Hybrid Students Switch To IVA, Many Fear Exposure to COVID-19

Eighty-five hybrid students switched to Irvine Virtual Academy (IVA) for the spring semester, fearing possible exposure to COVID-19 as cases rose.

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Eighty-five hybrid students switched to Irvine Virtual Academy (IVA) for the spring semester, fearing possible exposure to COVID-19 as cases rose. 

A form to switch academic models was released by Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) on Nov. 30 and was due on Dec. 4. Over 500 students switched to IVA districtwide, also causing seventeen class periods that were previously planned to be offered at Irvine High School (IHS) to also switch. In addition, five additional IHS teachers started to teach part-time for IVA, adding to the sixteen IHS teachers who already taught full or part-time in the fall. Beyond schedule changes, students switching to or from IVA will face adjustments in curriculum as well.

“I think it’s going to be an adjustment switching models,” assistant principal Kelly Molina said. “It’s a different learning style to learn behind a computer versus coming in person. The curriculum that’s used at IVA is primarily the Florida Virtual curriculum, so the curriculum doesn’t completely align with the curriculum taught in the hybrid model.”

Molina also states that a factor to the switch is fear of exposure to COVID-19. Since the start of the new year, daily cases in Orange County have increased by about 142 percent while deaths have increased by 141 percent, according to the New York Times. This increase is worrisome, especially to students who are at high risk or have high risk relatives. Currently, IHS has four students and three staff members test positive. And right now, IUSD has a total of 97 student in-person cases and 49 staff in-person cases. 

“While I appreciate everything IUSD has done so far, they could do a better job maintaining and improving the current protocols,” senior Amie Tian said. “They can do a better job with balancing class sizes, limiting the amount of close interactions with students during lunch, and being stricter on safety precautions”

In addition to changes in staff and classes, IHS decided to add several credit recovery classes called Learning Lab. This class is for students who have failed to gain the required credits of a course who can then retake the course in the spring semester instead of taking it over the summer using a curriculum called Edguinty. This course started with the spring semester, though students  can still ask their counselor about taking it.