By Elysse James
Aliso Viejo Middle School on Tuesday celebrated the end of cohorts and the return of having most students on campus four days each week.
“It was amazing,” said Aliso Viejo Middle School Principal Cynthia Steinert. “Just the energy that was on campus when the kids were dropped off in the morning, it was invigorating.”
The school had music blaring and the ASB leadership class had decorated the concrete with cheerful chalk designs to celebrate the occasion. School staff noticed happy smiles on the students’ faces as they reunited with friends they had not seen in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“For me, it is something that I’ve wanted to see for a while, so it was exciting and I just had a big smile all day,” Steinert said. “For me, it was just really a fun day.”
For most of this school year, students who went to campus for their classes were divided into two cohorts, with some students in a hybrid program with both in-person and virtual classes, and other students 100 percent online. The school will continue to have virtual days on Mondays, officials said. Aliso Viejo Middle School has 858 students total, with 582 on campus (68 percent) and 271 online only (32 percent).
“What we’re seeing now is a glimpse of what we’ll have in the fall,” Steinert said. .”It’s exciting to know that our classes will be full, and we’ll be following all the guidelines we have to follow. It makes a big difference for the teachers, too, having a full classroom… I really believe our teachers have done a fabulous job balancing teaching online and in person. They deserve a lot of credit for how much effort they put into really making sure every student feels part of the class.”
“As educators, we want students in the classroom whenever possible,” she added. “We’re thrilled to have them back, and excited to finish off these last weeks of school strong.”
Scroll down to view photos from Tuesday as students arrived on campus without cohorts for the first time this school year.