Staff prepares the campus for 3A in-person learning

March 16, 2021 — by Cici Xu
Photo by The Buzzer.

A teacher live-streams his class to students in hybrid learning mode with students sitting in the classroom but also students Zooming at home, a structure similar to 3A learning. 


On a recent weekday, Paul Weir, the head of the maintenance department, aimed a disinfectant electrostatic sprayer at the underside of a desk. From row to row, Weir patiently sanitized all the high-touch areas in the classroom. After 10 minutes of non-stop spraying and wiping, he sealed the door with a blue sticker, indicating that the room had been fully sanitized. This process will be repeated for almost all the classrooms on campus on a daily basis as the maintenance staff prepares for the staff and students to return to in-person learning. 

Though Santa Clara County is operating in the Red Tier, teachers are currently planning for 3A learning, which will begin on March 24. Acting as a transition into the hybrid learning mode, 3A learning incorporates a one-hour optional in-person learning on Wednesday. 

Some students will go in the morning and some will return to campus in the afternoon. This learning mode will potentially operate until spring break. Starting April 12, the administration hopes to move to 3B, which can only start once all staff members have had the chance to be vaccinated or the county moves into the Orange Tier. (Most staff members will receive their second doses in late March or early April.

 During the early preparation stage of in-person learning, the maintenance department has been working tirelessly to meet the county's COVID-19 guidelines. Because COVID-19 can be more easily transmitted in an indoor environment, the maintenance staff has updated all classroom ventilation systems to Merv 13 filters. 

This filter has a removal efficiency of 0.3 to 1.0 micron size from 50 percent to 95 percent of the filtered area, which, combined with the 6-feet social distancing order all students and staff will have to follow on campus, can significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19. 

“We all worked very hard to make our campus function,” Weir said. “All the equipment is maintained, and everything is ready for students when they come back on campus.”

In addition to the efforts from the maintenance staff, teachers had the chance to go to school March 10 and 17 to set up their classrooms and work through the details of the new hybrid teaching they will employ in April. 

For her part, history teacher Faith Daly finished arranging her room on Feb. 25. Her classroom is now turned sideways with students’ backs facing the door to allow more room for 6-feet tables, with only one student per table to maintain social distancing. 

Daly plans to use her big TV screen on the left side of her wall to livestream her classes for her online students while she teaches with her mask on from the left corner of the room. 

While some teachers are testing different technologies and online applications to make in-person learning less daunting for students, some classes such as engineering and art have already granted students opportunities to return back to campus in Phase 2B. 

“I know that there are a lot of students in my art class returning to our classroom because they probably don’t feel motivated in online classes,” said junior Tina Hu, who is currently enrolled in both engineering and art classes. “Painting, sculpting, and engineering need a lot of hands-on work, and it usually takes a super long time for a project to be finished.” 

Students who choose to go on campus need to comply with district policies regarding extracurricular cohorts, which means students can only be in one academic cohort at a time. Moreover, students have to wipe down and fully sanitize all the equipment and tables in the lab to prevent any germ transmission through the surface. 

Sanitization has also become one of the maintenance department’s daily routines as they sanitize restrooms every hour. According to Weir, students in cohorts will be assigned to specific restrooms based on their assigned classroom to further prevent transmission.

As 62 percent of students await the day of returning back on campus, the school continues to plan to ensure a safe learning environment for all as more and more students get ready to go back to school. 

“We're doing what we can and what we have available to be ready when we're told students are coming back to school, and that's an ongoing way,” Weir said. 


To learn more about more efforts from the maintenance department on sanitizing the campus, click here