 55 anticipated in-person learning, four were undecided and one voted to remain remote.

But unlike the current situation in Phase 4A, in the fall, the district does not anticipate offering simulcasting of in-person classes. While students who choose the online alternative next fall will have academic instruction and support, they may not have access to all the “bells and whistles” that come with a full high school experience, Louie said.

Sophomore Risha Desai voted for remote learning on the Facebook poll. She said, “Learning is easier without the distraction of other students in the classroom and because it’s really nice to not dress up for school.”

However, upon learning that remote students will lose access to certain aspects of the high school experience, she said she would rather be in person.

“There hasn’t been enough final details,” Louie said, “but the idea is to provide what [remote-learning students] need to earn a high school diploma, but they wouldn’t get anything else like clubs, extracurriculars, sports and dances.”