While some students are thriving in an online environment, many are not; and distance learning isn’t just taking a toll on their grades, but their mental health as well.
That's why a group of families, primarily from the Lucia Mar Unified School District, is petitioning to reopen local schools.
Natalia Xavier, a freshman at Arroyo Grande High School, is usually getting A’s and B’s, but the closure of schools is impacting her motivation.
“I fell down to three F's, a D, and a C,” Xavier said. "It was a big struggle for me so I no longer do that class anymore because it was making my other grades fall to where I wouldn't be able to pass ninth grade. I'm focusing now on getting my grades up."
Xavier says that one challenging class led to failing grades and depression.
Data released by the Lucia Mar Unified School District shows she's not the only one.
At the high school level, failing grades increased by 189% in 2020, compared to the same time in 2019.
It’s up 87% for the junior high level.
The district says struggling students are put in small learning pods where they meet on campus to catch up.
However, many parents say these adjustments are just band-aids.
“To see their mental health and their whole personalities change and to see that it's altering their future and everything that they've planned and there's nothing you can do about it, it's devastating for parents,” Pismo Beach parent Shannon Galvan said.
With two kids in high school, Shannon Galvan created the “Central Coast Families for Education Reform” (CCFER) to urge district leaders to give students an in-person learning option.
“We understand that option is not for every family right now, but for families like mine, we've had zero option, this has been forced on us, we've had no choice. we want the option for our kids to go to school and learn in a classroom with a real-life teacher."
She's reaching out to families across the central coast to garner support and to give kids something to look forward to.
“We plan to reopen all schools at all levels when the county is in the red tier for two weeks. We hope that San Luis Obispo County will move to the red tier shortly so we can bring students back safely as soon as possible."
LMUSD leaders say they plan to reopen all schools when the county is back in the red tier for two weeks.
“We hope that San Luis Obispo County will move to the red tier shortly so we can bring students back safely as soon as possible. At all levels we have adjusted our courses and staffing to ensure that families who choose to keep their students in distance learning are able to do so,” district spokeswoman Amy Jacobs said.
They say preparations like social distancing and health screenings are already in place for when the time comes.