Bees fly and take over Redlands East Valley

By KENDRA BURDICK and AVA LARSON

Note: NO ANIMALS WERE HURT FOR THIS ARTICLE 

The bees are more attracted to the trash cans because of the pheromones that are released by the trash. Bees are being killed because they get caught under the lids of these trash cans. Some people have even suggested that governments should be working on a solution to this problem, but it may be too late for that. Photo made with Autodesk Sketchbook, a drawing and sketching app. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News art)

Since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, honey bees have been very attracted to Redlands East Valley High School and are collecting in the trash cans and the trees around campus. They are hovering over students’ food and intruding on their lunch time: a time that would normally serve as a peaceful break from teacher instruction. 

The bees have become especially troublesome to people with bee allergies because they are forced to constantly pass trash cans during passing periods and lunch.

“I have to be aware of the bees because of my allergies to bees,” Emiliy Jean Scott, a freshman at REV, said. “They’re mainly in the trash cans which are gross, and they’re beginning to bug people. I believe that they smell something sweet and that’s why they are going into the trash cans.”

Fae Norris, a sophomore at REV, said, “The bees are terrible due to my allergies and I don’t carry an EpiPen. I get attacked by bees a lot, and I think that if they were to move the trash cans away from the students, just so we don’t keep getting attacked.”

Sharon Dobesh, the pesticide coordinator in the Department of Entomology, explains the main reason for bees surrounding the trash cans. 

Dobesh says, “They are just looking for new sources of nutrition since flower populations are declining.” 

The bees are attracted to anything sweet, mainly items with sugar such as candy, granola bars and sugary drinks. They will also swarm around fruits such as apples, dragon fruit and oranges, which explains the swarms near the schools near the orange groves. 

Bees form and create hives as their place of producing their honey for their spawns. The typical honey bee likes to live in rock crevices and hollow parts of trees in which they believe that it has enough space for their colony to live and survive. They construct their hives out of wax, which they chew to make it soft and bond it into honeycombs to form their hive.

In addition to bees inconveniencing students, they are also becoming a burden to teachers. Because of the autumn season, teachers are opening the doors and window seals of their classrooms to allow light and the thin breeze to brush through. However, when teachers open their windows, they are met not only by the seasonal breeze but by bees that fly into their classroom and disturb valuable instructional minutes. 

REV earth science teacher Ted Ducey said, “The bees come through the windows when I have them open and cause a small disruption to the class.”

Kalynn Greenley, an English teacher at REV, says, “It’s affecting my class because it takes ten minutes to catch a single bee.” 

In order to prevent bees from invading their classroom, many teachers on the lower level of the English building have been putting up magnetic screens on their doors. However, some teachers do not have these screens and are interrupted hourly by bees flying into their class.

The bees takeover has caused a loss of focus, learning and even disrupts students walking through the halls. With the orange groves right next to REV, there is no indication that the swarm of bees are leaving anytime soon. 

Closed restrooms open discussion about safety versus convenience

By ELLA FITZPATRICK

At Redlands East Valley High School, student access to the restrooms has been limited. Since the end of August, the upstairs bathrooms in the K-wing have been closed.

The upstairs student restrooms in the K-Wing of Redlands East Valley High School have been closed since August. After the Devious Licks trend, REV administration thought it would be best to close the restrooms for the safety of students and to limit vandalism. (Ella Fitzpatrick/ Ethic News photo)

During each passing period — an eight minute time frame — the restrooms quickly become crowded with students. This is because there are only two restrooms for males and two restrooms for females open on campus with a student count of almost 1,900. 

“Once when I really had to go to the bathroom, the line was so long that I was two minutes late to my class,” says Alicia Gullon, a senior at REV. 

With every student that waits in line, another student may be late to class or must wait until another passing period and hope the line is shorter then. This may cause a rise in tardiness among students. 

The passing period is meant to be a short time where students can quickly socialize with friends, eat a snack, and use the restroom while on the way to their next class. Some teachers do not allow students to use the restroom during class because it is what passing period is meant for. It is also to ensure that students get the most out of their instruction. However, having to wait to use the restroom can cause discomfort for students.

REV security officer Molly Gonzalez said, “From my standpoint, all of the tardy students that I deal with, they want to be tardy. They could care less. And I think that we forget that there are other students who do care.”

Some students, as well as staff,  who have been late to class or have been otherwise affected because of this issue believe the second floor bathrooms of the K-wing should be opened. 

“I don’t think it is something we need to debate. It makes sense to open it. I think it should be an easy fix,” says Gonzalez. 

According to assistant principal Ron Kroetz, restrooms are closed due to a lack of supplies provided by the Redlands Unified School District including soap dispensers and toilet seat covers. This shortage is connected to the Devious Licks trend that began on TikTok in September. The Devious Licks trend encouraged students to steal and destroy school property which put everyone on campus at risk. 

“These social media trends are tough to deal with sometimes when kids are being encouraged to vandalise the school,” says Kroetz.

As a solution, administration agreed to close the restrooms upstairs impermanently. 

The school has also been short on officers, an essential part of campus safety. By opening up the bathrooms upstairs, security would need to accommodate and split up where they patrol.

“We don’t have enough staff to keep an eye on them,” says Kroetz. 

“We can barely manage the two restrooms open now,” says Gonzalez. 

With a lack of security officers on campus, they often have to be more vigilant. 

“Recently, we have had girls go into the restrooms and start fights,” says Gonzalez, “And safety is going to overrule convenience.” 

Redlands School District tracking confirmed COVID-19 cases

By DESTINY RAMOS

A new school year started for the Redlands Unified School District and a question arose on whether or not safety is enough for students. Since last month, the district website has become updated with confirmed cases of COVID-19 through a district dashboard on their website.

The district dashboard tracks and publishes confirmed cases within a two-week period for each school.  

The RUSD recently added a COVID-19 dashboard on the district website for the schools within the district. The dashboard includes a 14-day covid case chart and newly reported cases. (DESTINY RAMOS/ Ethic Photo)

COVID-19 was first discovered in December of 2019, and later caused the global pandemic that still remains, two years later. Exactly a year after the first case was discovered, the first Delta variant case was reported. Since then, it swept its way through Europe before reaching the United States in March of 2021, where the variant is now predominant. 

Around the same time the Delta variant made its way to the US, most, if not all, students and staff had begun to make their return to schools all over the country. In the RUSD, learning online was an option while being on-campus was the other. Depending on the state, some students might not have had the option to learn from the comfort of their own homes. Many students were forced to go on campus or stay online, and others got to choose for themselves. Whether or not students chose to attend school in person, they would all have returned to school regardless of state in August 2021. 

As students around the US began school, COVID-19 rates escalated very quickly. In the span of a month, the seven-day case rate had risen from 30,000 per week on July 20, to 145,000 cases a week by Aug. 20. More than half of these cases were reported from students and school staff around the country. 

After a year of distance learning, half of the RUSD students returned to school in April. Many precautions were taken to ensure the safety of students. These precautions included the requirement of masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer stations around the school and the use of plexiglass in classrooms. 

Yet, all precautions, minus the mask requirements and hand sanitizer stations, were lifted in August. 

Some students agree schools are not safe to attend due to COVID-19 at the moment.

 “[Covid cases] can’t be controlled and are still spreading through schools regardless of masks. They both spread through sports, and through people who didn’t even know had covid or the delta variant,” stated Jenna Tampubolon, a sophomore at Citrus Valley High School. 

Others prefer to attend due to their experience with lockdown earlier in the pandemic. 

“I don’t care if it’s smart or not, I’d rather live with Covid than go insane in solitude,” said Rico Weaver, a sophomore at Citrus Valley.

A link to the RUSD COVID-19 dashboard can be found at https://www.redlandsusd.net/Page/18775

News brief: Tik Tok’s Angelic Yield atones for Devious Licks

By CYRUS ENGELSMAN

Devious Licks is a trend that began on TikTok in the middle of September. With TikTok having over two billion downloads, it quickly became a hotspot for participants. Since that time, a new trend has appeared to atone for Devious Licks’ sins: enter Angelic Yield. 

While most trends are harmless and meant to entertain others, the Devious Licks trend not only hurt the participants, but it also hurt the entire school.  

The purpose of the trend was for students to steal or destroy property of schools, primarily inside school bathrooms, and record and share online.  

Yet, some students attempt to offset the trend by creating a new trend called Angelic Yield. This trend has students replacing the stolen property with new and better equipment. 

Due to Devious Licks, schools had to act fast to minimize the damage done and to make sure no property was stolen.  Many actions were taken such as closing down bathrooms or hallways to buildings during lunch.

Teachers were urged to be vigilant and careful of their belongings, as many took the trend outside of the bathrooms and into the classrooms, with many stealing possessions and property of both the school and the teachers.  

Nicole Steenhausen, an English teacher at Redlands East Valley High School, had a hard time dealing with this trend, worrying that some of their property could be stolen.  

“In two school years unlike any other, this is absolutely the last thing we need to be dealing with.  I have many students who know their own minds and will not succumb to the likes of this ridiculous trend,” said Steenhausen. “To those of you who are participating, I urge you to think of the stress you are causing to your teachers and to your peers.”

Some students felt indifferent about the whole situation. 

“What can I say about devious licks? I’m mostly neutral.  They can be funny, however the vandalism element is morally wrong,” says REV junior Jeremiah Bolanos.  

TikTok took action to prevent this behaviour by removing and banning the hashtag from being used on Sept. 16. This drastically reduced the amount of views these types of videos could receive.  TikTok deleted some accounts that participated in the trend, deterring people from partaking in the challenge even more.

Since TikTok condemned this trend, many have taken to the app once again and gained views from participating in Angelic Yield.  

Ways students are participating in Angelic Yield is by bringing soap, toilet paper, putting encouraging sticky notes and more.

Whether it is inside or outside the school restroom, students have returned and replaced stolen items from both schools and teachers to redeem the trust of both.  

Although many have tried to spread kindness with this trend, it has not reached as close of an audience as the Devious Licks trend. 

A recent Instagram informal poll of 20 students shows that 95 percent of students have heard of the Devious Licks trend, while only 50 percent have heard of the Angelic Yield trend.  

Because of the low popularity of the trend,  the impact of Angelic Yield can be minor.

News Brief: California Gov. Gavin Newsom remains governor despite recall efforts

By CRAIG MORRISON

A sign at a polling location in California giving the public a place to vote in the 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election. “Vote!” by kgroovy is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

California voters decided to not recall Gov. Gavin Newsom from office on September 14, 2021. With more than 50 percent voting against the action, he will remain the governor of California.

Gov. Newsom is the second California governor to ever face a recall election in the history of California, and it is due to his response to the coronavirus pandemic. The first California governor recalled was Gray Davis and was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 because of his handling of the state’s electrical crisis.

On the recall ballot, voters were asked two questions: Do you want to recall Gov. Newsom? If so, who should replace him?

If Newsom were to be recalled, there were 46 candidates to choose from. But, Larry Elder was the lead against the incumbent governor followed by Kevin Paffrath and Kevin Faulconer, respectively.

Elder, a well-known right-leaning talk radio host, received more than 40 percent of the vote from those who checked yes on the ballot. Elder received the majority of his votes from the northeastern set of counties in California compared to Newsom who received the majority of his votes from the southwest.

By defeating the recall election, Gov. Newsom will continue his full term in office and is eligible to be re-elected for the next California gubernatorial election in November 2022.

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://ethic-news.org/2021/09/22/noticia-breve-el-gobernador-de-california-gavin-newsom-gana-a-pesar-de-los-esfuerzos-de-retirada/

FDA approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

By ELIZABETH MOLLOY

A recreation of an individual receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine. (ETHIC NEWS PHOTO)

The FDA approved the Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 vaccine on Monday, Aug. 23. Although the vaccine was approved for emergency use, it was not approved as 100% safe until Monday.

“The public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality,” says Jane Woodcock, Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

The first COVID-19 case reported in the U.S. was on Jan. 21, 2020 in Washington state, the vaccine was approved for emergency use on Dec. 11, 2020.

“COVID-19 can cause lung complications such as pneumonia…acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)…Sepsis, another COVID-19 complication, can also cause lasting harm to the lung,” according to a statement on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.  For individuals with pre-existing lung conditions; asthma, lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, developing COVID-19 can be even more severe.

One complication for asthmatics is having an asthma attack as a result of developing COVID-19. Even regular occurring asthma attacks can be extremely dangerous so when  comes into play that danger is greatly heightened.  The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 90% effective at preventing hospitalizations from COVID-19, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study,

Between Mar 24, 2021and May 19, 2021 was a massive surge in the amount of people getting vaccinated in the US. On Mar 24, 2021 only 13.5% of the population was fully vaccinated, whereas on May 19, 202139.3% of the population was fully vaccinated. That is a 25.8% difference made only in two months.

KTLA announced on Aug 18. that in California starting on Sept. 20 proof of full vaccination or a negative  test will be required to attend indoor gatherings with 1000+ individuals attending. However, there is no specification on whether or not the test needs to be a regular  test or a rapid  test. Rapid  tests can provide results in up to 20 minutes but they are known for giving false negative results if the test is given early on in the development of COVID-19.

For more information, visit fda.gov, 19.ca.gov, and cdc.gov.

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://ethic-news.org/2021/09/22/la-fda-aprueba-la-vacuna-pfizer-covid-19/

Refugee crisis rises in Afghanistan

By EMMIT MURPHY

For 20 years, America had been at war with the Taliban. Now that United States forces have evacuated, leaving many Afghan men and women from the war, the question on many people’s minds is “where will they go now?”

In regards to the refugees, United States President Joe Biden stated in an Aug. 24 White House speech that, “The United States will be a leader in [evacuation] efforts and will look to the international community and to our partners to do the same.” 

So far the U.S. has evacuated around 70,700 Afghans since August and 75,900 since the end of July, according to the President.

European leaders fear that most refugees will go to them, similar to how the Syrian refugees had during the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis. 

Regarding refugees, Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer stated, “It must be our goal to keep the majority of the people in the region,” according to an Aug. 21 AP News article by Karl Ritter and Mehmet Guzel. 

Even Germany, who had taken in many of the Syrian refugees during 2015, is hesitant about bringing more migrating people into their borders.

With the United States leading the evacuation of the fleeing refugees, more than 123,000 had been evacuated. The United States evacuated 80,000 civilians from Kabul, 5,500 being U.S. troops and 73,500 refugees. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has evacuated 15,000 civilians with 8,000 of which being refugees.

In regards to the resettlement of the Afghan refugees, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have taken in 7,800 refugees with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel saying they will take up to 40,000 Afghan people who feel in danger, according to an Aug. 31 BBC article by The Visual Journalism Team. Canada has stated they will resettle 20,000 refugees and Australia has said they will take 3,000. Tajikistan has said they will take up to 100,000 but it is unclear if they have allowed any in.

In Uzbekistan, Kosovo, and Uganda refugees are being taken in temporarily until they can be relocated elsewhere while Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey will either no longer take in refugees or hadn’t been taking any in the first place. The United States has yet to say the number of refugees they will take in.

A map features Afghanistan and surrounding countries in South Central Asia, Africa, and Europe. Afghan refugees are being accepted by various countries globally, with each country setting different limits and timetables. (Google maps screenshot/Ethic News)

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://ethic-news.org/2021/09/15/aumenta-la-crisis-de-refugiados-en-afganistan/

Photos: Wildcat seniors gather for food and activities at Senior Fling

By MIA ARANDA

The Associated Student Body at Redlands East Valley High School hosted Senior Fling on their JV baseball fields on Aug. 20 as a way to bring seniors together at the start of the school year. The event, lasting for two hours, consisted of free food from a taco vendor and activities, such as slip-and-slide, water balloons, ping pong, volleyball, cornhole and tug-a-war. 

A taco vendor hands out plates of tacos, rice and beans to students on the junior varsity baseball fields at Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

REV senior and ASB Multicultural Commissioner Catelyn Cummings said, “Personally, I thought not that many people were going to come. But, I feel like we had a good turnout and I feel like people are enjoying the activities, like I see someone at every station.” 

Redlands East Valley High School seniors (from left to right) Lilly Cooper, Emily Retamoza and Ella Fletcher play ping pong as one of the many activities offered at Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photos)

Redlands East Valley High School seniors (from left to right) Jose Contreras, Mariah Mora, Raven Silvestre and Adrian Martin sit in the grass and chat during Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

As a whole, the event was slow to prepare for and required a lot of volunteers, in addition to ASB members, to help set up.  One of the main activities, the slip-and-slide, constantly demanded an ASB member to hold the hose during the event. 

Redlands East Valley High School seniors (from left to right) Soraya Coady, Luca Smith, Olivia Benz, Debbra Jedrysek, Ella Fitzpatrick, and Hanah Mansilla use the slip-and-slide at Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photos)

REV senior Andrew Hallen played tug-a-war and ping pong. His favorite part about Senior Fling was “seeing new people and hanging out.”

Redlands East Valley senior Jay Gutierrez plays cornhole alongside junior Anna Engel at Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

“It’s the bee’s knees,” said REV senior Keyvon Rankin. “My favorite part was losing tug-a-war, you know what I’m saying, that’s going straight into the scrapbook. I’m going to tell my kids about it.”

More information on upcoming REV senior events will be advertised on Instagram and in the school bulletin.

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://ethic-news.org/2021/09/02/fotos-las-personas-mayores-wildcat-se-reunen-para-comer-y-realizar-actividades-en-senior-fling/

Citrus Valley Compact Club works with local shelter to help animals in need

By EMILY PRINSTEIN

With students remaining in distance learning, clubs have been facing many challenges. However, one club at Citrus Valley High School, the Compact Club, is still making an effort to get members and the local community involved. 

The club has organized a community service project called an MYG, or Multiply Your Generosity, in coordination with the Compact Careers steering committee. According to one of the club Co-Presidents, Hayley Prinstein, “MYG projects are all about getting as many people in your community involved as possible, of course in a COVID-19 safe way this year.” The club has decided to work with Guardian Angel Animal Rescue, a local rescue organization in Calimesa, CA, that helps to get animals into foster homes and then works to find them their forever homes. 

Compact Club Co-Presidents, Emma Ainsworth and Hayley Prinstein, are both juniors at Citrus Valley High School. They had their first pick up on March 2 at Citrus Valley. (Photo credit to Sarah Keller)

Compact Club is currently working to get towel and blanket donations to give to the shelter and will soon also be accepting food and toy donations. They had their first towel and blanket pickup on March 2 at Citrus Valley High School. Club Co-President Emma Ainsworth says, “the pickup went much better than expected and we managed to get ten bags worth of towels and blankets.” The club has also managed to raise about 300 dollars to go towards supplies for the animals. 

The community service project will run until May and the club is hoping to increase participation even more. They will be holding a zoom meeting for anyone interested to come join and learn how to make cat and dog toys that will then be donated to the shelter. They will be holding another pick up at CVHS sometime in April where they will be accepting donations of towels, blankets, food and toys. There will also be an upcoming competition in which there will prizes awarded to first, second and third place winners based on how much they donate at the next pickup. These prizes will consist of gift cards of varying amounts. 

Compact Club is a student-run club on campus, dedicated to getting students more involved in their communities and helping them be college and career ready by connecting them with adults from many different career backgrounds. It allows students to connect with students from other schools along with adults who may be from career fields that interest them. There are also scholarship opportunities that the club offers. If anyone is interested in joining Compact Club,  they can message cvcompact@gmail.com, follow the instagram @cvcompact or join the remind by texting @cvhscompac to 81010. 

The COVID-19 Vaccine and how it may affect you

By EMILY PRINSTEIN

After a little over a year of the coronavirus pandemic terrifying people all around the world the vaccine has now become available to the general population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been over 106 million COVID-19 cases in the world alone, with 3.4 million of those cases originating from California.

Starting on December 14th, the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines began with nearly 262 million people in the United States having received at least one dose of the vaccine. The Biden administration has made a goal of trying to at least put out 1.4 million shots a day. 

Hayley Prinstein, 17, getting her first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at Arroyo Valley Highschool in San Bernardino, California. (Ethic News Photo/Emily Prinstein)

There are now three different COVID-19 vaccines that people can choose from: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The side effects from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that most people are experiencing are pain and soreness at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. However, the most common side effects of the Moderna vaccine are nausea, vomiting and fever. 

“I felt very tired and my arm was really sore after I got the Moderna vaccine,” said Tim Prinstein, a health care worker. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine differs from the other two, it is only a one dose vaccine and does not contain mRNA. The most common side effects are headaches, fever, fatigue, nausea and muscle aches. However, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration noted that women under the age of 50 should be aware of the risk of blood clots.

The most frequent concerns of the vaccines question their validity, as well as if they can truly be trusted. 

Kristina Dewbre, a community member, posed the question: “Will getting the vaccine mean I can give the virus to others while experiencing side effects?” In response to the public’s many questions, the CDC issued a statement saying, “No. None of the authorized and recommended vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.” 

It is important to note that even if an individual has already experienced COVID-19 symptoms, either of the three vaccines are still needed to be taken, as it is important to build immunity and antibodies to fight against not just one but all strains of COVID-19.

Redlands East Valley High School restyles campus: How changes have affected in-person experience

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By ISAAC MEJIA, ALISSON BERMUDEZ and ARIANA GHALAMBOR

Since school switched from in-person to online learning last March, the Redlands East Valley High School campus has undergone many changes that have affected students returning to in-person learning this year. Some of these changes are shown below.

Changes to the Library:

The library is now fully furnished with new lounge chairs that allow students to sit comfortably while working on assignments. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

Despite the improvements implemented in the library, social distancing prevents students from using the new furniture to its fullest potential especially for collaborative activities. Due to the Covid-19 guidelines, students must stay three feet apart from each other and cannot put together their desks in order to work collaboratively. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

The library contains new collaboration stations each equipped with a lounge couch and a monitor. Currently, stations can only accommodate three students and are not allowed to be used to their full capacity. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

New sound baffles that illustrate panoramic landscape pictures of Redlands hang inside the library. These pictures were taken by fellow staff members such as Ron Kroetz and Kelly Tilson. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

A sign posted on the library door politely reminds students to wear a mask. Due to current Covid-19 guidelines, students and faculty must wear a mask in order to attend school. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

As students enter the library, they are met with a bottle of hand sanitizer to help maintain personal cleanliness. This small addition can be seen in different locations throughout the school and is specific to the current school year. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Changes to Campus:

Of the two sets of staircases in each building, only one staircase will be accessible to walk up, while the other will be used to walk down. This specific measure has forced students to take different detours to their next class. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

The water fountain located inside the mathematics building is completely covered in plastic and the lockers are locked shut with zip ties. As a preventative measurement, lockers and water fountains around campus are inaccessible to students on campus. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Stickers were placed on the floor in front of the textbook office to remind students of the social distancing regulations which require them to maintain 6-feet distance when outside. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

Before returning to in-person learning, the school purchased and dispersed several new benches within the quad. During lunch, students now have the option to sit at a bench of their preference. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

The office contains a secondary protective entrance which allows people to take their temperature before entering campus. After precautionary actions are taken, the individual at the front desk will unlock the door: the door remains locked otherwise; however, nothing is required to enter the first entrance. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Every entrance into campus has a temperature check with a person monitoring your temperature to see if you can safely be inside the campus. Students and staff must complete this step either with their head or this wrist to ensure they have a normal temperature. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)
Since every student did not return to in-person instruction, most classrooms do not have a full set of students. Students who returned to school have a desk with plexi glass that can be removed upon student discretion. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

Despite new hybrid schedule, some students are opting-out of in-person school

By LILIAN MOHR

With the return from spring break, the question of what the last quarter of school will look like for Redlands Unified School District schools remains. 

Although neighboring districts and schools across the country have already returned to either hybrid or even in-person learning, RUSD has remained completely virtual up until this point. 

With a start date for the new hybrid schedule of April 19, the decision of whether or not to return has been made by students and their families. 

Image of Lilian Mohr’s desk, a senior at REV, where she attends school through zoom calls on the featured ipad. Mohr is just one of many students who opted to continue their learning virtually this year. (Lilian Mohr/ Ethic News Photo)

Some may be wondering why students would choose to remain virtual given all of the challenges of virtual learning and teaching that have occurred during the last year. 

Marin Mohr, a sophomore at Redlands East Valley, has opted to not return to in-person learning on April 19th. 

“I think that at this point I just want to finish out these classes on distance learning, because I haven’t even done these in-person yet. I don’t know how things will change once I get into the classroom, and I think I’ll just wait it out” says Mohr. 

Mohr says, “I know some people who just need to get back in the classroom and I understand that too though. I think just for me distance learning is the best choice.” 

For seniors, this is their last opportunity to return to high school before graduation, and yet a significant proportion of seniors are still opting to stay at home. 

Amelia Campos, a senior at REV, says “I am choosing not to go back to school because I think the transition from going online to in person is unnecessary. During class it is easy to get distracted, but when I am at home I tend to get more work done during the day.”

Campos highlights some of the advantages she feels comes with distance learning, saying “It helped because I focused on my work other than focusing on what goes on at school. It also relieved the “pressure” of having to find an outfit and getting up early in the morning.” 

With the return to school, there is a level of concern that the students who opt to remain at home will miss out on social interactions or school functions that can not be adapted virtually. 

Campos says “I don’t think I will miss out on anything. I stay connected to my friends through text messages or sending funny videos we find on social media. If I can get the same education at home and stay connected with my friends, I do not think I am missing out on anything.”

The safety of students and staff has been at the center of this return to in-person learning, with multiple safety measures put in place on campus, hopefully making the return feel safe for all who participate. 

Campos says “I just feel safer at home right now, but the safety precautions are nice to have. I do not think I would risk bringing covid home, but I can see why others would be more comfortable at school with everyone following protocols.”

Christina Vargas, also a senior at Redlands East Valley, says “Honestly I just don’t think the few possible benefits of returning to school at this point, with the year almost done anyways, is worth the risk and the hassle for me.” 

Teachers react to the new ‘grade freezing’

By MAURICIO PLIEGO

Within the last days of March, the Redlands Unified School District decided to open the school sites for the students through a vote made by the Board of Education. They opened and gave the choice to the parents to allow their students to stay at home and continue their education through distance learning or to go to in-person learning through a new, hybrid schedule. The Board of Education recently voted on “freezing grades” to supposedly make the transition easier for students. Teachers from different departments at Redlands East Valley had a variety of reactions and changes in their grading.

The English Department is co-headed by Eva Shinnerl, who is currently teaching Advanced Placement English Language classes, Composition and English 101. She has taught at Redlands East Valley for over twenty years, which has led her to gain lots of experience. Shinnerl says, “In my classes, all assignments are now worth the same amount as before in Google Classroom, but they go into Aeries as extra credit.” She goes on to explain how she listened to her students and so they will go “as high as possible.” Shinnerl also teaches Dual Enrollment English classes at Crafton Hills College and says, “those grades are not frozen because it’s not technically an RUSD class.” It is important to mention that this is her system and each teacher within the department was able to follow their own grading format.

The infographic represents a play on words as the Board of Education voted on freezing grades and shown above are letter grades freezing (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News)

Doug Porter is the Math Department Chair and has taught mathematics since 2002. He is the current AP Statistics teacher and is also teaching Math One Honors classes. Porter says, “The REV Math Department has no official grading policy for the remainder of the 2020-21 year,” and that they have “agreed to use our professional and personal judgment to do what is best for the students and to maximize student learning/engagement over the next few weeks.”

Shinnerl teaching class during the Coronavirus Pandemic with In-person Students and Distance Learning students on the computer. (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News) 

Within his classes, he gave the Final Exam before April 19. Porter explains, “That final exam score is now slowly being replaced through each assignment from now until the end of the semester.” He does guarantee that every student who participates will gain a much higher score on the final exam.

The World Language Department is composed of Spanish, French and Latin classes. Each has different teachers with many years of experience, but it is all headed by Susan Johnston and Michael Celano. Each has implemented their grading system and made sure each teacher within the department did the same. Johnston said, “Personally, I am allowing students to improve their grades by five percent if they complete all work assigned during the hybrid learning.”

Andrea Johnson-Bernardy is the current head of the Physical Education Department and she had explained that teachers had implemented a similar system. They all agreed to provide online work for those on distance learning and also have in-person activities such as walking and playing games with little contact. Some teachers decided to give extra credit but for distinct reasons.

Porter is letting the different sets of students know how each class will work on the day’s assignment on the whiteboard. (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News)

Fine Arts Department Chair Tracy Massimiano explained that each class had to have different systems due to a variety of concerns. The Ceramics teacher, George Bressant, is planning to “do some fun projects in class and take advantage of the small class sizes.” Kelly Tilson, a Digital Art Teacher, says, “This is an opportunity to gain knowledge and not fear anything”.

Electives such as the Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, have also made tough choices based on the board’s choice on freezing grades. As a result, Jana Bailey, the AVID coordinator, says “our team agreed that because our curriculum builds on each other every year and we don’t want our students to get behind. There were certain assignments that had to count between now and the end of this year. As a result, we entered those assignments right away.” This includes personal statements, tutorials and scholarship essays. 

Bailey explains that their students understand and have seen the importance of their actions. She says, “They have seen the success of our seniors, earning 100 percent college acceptance rates from UCLA, Berkeley, Irvine, San Diego, CSU Long Beach and others. They know that the extra effort is worth it.”


Redlands schools serve on-campus Grab and Go meals amidst pandemic

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By ISAAC MEJIA and MIA ARANDA

On Wednesday, April 14, five days before students returned to in-person school, Redlands East Valley High School students and parents received an email from Assistant Principal Ronald Kroetz. The email included an attached document to inform students of the many procedures set in place to help create a safe learning environment on campus. In regards to lunch, the document explicitly states that the school “anticipates that there will be a minimal choice of meal options” and “if you are a picky eater you might want to bring your own lunch”; thus, students were warned of a potential lack of variety; however, they were not informed of any other details that specify what on campus grab & go meals would look like. 

The on-campus Grab and Go lunches are prepackaged for students in a brown paper sack labeled “Locker Mates.” This allows for students to access their meal swiftly with minimal social interaction. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Previously, students getting hot lunch would get to choose their lunch items from a selection, then proceed to checkout to pay. Now, prepackaged lunches at school come at no cost for students, which allows anyone to easily walk up to their school’s cafeteria to grab one.

According to Betty Crocker, the director of Child Nutritional Services, Child Nutritional Services is “providing a unique service.” She relates that “due to COVID and safety requirements, all of the [meals] are a cold service with items individually wrapped.”  These safety guidelines limit the type of food available for distribtuion. 

This prepackaged lunch consists of a total of five items: one pack of Jack Links’s chicken tender bites, sunflower seeds, applesauce, Beans and Veggie crackers, and a dragon punch. In addition, students are given the option to take an additional milk, apple slices, and applesauce that are not included in the packaged sack. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Some students attending both REV and Citrus Valley High School have expressed their dislike for their school lunches and their inability to satisfy them.

This is the case for CV junior Janelle Gallegos. She said, “They are gross and not fulfilling. I eat sunflower seeds everyday for lunch, because it’s the only good thing they serve.” 

While this is Gallegos’s personal opinion, her disapproval of the insubstantial quality of food is a common complaint shared by other students. REV freshman Kris Garcia said, “Well, see the problem is that it is very little food, and the very little food that they have is very trash food.” 

Cia Anderson, a REV freshman, said, “It’s like prison lunch. Basically I was like telling my parents about it and they were like ‘yeah it’s like prison lunch.”’ Thus, Anderson acknowledged the lunches inadequacy and her parents agreed. 

However, not all in-person students are upset with the current pre-packaged lunches and some have expressed their contentment. 

REV sophomore Deacon Arne said, “I just really need to eat. I think it’s good.”

A second grab-and go meal option includes four food items and one beverage: hummus, one whole wheat tortilla, sunflower seeds, mixed-berry applesauce, and an orange, tangerine juice box. Unlike the previous lunch, this meal lacks a high protein food item.  (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

While it is true that students are given the option to prepare their own lunch for school, not all in-person students have that option. For some, school lunch may be the only meal that they receive all day. This stresses the important responsibility of the school to provide a nutritional and fulfilling lunch for students.

Lunch is especially vital for student-athletes, as it is generally the last meal they have before after-school practice or games. These athletes rely on a nourishing lunch to give them the needed energy to perform to the best of their ability in their sports. 

The time at which the school will return to serving hot lunch remains inexact. Crocker states that child nutritional services “[looks] forward to resuming our hot breakfast, lunch and after school meal programs when we emerge from the pandemic”; however, there is no exact date that pinpoints when emergence from the pandemic will take place. Thus, on campus Grab & Go meals will continue for the remainder of this semester and possibly the beginning of school in august. 

Redlands Unified School District Child Nutrition Services is still offering their Curbside Grab & Go meals for no-cost. 

“This is where we provide all families bulk-style meals along with the individually wrapped meals, eggs, bagels, and strawberries,” said Crocker. 

These bags, containing a week’s worth of meals, are available to be picked up between 6 to 8 a.m. every Wednesday at either REV, Redlands High School, Mission Elementary School, Clement Middle School or Beattie Middle School.

Citrus Valley hosts campus tour for freshman

By JASMINE ROSALES

After a long year of distance learning, school districts have given schools the thumbs up to return to school in-person. The Redlands Unified School District slowly started welcoming students back by grade level starting with elementary, then middle school and finally high school students. High schools have a large number of students to begin with, so staff had to do a lot of preparation and organizing to ensure everyone’s safety and follow protocols in order to welcome high school students back starting Monday, April 19th. 

Link Crew Leaders work hard to familiarize freshmen with Citrus Valley’s campus and help them find their classes preparing them for hybrid learning. (Destiny Ramos/Ethic News Photo)

Citrus Valley and Redlands East Valley High School both had their link crew groups arrange a day to welcome freshmen on campus for an in-person tour as they missed their freshman orientation due to the pandemic. Both schools held the campus tour on Friday, April 16th, just two days prior from returning to in-person school. CV’s link crew set up groups of eight through 10 students for every two leaders. 

Erica Bauer, a freshman at REV, says “Every group had 10 freshmen and two link crew members. They showed us around the school and told us where specific classes are depending on our schedules. It helped me personally because as a freshman, and new to the district, I didn’t feel completely lost returning to school.” 

The tours started with link crew leaders leading their groups through every building and explaining what subjects were designated to which buildings. For example, on CV’s campus, the B building is where students can find math and foreign language classes.

Classes working together via telepresence to communicate and function in class as they normally would. (Joan Snavely/ Ethic News Photo)

As students toured their campus, they would also see the changes such as signs and markings on the floor to remind students to follow safety guidelines and maintain a safe distance from one another. Classes have been provided clear dividers for every table to help keep a safe environment. Teachers and staff all have placed hand sanitizer and tissues in every classroom and office space, as well as offering masks in the office. If a student or staff forgets their mask at home for whatever reason, they may go into the office and be given a new one. Nonetheless, students are encouraged to always bring an extra mask in their backpacks to ensure less possibilities of that happening. 

Both REV and CV are continuously working hard in order to ensure a safe environment for both students and staff, as well as doing their utmost to keep everyone engaged during hybrid learning. As staff and students are working simultaneously through these new rules and safety precautions, everyone is doing their best to push through the remainder of this school year.

How girls are helping their community through the National Charity League

By MAKAYLA NAIME & ALLISON STOCKHAM

The National Charity League is a multi-general philanthropic organization made up of mothers and daughters who volunteer to over 6,000 charities in the United States. Ranging from seventh through 12th grade, this organization is an amazing way for mothers to bond with their daughters while helping out their community. Teens learn many life skills such as leadership, social awareness, empowering women and giving back to their community.

Liza Wilson is the current co-president of NCL and helps overlook the organization and do all the behind-the-scenes work. NCL can give girls opportunities to be part of various activities including “community service [which] is by far the best,” says Wilson. “It opens your eyes to those that are less fortunate either in health or wealth. This allows for great discussions between the mother and daughter on empathy and acceptance.” NCL does volunteerism in the community through various organizations such as Santa Claus Inc. and Assistance League, whom NCL has been partners with ever since the beginning of the chapter.

NCL allows young girls to grow, learn important lessons and ultimately form a stronger bond with their mother. NCL’s curriculum is built to focus on certain areas of the NCL’s mission. The next year, a new area is taught while building on the previous year. Through this curriculum, NCL “[creates] leaders in young women who will hold jobs and live in the community with various organizations.”

Malia Mead, a 9th grader at Yupica High School, and her father Joe Mead posing for a picture together in front of the NCL backdrop at the end of the event. Malia and her dad were happy to have a day to spend time together out of the house. (Photo curtsey of Malia Mead)

Jayden Baker is a freshman at Citrus Valley High School and has been in NCL since seventh grade. NCL has helped her learn a lot of life skills and overall helped her in life. Baker says she loves the people she has met and those that are involved in NCL. 

One of her favorite ways to give back to her community is to “make little gifts for people with cancer and give needed things to people that can’t afford them.” Something NCL does every year around Easter time is to make confetti filled eggs and decorate them, dropping them off at local convalescent hospitals. They also make birthday cards for children with cancer all year long. Baker likes being able to spend time with her dad during the Father-Daughter events, which is why it is one of her favorite things she has done in NCL. 

Not only does NCL encourage the growth of the bond between mother and daughter, but also between father and daughter. Every year the 9th grade class hosts a Father-Daughter event. The event this year was planned by the class of 2024 and the event entailed a photo safari theme with the theme of “Tacky Tourist.” Fathers and daughters received a checklist and map as they got to walk around downtown Redlands and try to unscramble clues to find photo locations. At each location, pairs would take creative selfies featuring the location described by the clues. Rules were made ensuring all parties remained safe during the pandemic, as masks were worn and a six foot gap was enforced. 

After some adventuring, lunch packs were handed out featuring foods from local restaurants that were enjoyed at the Redlands bowl. A photo area was also available for families to take photos in their Hawaiian shirts, cacky shorts, socks and sandals to help them remember the day. Fathers and daughters took as many selfies as they wanted and submitted certain photos to win prizes for the best photos. A Zoom meeting was hosted later in the day to allow photos to be shared and winners to be announced. 

The head of the Father-Daughter Event, Shauna Naime, shares her experience with the event. She says that this year’s event, although delayed and very different due to COVID-19, was a photo-scavenger hunt and Dads and Daughters seemed to have a lot of fun together. Naime says that while planning an event such as this, daughters “learn many basic event-planning skills such as setting a budget, choosing a theme and working in committees.” She says that most of the planning was done over Zoom and there were meetings held with both the entire class or 2024 as well as separate one with each committee. Each girl also had to come up with clues for the scavenger hunt, so most of them took a trip to downtown Redlands a few weeks before the event to find some ideas. “As the event got closer, many of the committees needed to meet in person to work on projects, so we all followed the COVID-19 guidelines we are used to by now, masks and social-distancing.”

The San Bernardino chapter has been running ever since April 1, 1957 and is eager for new members to apply. Wilson says, “NCL [provides] experiences of volunteerism in the surrounding community, to strengthen their mother daughter bond and give their daughter an experience that encourages growth.” Interested members can apply to become a member of NCL by filling out the membership inquiry form on the NCL San Bernardino website. “Membership runs from October 1 through Jan. 15 for the following year. It is open to incoming seventh, eighth and ninth graders. You can also apply as a sixth, seventh or eighth grader to join the following year,” says Wilson. 

Samantha Fujiwara, a 9th grader and Citrus Valley, and her father Dustin Fujiwara taking a picture in their tacky outfits with a crossing guard. They were posing for the clue “____ it’s hammer time! Stop in front of this thing and take a selfie dancing.” (Photo cutrsey of Samantha Fujiwara)

To learn more information and access the inquiry form, visit https://www.nationalcharityleague.org/vpage/index-sanbernardino/

What you can expect returning back to school

By MIRIAM YORDANOS

Starting April 19, Redlands Unified School District will be reopening the high schools to in-person instruction with new additions on campus and policies set in place. 

According to the California Department of Public Health, all schools in red, orange, and yellow tiers counties can reopen schools. On April 7, San Bernardino County is in the orange tier as the virus spreads moderately in the county.

Prior to entering Redlands East Valley campus, students will be expected to provide responses to the daily email from Raptor Technologies that will prescreen their health and determine if the student should remain home or attend to in-person instruction each day. Raptor Technologies is a software to protect and help schools manage visitors. Now, RUSD is using the software to complete COVID-19 Health Screening Questions.


On campus, if pre-screening has already taken place remotely, a temperature check and ID card will only be needed to enter campus.

In-person learning students will need to wear these ID cards at all times on campus. ID cards will be distributed on the first day of returning to school, April 19.

All students returning for in-person instruction will need a district-issued Chromebook to be brought to school daily due to personal devices being unable to connect to the school network.

Along with these expectations to uphold, Redlands East Valley principal Robert Clarey shares what to expect in the classrooms. 

“Classrooms will mostly look the same. The difference will be the spacing of students in the desks. Rooms currently have plexiglass shields installed on desks,” Clarey said, “This requirement is no longer a recommendation from the CDC, so many will come down during our first week back, according to teacher/student comfort level.”

An image of Redlands East Valley’s hallway with new signs on the floor. The signs are to create less traffic among students and prevent student contact. (Courtesy to Vanessa Aranda)

Along with the new additions to the classrooms, the campus has undergone a few changes.

 To limit exposure between students, hallways will be designated as one-way. Signs will be posted around instructing students ways to enter and exit buildings and areas. 

“The most noticeable changes to our campus are all the new mural work and the new tables in the quad area. We are in the process of ordering umbrellas for these tables to provide additional shade,” Clarey said.

 The indoor cafe will not be open for dining. Lunches will be available to grab and go. Students will be expected to eat socially distanced in the quad. During lunch, clubs can meet if social distancing requirements are met.

An image of a REV classroom with plexiglass set up on the distanced desks. Pexiglass in the classroom were original recommendations of the CDC for schools reopening. (Courtesy to Vanessa Aranda)

On campus, all students and staff must wear a mask. Face shields do not offer the same amount of protection as a mask and cannot be worn alone. If one chooses to wear a face shield, they must wear a mask as well.

Students found repeatedly violating the expectations will return to distance learning.

“I’m still questioning the school reopening because there is only 10 or less weeks left of school, but I would feel relatively safe because I know many would follow policies and rules and be considerate,” said Ali Sirk Bun, a junior at Redlands East Valley. 

In the event of a confirmed case at school, Clarey shared how contact tracing protocols are in place to prevent any surge of infection.

Over 700 students plan to return to in-person learning at REV. Clarey offers advice to any remaining students and parents debating whether to return to school.

“Do what is most comfortable for you. There are only 38 days of school left this year,” said Clarey

An image of Redlands East Valley building entrance with new signs. These signs promote entering a certain way to avoid traffic that would lead to close contact with others.  (Courtesy to Vanessa Aranda)

Redlands high schools to freeze grades for the remainder of the school year

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By MIA ARANDA

Redlands Unified School District Board Members approved a resolution on April 13 for high schools to freeze grades for the remainder of the school year. This resolution will be in effect starting April 19 when high schools transition to hybrid and in-person instruction.

Screenshot of Redlands Board Meeting via livestream on April 13. Board Vice President Ed O’Neil led the meeting by introducing each item.

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Ken Wagner said of the resolution, “it would be a grade freeze with the ability of students to be able to improve grades thereafter but not go down at that point.” 

Wagner also reminded the Board that they had approved this similar suggestion in March of 2020 when the pandemic began, prompting the transition to distance learning. 

“Again, similar to what we did last year, this year is more based on the transition opportunity that creates a disruption eight weeks before the end of the school year,” Wagner said.

Visual representation, made through Canva, of grades being frozen for Redlands high schools starting April 19. Students’ grades are only able to improve if they continue to do schoolwork. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Whether or not high school students choose to return to in-person instruction on April 19, the Board anticipates that this resolution will allow for less stress and greater flexibility for students as the end of the school year approaches. Vice President Jim O’Neil and Board Member Alex Vara both spoke out in favor of this resolution. 

“I think it’s a great thing. I hope our kids take advantage of that,” said O’Neil.

Vara said, “It’s a great idea, especially during this pandemic, we need to be flexible and we are definitely being flexible and we are ensuring that our students have the opportunity to graduate and move forward, because everybody is at a different level when it comes to distance learning and access.” 

The Board passed this resolution with no objections amongst its members. 

Redlands East Valley High School Assistant Principal, Ronald Kroetz, recognizes that the Board implemented this as a way to help students feel more comfortable if they are transitioning from distance learning to in-person instruction, 

Kroetz said, “Our goal is that we create a positive learning space where students can focus on improving grades, mastering content and getting involved in more hands-on learning.”

Redlands High School junior Alper Sharip said, “So I think that this could be a good idea, again this might bring some energy out of the students and everything, but you know during these hard times, we kind of need a boost like this. I think it can be helpful. It all just depends on what your teachers set the grade cap on. I think the grade cap should be at least a letter grade.”

There has not been an official set grade cap from the Board, however, it will most likely vary among teachers and how much they would like to implement as a grade cap. 

Sharip continues, “I think this does definitely help in-person learning and I know this is just going to be temporary, but it can encourage kids to come back to school to encourage some normalcy before we go back to full in-person next year.”

Redlands Unified School District presents a possible in-person schedule for high school students

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By ISAAC MEJIA and ALISSON BERMUDEZ

As spring break approaches, students of the Redlands Unified School District will decide whether they will return to school with appropriate safety measures or continue Distance Learning from the comfort of their homes. (ISAAC MEJIA and ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

Redlands Unified School District staff and parents received an email on March 17 from the Superintendent Mauricio Arelleno. The email proposed an original in-person schedule for high schools within the district. This concerns Redlands East Valley High School, Redlands High School, Citrus Valley High school and Orangewood. 

The schedule is a hybrid between in-person and distance learning, and it would take effect on April 12, the second week after spring break ends. According to the email, an emergency special board meeting will occur on Tuesday, March 23 at 5 p.m. where the district will be “approving the plan as presented, approving the plan with modifications, or not approving the plan at all.” The meeting will be broadcasted and accessible via a link on the district website.

An excerpt from the email sent by Arelleno that explains the schedule above:

Secondary students who choose In-Person would attend school In-Person two (2) days a week (Group A on Monday and Tuesday; Group B on Thursday and Friday) and attend classes via Distance Learning on their Non-In-Person days (Group A on Thursday and Friday; Group B on Monday and Tuesday).  This schedule maintains four days of instructional continuity for all students, while providing the In-Person opportunity to those who so choose.  Families that choose to stay in the Distance Learning model will attend their classes during the afternoon Distance Learning sessions.

Wednesdays will be an asynchronous day for all students which will allow teachers and support staff time to plan and/or they may also provide office hours to support students.  An asynchronous day will permit time to thoroughly disinfect the campus beyond the daily routine. 

According to the email, parents will have until Sunday, March 21, 2021 to decide whether or not their students will be attending school in-person or if they will remain on Distance Learning. This gives families four days to decide how their children will end the 2020-2021 school year. Arellano made sure to address the fact that if families change their minds, they are able to make a preference request to the administration for consideration. If by March 21, you have not picked a preference, students will automatically be placed into Distance Learning by default. 

Although there is a plan for the new schedule to get students back in their seats in class, the question of how students will be separated into groups is still undetermined. There is a plan for a group A and a group B for both online and in-person classes but the organization of these students is still undetermined and will be discussed at the upcoming board meeting. For students who choose to return to in-person instruction, they should be expecting a new system that includes following proper protocol of distance learning, the use of health masks, and health screenings. Schools will be administering more detailed specifics regarding the Safety Plan which will outline the general outline of the reopening of the school plan.

This change will not only affect students, but teachers as well since they now will have to double plan for an in-person and online lesson and still put forth their best effort to cover as much curriculum as possible without overwhelming students. 

Eva Shinnerl, Redlands East Valley Advanced Placement Language and Literature teacher said, “Any system we choose will have advantages and disadvantages. Some students desperately need to be back on campus, and others prefer to stay home.  After a year of distance learning, I’m thrilled that some students can return.  If students get less time in each class during fourth quarter, that’s the necessary compromise we need to make to get students on campus.  Teachers don’t want to give up instructional time, but many students’ mental health needs will be better met if they’re able to come to school.” 

Students will only be receiving two days of instructional class time. This paves the way for more assigned homework and more stress as the school year is quickly coming to an end and finals/AP exams are right around the corner. 

Catherine Mikhailova, a junior at REV, said, “I think the new schedule will add extra confusion and be less efficient, because it cuts down on the time we actually spend in class.” 

Mary Groninger, a junior at REV said,  “I can see why they would want this schedule. They are integrating students back into school and are also reducing screen time. However, it is also reducing class time in general, which can be really harmful. The change couldn’t have come at a worse time. As AP students, we need as much instructional time with our teachers in order to prepare for our AP exams coming up.”

Advanced Placement students decide format of their exams by subject

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By MIA ARANDA

Advanced Placement review books are shown above on Feb. 28, 2021. AP students may better prepare for their exams this year knowing their format choice and possible test modifications. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

College Board has announced that each Advanced Placement student is able to choose the format of each of their exams this year: digital at home or paper at school. This has also prompted changes in exam format in which some AP exams may differ digitally than in person. 

Students taking any exams digitally are instructed to download College Board’s Lockdown Browser on their device in order to enhance the security of online testing during their exams. If students check out a Chromebook from school, the device already has the LockDown Browser installed. Thus, teachers are highly encouraging AP students to check out a school chromebook if they are taking any digital exams. 

A checked out school chromebook is shown on Feb. 28, 2021. Students are encouraged to check out a school chromebook if they are taking any Advanced Placement exams digitally as the chromebooks are already equipped with a lock-down browser.. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

In Redlands Unified School District, AP students completed a survey finalizing their exam format decisions. 

The following AP students explain their exam preferences based on subject groupings. 

Math exam perspective

Citrus Valley High School senior Jordyn Usher is taking AP Calculus BC. 

AP Calculus AB and BC will comprise 45 multiple choice questions and six free response questions. For the digital exam, these free response questions will be adapted to include answers that can easily be typed on the computer, therefore no creation of graphs will be necessary.

Usher said, “I would rather take this exam in person because it is completely math-based; typing out derivative and integrals on the computer would be very difficult, and I could annotate the important aspects of each question to help me correctly solve each problem.”

Science exam perspective

REV junior Jack Bartely is taking AP Environmental Science and AP Chemistry as his science courses this year.

The AP Chemistry exam will consist of 60 multiple choice questions both on paper or digitally for section one. For section two however, paper exams will include seven free response questions while digital exams will include 40 additional multiple choice questions and only three free response questions. 

 For the AP Chemistry exam, Bartely said, “Online because the online test this year will have more multiple choice questions and less essays.”

The AP Environmental Science exam will remain unchanged in test format for the digital and paper exams with its traditional 80 multiple choice questions and three free response questions. 

For the AP Environmental Science exam, Bartely said, “In person because I have been handwriting the essays in this class all year, and with in person tests we can change answers, but with online they are locked in once you move onto the next question.”

English exam perspective

REV junior Charlotte Baldes is taking AP Language and Composition. 

The AP Language and Composition and Literature and Composition exams will both include its typical multiple choice section, 45 questions for Language and 50 questions for Literature, and three free response questions. 

Baldes prefers the digital format for all of her exams this year. She said, “I also feel more comfortable and less pressured. I also find I type way faster than I write.”

History exam perspective

AP European History is often the first AP class that many sophomores take in high school. For this reason, it can be daunting for one to take their first AP exam without much experience on how testing was traditionally given. 

REV sophomore Emma Miller is taking AP European History as her first AP course. 

Asides from the 55 multiple choice questions and one Document Based Question essay, the digital AP European History and AP United States History exam differ from the paper exam in that the digital format requires two Short Answer Questions in place of the Long Answer Essay in the paper format. 

Miller said, “I would rather take it digitally because being thrust back into the school environment suddenly on top of taking a stressful test sounds very difficult. As much as returning to school is important, consistency throughout the school year and people’s safety takes priority in my opinion.”

AP exam testing will take place from May 3 to June 11. Students’ testing dates are determined by their decision to take the exam on paper or digitally.

2021 Advanced Placement exams: Will the return of Dinosauce313 haunt students once again?

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By ARIANA GHALAMBOR

A College Board meme made from “The Simpsons” television show clip in lieu of the Reddit College Board sting operation. (ARIANA GHALAMBOR/La Plaza photo)

Last year, the College Board was caught running a Reddit sting operation to bust students cheating on the Advanced Placement (AP) exams. May 10, 2020 before the Advanced Placement (AP) exams held by the College Board, a Reddit user named Dinosauce313 joined a subreddit called “2020 AP Exams”. It was made to give resources to fellow students supplemental information and notes for AP courses, after the AP exams were modified due to the pandemic. The virtual exams allowed students to use class notes and online resources, unlike any other year; however, using another person’s help was strictly prohibited. Cyrus Engelsman, a skeptical junior at Redlands claims that “The College Board would go under false names and possibly other methods to try to catch cheaters.  This doesn’t really surprise me, since technology is getting more advanced, cheating methods have become more available.”

The College Board’s Senior Vice President of AP instruction, Trevor Packer, announced on May 10 that “the organization caught a ring of students who were developing plans to cheat” on upcoming AP exams–and that the search for other cheaters was under current investigation. Later that day, a Reddit user Dinosauce313 joined the community in April, right before the AP exams took place. Immediately, other users were suspicious of the account because of their odd tone exemplified by the phrase, “How do you do, fellow kids.” On several social platforms, a theory began brewing: Dinosauce313 was actually a College Board employee setting a trap to catch would-be cheaters and disqualify them. The College Board had previously announced it would be using “digital security tools to detect plagiarism,” a nebulous description that some interpreted as this alleged sting. “No teenager speaks like this,” one Tik Tok user said in a video, breaking down the College Board’s alleged actions. 

The following image is directly linked to the TikTok. Click the image and it will redirect you to the original source: 

Many students continue to find evidence that Dinosauce313 was the College Board. Their theories are appearing on Reddit, Tiktok, Instagram, and many other social media sites. (Video via TikTok)

Dinosauce313 assured potential cheaters hoping to collaborate on the AP exams that “each thread will be deleted five minutes after the completion of the test.” Not only was this promise of anonymity flawed given that information about other users would still be accessible, but Dinosauce313’s posts regarding each AP exam still remain publicly available.

Reddit users still continued to come up with more evidence, to further prove their theory. They found that the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the Dinosauce313 user corresponded to a location 20 minutes away from the main College Board offices in Reston, VA. 

The subreddits r/Dinosauce313 and r/APExams2020 continue to spark controversy over the alleged College Board sting operation. Many students are outraged and trying to prove their theories of the Reddit user. (Image via Reddit)

This leaves many students with a bad feeling about the 2021 AP exams coming up in a few months. Many students felt that it was unjust that the College Board punished the students on that subreddit because they had not yet cheated yet and were “innocent until proven guilty”. This year, students wonder if the College Board will attempt to run a similar scheme, this time more successfully. A spokesperson for the College Board spoke with Vulture, a news source to the company’s policies on online testing security. There it says the College Board “will be monitoring social media and discussion sites to detect and disrupt cheating” and “may post content designed to confuse and deter those who attempt to cheat.” The spokesperson also told Vulture the College Board “is not setting up accounts and starting discussion or social-media threads encouraging students to cheat, such as the ‘Dinosauce313’ account or r/APTests2020.” Kendra Burdick, a freshman at Redlands East Valley High School said that “I think that this should be taken into an important matter, no matter if this is true or false. Who knows, we might end up finding other problems similar that we have discarded.” 

Still, some high-schoolers remain unconvinced. Even if the sting isn’t real, the distrust high schoolers feel towards the College Board is— and many remain convinced the College Board is behind Dinosauce313. The College Board continues to deny the conspiracy, though many students choose to direct their attention to the accounts spreading it around the internet.

College Board releases new testing options for Advanced Placement students

By LILIAN MOHR 

For the Advanced Placement exams for the 2020 school year, the College Board had to make adjustments to their typical exams unlike anything seen before. 

Typically, the exams are taken in person and take several hours to complete. They include proctors and multiple different sections such as free-response, multiple-choice and speaking, depending on the exam subject. 

In order to receive college credit for these exams, students would have to pass the exam with a three or higher, however some universities would only accept a four or higher. 

Due to the unprecedented circumstances of distance learning for the 2020 school year, the exams were heavily modified to only a 45-minute exam with only one testing section such as one free-response or open-ended question. 

Students were assured that they would still receive college credit for passing these exams, but due to technical issues or the difficulties of learning virtually, these exams proved to cause even more stress and anxiety for some students than in years past. 

Jack Tetrault, a senior at Redlands East Valley high school, says, “Last year’s testing was insane. I know so many people that had to resubmit or retake their exams due to the computer issues. It was really stressful for all of us.” 

As AP students and teachers entered into the 2020-2021 school year, the question of whether this year’s exams were going to be modified again remained. 

Early on, the College Board assured the public that the exams were not going to be modified as they were in the year prior and that only adjustments according to the COVID-19 guidelines were going to be made as far as safe testing conditions were concerned. 

Now, with the exams just a few months away, the College Board has released the official protocol for this year’s exams. 

Image of high school senior, Lilian Mohr’s laptop as she views the new testing information for this upcoming AP exams. College Board has updated their site with all of the newest information on this year’s exams. (Lilian Mohr/ Ethic Photo)

Students will be given two different testing options; the first being the regular in-person exams, on paper and the second being online exams with a secured browser that is downloaded onto the testing devices ahead of time. The in-person exams will be done with masks-on, social distancing with only 16 students in a testing room at a time and plexy-glass dividers around desks. 

As far as the tests themselves go, the in-person and online exams will be almost identical with only small modifications to certain subjects made to account for the possibilities of handwritten work being recurred for subjects such as science or math. 

Both teachers of AP classes, along with the AP students themselves were notified of these testing adjustments. 

Christina Vargas is a senior at REV this year and is currently enrolled in multiple AP classes such as Statistics and Microeconomics. 

“I think the tests this year are going to be very difficult due to the fact that we have ‘learned’ everything online and are still expected to take the same test as students who have been back at school this whole time.” 

Skylar Watson, also a senior at REV and enrolled in a total of six AP courses this year, says, “I feel the tests seem a bit chaotic this year with the multiple testing options, which is adding a whole other level of stress.” 

AP French teacher Jennifer Baldwin says she is “hopeful that students who have been in distance learning the whole time will have the same chance of passing their tests as those who have not. I hope the test graders will keep in mind that not all students have had the same learning environment and instructional time this year.”

Baldwin also says, “I want to emphasize that one test score cannot determine how much a student has grown and how hard they have worked to get where they are. The quality work that my AP students have continued to do in less-than-ideal circumstances has motivated me to try and keep working as hard as they do.”

Cancelation of Disney’s seasonal annual pass causes disrupt for fans

By HANNAH PATRICK

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to cause Disney fans to go through a rollercoaster of emotions. From the closure of the parks and longtime employees being laid off, this magical theme park couldn’t make fans more upset then they do now. 

Disneyland Park in the afternoon of April 2019, as the sun hits the train station to make the theme of magic that comes with Disney much more apparent. (Hannah Patrick / Ethic News )

Due to the surge of COVID-19 cases, these parks will not be re-opened for the public in a very long time. The virus has caused Disney parks to be closed for a whole year now and fans are not pleased to be reminded of this day by day. 

Originally, the season pass was a multi-ticket system that families used to visit both parks daily, weekly or monthly, but now that access is being taken away. Disney discussed that they will be replacing the program with new membership offerings as refunds are being made for the people who paid for these passes by the end of the final process to get rid of the program. 

“Make no mistake, the AP program is in many ways still vital, especially at an urban locale that doesn’t have Walt Disney World’s hotel capacity or its four theme parks and activities to encourage week-long stays,” says the Los Angeles Times about this new program that Disney plans to create. The Walt Disney Company is currently operating the parks as a reservations-only capacity as soon as California finally opens up from its lock down. 

However, when word spread about this new plan, fans weren’t very pleased with it. It was said that the annual pass program has been believed to hover around one million dollars, and many are upset for paying a ticket only for it to be refunded.  

Disney annual pass tickets were priced into different categories, but the pass that cost the most is the Disney Platinum Pass at 1,195 dollars with “access to all four theme parks for one year,” according to WaltDisney World, the largest price tag compared to all the other regular passes which are priced in the hundreds. 

Viviana Sanches, a Citrus Valley High School senior says, “Disney was [my] way of escaping and taking a vacation when [I] could,” but her need to go to her vacation spot has been taken away from her. 

Robyn Coley, a Citrus Valley High School senior also says she “wishes for Disney to be open again to live the Disney magic once again.” 

The cancellation is yet to be finalized as of right now, but thankfully U.S citizens aren’t too shaken up about the sudden news. Once COVID-19 is through hopefully the park can open up once again and fill everyone with Disney magic as they flood into the parks to create more memories and spend time with family like they used to.

Animal abandonment rates surge as the pandemic continues

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By DESTINY RAMOS MARIN

Located at 374 W Orange Show Rd., San Bernardino, CA 92408, The Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley is one of the many shelters and veterinarians where you can adopt a pet or get your pet spayed or neutered. (DESTINY RAMOS/ La Plaza photo) 

Around every eight seconds, an animal is euthanized because it is not able to find a welcoming home. Pet abandonment is such a big problem because of how many animals are harmed from it, especially knowing that it is possible to be avoided but society seems not to care. According to One Green Planet, roughly six to eight million animals are welcomed into shelters every year, 2.7 million of them are adopted, and approximately 5.5 thousand are killed in shelters because they could not find a proper home. 

There are many reasons why someone would abandon a pet,  such as moving, having a child, losing a job, getting a divorce, having difficulties with one’s health, having problems with the animal’s behavior or just not wanting the pet anymore. Regardless of the reason, no one should ever leave their pets without proper care.

If one wants to get rid of a pet, there are many better options than choosing to leave them somewhere unfamiliar to fend for themselves. One could always turn to family or friends about the pet. In the unfortunate situation where none of the family members or friends accept the animal, there are always local shelters to turn to, where they will at least be better off than being out by themselves.

When pets are left abandoned, there is an eighty percent chance that they are left unneutered, which can add to the problem if that animal produces offspring. After that unneutered animal procreates, there would be more pets left with no one to properly take care of them. The multiple offspring would add to pet overpopulation. 

There are only about 3,500 animal shelters in the United States, and collectively they are able to welcome six to eight million animals into their shelters, but that still leaves about seventy million stray cats and dogs roaming around the U.S, as stated by Onegreenplanet.org. 

Even though owners face personal issues and pet overpopulation is a big problem, no pet deserves to be abandoned. As much as it is unacceptable and as much as it deserves a punishment, retribution would not generally be possible since tracking down the person that left the animal would be difficult. 

For those who do not know the effect of abandoning pets on the animal itself, Silvia Lemous, Redlands animal control supervisor, responds, “The effect on the pet is that it has a hard time trusting people, and it’ll take time to build a bond with the animal.”

To pet owners who have a pet that was once abandoned, Lemous adds, “Pet owners have to be patient with them and give them time to trust you because of their traumatic past. We have people here who play with our animals to build trust with them, so they know that these people aren’t going to hurt them.”

Pets will often have a hard time trusting a new owner if they were once abandoned. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza art)

To any individuals who own a pet, always make sure to get them spayed or neutered, as a small deed like this can help with these problems greatly. If one does not own a pet and would consider having one, avoid animal breeders at all costs and look into local animal shelters to adopt a pet instead. The animal will finally have the home it deserves, and one will get a pet that will love like any other.  

Executive order discontinues Keystone Pipeline

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By ISAAC MEJIA

Paying for gas is a common task for the average American. As teenagers acquire their license, paying for gas will become a major part of their driving experience and journey to becoming an independent adult; likewise, they will also have to deal with inflating gas prices that will drain their pockets dry. In order for the United States to keep gas prices low, the country needs to import and produce oil, a source of energy, at a low price. 

Americans are struggling mid-pandemic to pay for their gas bills. Many are concerned about its ethical standpoint and what President Biden will do to fix it. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza art)

In 2017 Former President Donald J. Trump approved the completion of the Keystone Pipeline which served as a possible solution to supply the United States with its energy needs. However, because the construction of the Keystone Pipeline could threaten environmental health, many environmentalists and legislatures have opposed its construction. 

What is the Keystone Pipeline? 

The Keystone Pipeline is a pipeline designed to carry tar sand oil from Canada, throughout the United States, and into Texas. It would transport oil more efficiently and less expensively to the U.S. than by railroad or truck. 

According to Pbs, if completed  “the pipeline would transport up to 83,000 barrels of oil (35 million gallons) per day” to refineries on the Gulf of Texas. By contributing to already existing oil reservoirs, the pipeline would help the U.S. maintain a steady supply of oil. Maintaining a steady supply of this resource is crucial in keeping the price of gas stable. 

According to Kenneth Carpenter, the Citrus Valley High School Advanced Placement Economics teacher, “The price of most goods is heavily influenced by the cost of production, which includes resources used in that production, in this case crude oil used to make gasoline.” Although it is not definitive, Mr. Carpenter states that it is theoretically possible that “increasing the supply of oil can in turn reduce the price of oil, which can reduce the cost of producing gasoline, which could translate to lower gas prices for consumers.”  

However, on his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order that revokes the permits for the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Biden revoked the permits on the basis that pipeline construction is harmful to the environment. 

Environmental Effects

The Keystone Pipeline would transfer tar sand oil which is very acidic and coercive. Because of its properties, there is a greater likelihood of oil leaking from the pipeline. According to NDRC an original pipeline incident in “North Dakota sent a 60-foot, 21,000-gallon geyser of tar sands oil spewing into the air.” Pipeline leaks do occur, and potential leaks expose many agricultural assets that the pipeline would run across to toxic chemicals. 

In addition to concerns over oil leaks, the completion of the pipeline would result in more oil mining. The increased production of oil will lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions which essentially undermines the many procedures in place to diminish global warming.

According to Jason Rice, the AP Environmental teacher at Redlands East Valley High School,  “There has always been a greenhouse layer of gases; without this layer we would have a planet that would be too cold for most life forms. The problem today is that we have record levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. As the layer of gases thickens, it becomes more effective at trapping heat and is now causing oceans to rise in temperature which is leading to death of coral reefs.” 

As stated by NDRC, the number of emissions that would be produced if the pipeline was completed is equivalent to “38.5 million passenger vehicles or 45.8 coal-fired power plants.” The additional amount of gas emissions could jeopardize climate security and leave it in a vulnerable position. 

Employment Effects

However, there is another important factor that needs to be taken into consideration… Jobs. TC Energy, a Canadian company that owns the pipeline, “estimated that 1,000 people” will directly lose their jobs from Biden’s executive order. The company also specified that “the total number of American union workers constructing Keystone XL in 2021 will exceed 8,000 and $900 million in gross wages.” They further stated that “in total, Keystone XL is expected to employ more than 11,000 Americans in 2021, creating more than $1.6 billion in gross wages.” 

Since Biden’s executive order stopped the pipeline’s assembly, several blue-collar workers are denied employment opportunities; opportunities that are financially beneficial and invaluable to sustaining their financial status. The harsh reality for many workers facing unemployment is that a lost job causes a loss of monthly income. This is another difficulty that must be resolved if they are going to support themselves and provide for their families. 

Since the global pandemic, unemployment rates have increased dramatically reaching 14% in April of 2020. Although those numbers have decreased, it is still pivotal for Americans that are struggling to make ends meet that jobs are created not destroyed; however, Biden’s executive order is responsible for doing the opposite. 

Ultimately, now that the Keystone Pipeline is no longer under development, economic issues such as gas prices and unemployment still negatively affect the nation’s citizens. As President Biden continues to remain steadfast in his agenda to minimize environmental safety hazards, he hopes that his clean energy plan will resolve many of these problems.

Girl Scout cookie season shifts to online sales to provide for contactless deliveries

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By MIA ARANDA

Due to COVID-19, Girl Scouts have shifted from door-to-door sales and booths in front of stores to selling cookies online via their own personal link. In order to provide for contactless sales, customers have the choice to have their cookie order directly shipped to their house for an additional shipping fee or delivered to them locally for no extra charge by the Girl Scout.

After clicking on a Girl Scout’s personal cookie link, customers are prompted with two options for cookie delivery: direct ship or girl delivery. Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio’s sales last from Jan. 24 to March 21. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Girl Scouts may set up cookie booths on their own property, but a sneeze guard and a mask are both indispensable for the safety of customers and the Girl Scout. 

In face of this new challenge, this is not the first time Girl Scouts have had to modify their sales. In fact, Girl Scouts sold calendars in lieu of cookies in 1944 as World War II prompted a shortage of cooking ingredients, such as eggs, milk, and sugar. 

The Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, known as GSSGC, serves all of Riverside County and the greater part of San Bernardino county. Their cookie season commenced on Jan. 24. 

Citrus Valley High School freshman Samantha Fujiwara, a part of Girl Scout troop 1250, said, “I think that all the requirements to sell to others are necessary to maintain the safety of both the girls and the customers. I really like the online ordering format because it is really organized and easy to keep track of and take people’s orders.”

Fujiwara’s fellow Girl Scout troop member Haley Bond, CVHS freshman, finds it harder to sell cookies this year as “most of [her] cookie sales came from booths.” 

Previously, Girl Scouts could work available cookie booth shifts in front of stores for two to three hours at a time. At the end of the season in March, their total booth hours worked is multiplied by the average number of cookies sold per hour at booths, yielding a total number of sales that would be credited to their individual sales. Many Girl Scouts, like Bond, relied on working store booths heavily in order to benefit their total sales later on. 

In GSSGC, every box of cookies sold yields 90 cents of profit toward that particular troop. Many troops utilize this money to pay for each troop members’ annual registration fee or for Girl Scout sponsored activities, such as camp.

Despite the modifications for this cookie season, Girl Scouts are seen marketing more on their social media accounts as they advertise their personal cookie link. 

“The only problem with the online sales is that you have to do a lot of advertising to get people to order,” Fujiwara says. “People are more likely to buy when we are asking them directly.”

Fujiwara’s marketing strategies include advertising on her Instagram and her mother’s Facebook account, in addition to reaching out separately to close friends and family. 

Additionally, Girl Scouts have partnered with the online food ordering company GrubHub. The following link is used for customers to input their zip code in order to be matched with local GrubHub cookie deliveries near them, before proceeding to order. Cookie purchases through GrubHub directly benefit the troop that was signed up for its delivery slot. 

Link to order cookies through GrubHub: https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies.html

Girl Scouts have also introduced a new cookie flavor this year, called Toast-Yays, which are described as French toast flavored cookies dipped in icing.

Girl Scouts instituted a new French toast inspired cookie flavor this year. Toast-Yays were introduced as a result of Thanks-A-Lots being discontinued. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

GSSGC ends its cookie season on March 21.

Supreme Court allows indoor religious services with limitations

By TATUM MAPES

The Supreme Court ruled in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom that, for now, the State of California cannot ban indoor worship services, even in counties with rising coronavirus cases. The decision held on Feb. 5 says that the state can still cap indoor attendance at 25 percent capacity and limit singing and chanting. 

South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista and the Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena argued that the state violated their religious liberty by banning indoor services, while allowing for more leeway for various businesses. 

Justices Neil Gorusch and Clarence Thomas agreed that the State of California had been giving preferential treatment to “lucrative industries,” such as the film and gambling industry, saying that the state “openly imposed more stringent regulations on religious institutions than on many businesses.” Gorusch and Thomas were in favor of lifting all restrictions. Justice Samuel Alito, while in disagreement of lifting all restrictions, joined them in their statement, saying that “if Hollywood may host a studio audience or film a singing competition while not a single soul may enter California’s churches, synagogues and mosques, something has gone seriously awry.”

Notably, this is the first time newly appointed justice Amy Coney Barrett released a signed opinion. Her statement is surprisingly more left leaning than those of her more conservative colleagues. While she too was in favor of indoor services, she also advised the limitations on attendance and singing that are seen in the final decision. She writes, “If a chorister can sing in a Hollywood studio but not in her church, California’s regulations cannot be viewed as neutral.” She is still open to bans on group singing and chanting, “It remains unclear whether the singing ban applies across the board (and thus constitutes a neutral and generally applicable law) or else favors certain sectors (and thus triggers more searching review).”

The Redlands Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: one of the many California religious institutions currently holding virtual religious services. Other pandemic-adjusted options include holding in-person, outdoor services rather than virtual ones (Tatum Mapes/Ethic News).

Student opinions in the district differ on this matter. Miguel Sosa, a senior at Redlands East Valley, is in agreement with the decision, “I don’t see anything wrong with it. You take the same risk going to Costco.” 

Anthony Sousa, another REV senior, shares his doubts about the legitimacy of the new guidelines, “How many people are actually going to follow them? COVID plus old people plus religious gatherings plus ‘it’s just a flu’ equals lots of deaths.”

Despite differing court opinions on the extent to which indoor churches should be regulated, the final vote was still along “partisan” lines (justices serve life terms to be free from public and political influences, so calling the division in the vote “partisan” would be inaccurate). 

The minority opinion of Justices Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor claim that California already treated places of worship the same as secular institutions. They also claim that the court should not be able to decide on this at all. In their dissenting opinion, they write that “justices of [the] court are not scientists, Nor do we know much about public health policy.” 

Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor believe that public health policy should not be dictated by government officials without any medical or public health experience; that it should be organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or individuals like Dr. Fauci who say what is essential and where and how events should and shouldn’t be held. They continue, “Yet today the court dis-places the judgments of experts about how to respond to a raging pandemic.”

This ruling does not guarantee that all churches will start in-person services. It just means that they have the option to reopen or continue their online/outdoor services. It is probable that state governments will be able to enforce social distancing standards on places of worship the same they do businesses.

Student’s grades and learning are being affected by online school

By EMILY PRINSTEIN

After a little over five months of online school, children all over the world have been negatively impacted by the lack of socialization, absence of in depth learning and failure to find positivity. During online classes, the grades of many students have seen a negative stride in comparison to previous grades. Many feel as if they are falling behind in reading and math due to the lack of interpersonal communication. 

“You aren’t in a classroom, [so] it’s really hard to focus with all the other noises,” said Emma Ainsworth, a senior at Citrus Valley High school.

Featured is a desk that is similar to one that many students face on a daily basis. Students have also been forced to face a difficult school year that can lead to loneliness and stress (Emily Prinstein/ Ethic Photo).

Many students have failed to turn in assignments due to the confusion on things such as due dates, where to turn in the assignment and even unclear instructions on how to complete them. Among the schools that have initiated online learning is Iowa State University, which notes that “without the routine structures of a traditional class, students may get lost or confused about course activities and deadlines.”

Teachers use different platforms for their students to turn in assignments, which can become confusing and overwhelming for their students. Many of these platforms are new to students such as Kami, Google Classroom, Edulastic and many others.

“Sometimes it can be confusing turning in many different assignments on all of the different platforms, and at times it causes me to forget to turn things in,” said Hayley Prinstein, a senior at CVHS.

During online school, many students also leave early from their classes while some do not show up at all. Students do this because they are unmotivated and believe their teachers won’t notice. 

Because of the lack of structure in distance learning, many students have resorted to cheating on tests and assignments. While their grades may show that they are doing well with online learning, it may be a different story at home. This greatly affects how students learn, and as they move onto further and higher learning they are not going to be prepared due to the way they have adapted during distance learning. 

Another issue that has arisen is the home life of some students. It is apparent that students need somewhere they can go to study and focus. While at home, some students struggle to find this place due to siblings, pets and other factors. 

In some cases, students may also not have access to all of the supplies they need such as not being able to access the internet. This causes significant disruptions to many student’s learning, and will only escalate further problems with assignments and tests. 

Overall, online learning has had its ups and downs for many students. While some schools hope to re-open their doors soon, students will have to make do with distance learning until then.

Racial crisis in Redlands sparks backlash against the district

By MAURICIO PLIEGO

A recent post on social media of the actions of students at Redlands East Valley High School led to a problematic week of final exams for students and administrators alike. Two female REV students, one a senior and one a sophomore, can be seen in a video posted on the platform TikTok making racial gestures towards a young Asian American influencer. This video went viral and school administrators, such as Robert Clarey, were contacted along with the district superintendent, Mauricio Arellano.

Both the family and authorities would be contacted over the situation and work with the school to find a proper solution. However, this would later create a backlash, as some students believe that the school and administration have failed them more than once and would do so again. Several students claimed that they had been in similar situations of discrimination, but the administration only stood by. Inara Khankashi, a sophomore from Citrus Valley High School, says that “at a school where the majority of students are people of color, it is unacceptable that acts of blatant racism just go by with no consequences.” 

Students have expressed concerns about not only the incident itself but the district’s response to it. When the incident first was reported to the administration, an email was sent out that explained the school’s legal limitations to enforce any direct discipline due to the fact that the incident did not occur during school or on campus, although they did not condone the student’s behavior. Victoria Lee, a sophomore at REV, says “although I understand that the school may have their hands tied as [her] actions took place off-campus, it upsets me that these two students haven’t been correctly disciplined nor grew from their actions.” 

Many students brought up the discussion of creating a resolution through a committee of students and administration. It was passed in October in response to the community calling out racism to be a health crisis. Within the resolution, it states “Now, therefore, be it further resolved that the Redlands Unified School District Board of Education will implement and reinforce, with intent and fidelity, policies and practices that reflect a conscious effort to ensure racial equity, equity of access and service, cultural education, and diversity at all levels within our organization”. Some adults, like Susan Broome, parent of two former students from RUSD, say “I oppose the resolution because of its many false premises and assumptions, and ideological promotion.” 

Some students have expressed their disapproval and disappointment with the action that the district has taken towards the REV student. Joleen Bakalova, a sophomore from CVHS and a contributor to the resolution, says “the REV Administration should have followed the guidance we outlined in the resolution against racism. After all, what good is a resolution if it is not implemented.” 

A post from the Wildcats for Change Instagram explaining the stance of the group and some students at REV. (Photo credit to Wildcats4change Instagram)

Wildcats for Change, a club at REV that looks to help fix social injustice at the high school and through the district,  have created Instagram posts that many believe are much more helpful than anything the district has done. In response, the Redlands Unified School District has incorporated small townhall-like meetings for students. These meetings were separated into two days each for the different schools. Each had small groups in breakout rooms on the video communication platform Zoom filled with student and teacher representatives from Students For Change, counselors, and other district members to answer any questions for the students. Brooklynn Rios, a sophomore at REV, says “they spoke a lot about how they wanted to implement these changes to benefit the students and what standpoints we had about school and how it can be better.”

Featured Photo: An illustration depicting the feeling that many students have felt due to the past events, as some might feel muted and unimportant. (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News Art)

Joe Biden’s victory certified by elected officials

By EMILY PRINSTEIN

To many, the election process may be seen as confusing, especially this year with the greater amount of emphasis being placed on each step in the electoral process. Due to the pandemic, many people have voted by mail, causing results of the election to be unclear at first. This has caused many people to ponder the possibility of voter fraud and if the election was rigged for one candidate. 

The claims suggesting the election had been tainted with voter fraud have now been disputed. According to the Associated Press, it has been made clear that the election’s integrity was upheld. However, this claim, in the eyes of many Americans, is still not so clear though. 

After the votes from each state showed President-Elect Joe Biden to be the winner, the worry of faithless electors came about. “Now it is time to turn the page, to unite, to heal,” he said after he had won the election.

Electors are nominated for each state by their respective political party. These electors then take an oath to vote the way in which their state casts their votes. Each state gets a certain amount of electoral votes based on their population, meaning bigger states like California and Texas have a larger impact. 

This worry of faithless electors was washed away on Dec. 14th after the outcome of the electoral votes ended with a win for Biden. To win the presidency a candidate must receive 270 electoral votes. California’s 55 electoral votes are what placed Biden over the top at 306 votes to President Donald Trump’s 232 electoral votes. 

Later that night, Biden gave a speech about how monumental his victory is for America, stating that “ence again in America, the rule of law, our Constitution, and the will of the people have prevailed. Our democracy — pushed, tested, threatened — proved to be resilient, true, and strong.”  
The next step in the election process is for Congress to meet and certify the electors votes. This meeting will take place on Jan. 6. After this the process of transition of power will begin and President Elect Joe Biden will take office on Inauguration Day which is Jan. 20.

COVID pandemic will change the holiday experience for all

By Emily Prinstein

Due to the Pandemic holiday’s this year are being spent much differently than most years. (Photo courtesy of Forbes)

Holiday season has arrived and with that means colder weather and usually more time spent with family and friends. However, due to the pandemic, this year’s holidays have to be spent differently. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been over 16 million COVID cases in the United States alone, with 1.7 million of those cases being from California. 

A surge in cases took place after Thanksgiving due to traveling and cases are expected to surge once again after Christmas. This large spike in cases is alarming due to the high death toll that COVID has brought on.

To help try and limit the spread of the virus, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a new stay at home order for counties that are approaching hospital capacity. In a news conference, Gavin Newsom stated that  “if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed. If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see our death rate climb, more lives lost.” 

Because of this new stay at home order, families are being asked to limit their holiday gatherings to those who they live with and avoid traveling at all costs. Many people do not agree with the governor’s new order and do not want to follow the new guidelines that have been put in place. On the other hand, the amount of COVID cases continues to skyrocket and new daily records of cases are constantly being reached. 

To keep yourself and others safe it is important to keep practicing social distancing even during the holiday season. There are new and alternative ways to spend time with family during the holidays such as facetime, Zoom, and other convenient platforms. 

This holiday season may be different from the rest but that does not mean it is not going to be one to remember. Memories can still be made from home and new traditions can be born from the celebrations this year. Overall, the holiday season is a time to celebrate but also a time to keep others wellbeing in mind by staying home and wearing your mask.

COVID-19 vaccine preparing for early 2021 distribution

By DESTINY RAMOS, NOAH AMARO and AZRIEL OLMEDO

In what’s now approaching a year-long quarantine, the news of distributions of vaccines to prevent the virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is becoming a reality. In the United States, some of the larger companies being funded by the government to aid the distributions of vaccines include Moderna and the partnering of Pfizer and BioNTech, two central pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Stat News, an American health-directed news website, reported that the large biotechnology company Moderna has undergone a “30,000-volunteer study” person trial in the short period that the pandemic has given them. According to Science Magazine, a total of “11 people developed COVID-19 symptoms” during the trial, but it is crucial to note these were mild cases of the virus. To ensure trust in their results, it was revealed that a total of “7,000 participants were over age of 65” and 5,000 of those same participants had diseases putting them at “a higher risk severe COVID-19,” Science Magazine continued. However, no cases of severe symptoms were detected in any participant.

The vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is not far off from the conclusions of their trial. It “enrolled 43,538 participants, with 42% having diverse backgrounds, and no serious safety concerns have been observed,” according to a progress report by Pfizer.

Moderna has received one billion dollars in funds from the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed, a response initiated by the government “to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available in January 2021,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pfizer does not fall behind with their fundings of a shared contract of roughly two billion, with BioNtech in return for 100 million doses by December.

According to Stat News, Moderna’s tests have revealed a “94% efficacy in the main analysis” for its vaccine, and will submit its results to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Jezer Cabrera, senior at Citrus Valley High school, acknowledges the possibility of others doubting the efficacy of the vaccine, “I bet there’s going to be those people that are like, “don’t get the vaccine, they’re gonna plant chips in you” or the “it’s gonna give you the virus directly” kind of people. But if it’s 94% efficacy I’d say it’s good progress towards getting out of this pandemic.”

Another student from CVHS, who remains to be left unnamed, shares their uncertainties about the vaccine, “I wonder if there will be any side effects, since the vaccine is in high demand we need to be careful about that stuff.”

A nurse gives a Moscow man the Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine. Sputnik V, a vaccine produced in Russia, is now the first registered vaccine against COVID-19 (Photo credit: Science Magazine).

In a rush to get approvals to finally distribute these vaccines, Pfizer has come forward and filed an Emergency Use Authorization request for their vaccine to the FDA, which would effectively increase the speed of distribution to the public. This is after they trust in the effectiveness of their researched and tested vaccine. 

And so, as early as the 17th of December, the FDA will hold a meeting with their vaccine advisory committee to discuss the matter and approval of their EUA request. After a positive conclusion, the FDA could issue the EUA in 24 to 72 hours. It is also important to note that their distribution of 50 million doses will not only be given to the U.S. but also split among other countries that have also contributed to the company’s research and development. In Moderna’s applications of the vaccine, they hope to provide the U.S. with 20 million doses before the year ends.

Throughout all this positive movement to combat the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave his thoughts and conclusions that realistically, after the vaccination of those who are high-priority, Americans who choose to be vaccinated may do so in the spring of 2021. “By the time we get to April, we would likely have taken care of all the high priority and then the general population,” Fauci said in a live discussion on Bloomberg Quicktake with Mark Zuckerberg.

Martin Stalhut, a senior at CVHS, says, “I’m glad a vaccine is coming. I’m fortunate that my family hasn’t been exposed to the [virus]. I hope others will also get through this virus.”

The delay is in the production of the hundreds of millions of doses and then in the waiting period to be distributed. The worries of the remainder of the public who may choose to not vaccinate is another huge concern that science cannot combat, but this is ultimately excellent news to what may finally be the end of quarantine and the pandemic the world was so blindly struck by.

News brief: Biden secures presidential election win with California certification

By EMILY PRINSTEIN

After a little over a month since the election took place, California has officially certified its votes securing the election, for now, President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. The certification of California’s fifty-five electoral votes puts President-elect Biden nine votes above the two hundred and seventy vote threshold needed to win the election. 

The 2020 election has been much different than prior elections in terms of formalities. Even though many have viewed the election to be over and have already seen Biden as President-Elect, the certification of California’s votes makes this clear legally.  According to a law professor at Ohio State University, Edward Foley, “Everything prior to that was premised on what we call projections.” 

In the coming weeks, the pledged electoral voters and electoral voters from other states will be meeting to vote on Dec. 14. According to the Associated Press, “ All states must certify before the Electoral College meets.” These votes will then be sent to Congress where they will be approved most likely on Jan. 6.

 Electoral voters from most states such as California take a pledge to vote for the nominee that receives the most votes in their said state, meaning that Joe Biden will get a majority of these votes. After this President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will then take office on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. 

Image of Joe Biden from commons.wikimedia.org

Redlands passes resolution 12 to help achieve true equality for all

By: ISABELLA LANDEROS

 Images of equality and exclusivity symbolizing love for anyone  (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News)

During the last Redlands Unified School Board district meeting on Oct. 27, 2020, Resolution 12 was passed with the help and support of the NEXGEN Student Board. Resolution 12 covers the topic of making the schools in Redlands Unified District inclusive to all.

NEXGEN United, a Redlands Unified student operated community organization working for “racial equality and justice for all”, declared racism as “a public health crisis” as said by their instagram. In doing so they created a resolution to bring to the attention of the RUSD school board. This is significant because, due to the recent California Assembly Bill 331, school boards are encouraged to incorporate curriculum to raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ students, racial injustice, and all around inclusivity of students regardless of economic background, gender and/or sexual orientation. The school board will ensure this by implementing policies and practices, such as equity of access, services and cultural education. 

Some students on the NEXGEN board, such as Mauricio Pliego, a sophomore at Redlands East Valley, who “personally worked on the resolution” saw an “opportunity to create a more understanding and safer environment” for RUSD students. Inara Khankashi, a sophomore at Citrus Valley, and a NEXGEN member, is “extremely pleased it passed”. She said that “the District genuinely needs change and student representation, especially people of color ones, should assist in bringing out that change.” 

R-12 ensures that future Redlands students are informed and educated on racial, LGBTQ+ and other social issues. Through reinforcing policies, the district hopes that practices and RUSD student/member participation can bring them closer towards a safe and equal learning environment to lead to a brighter future.

Wildcat’s ASB create escapes from the computer screens for students

By LILIAN MOHR

The Associated Student Body at Redlands East Valley High School is continuing to put on their schools events that encourage school spirit and help to unite the students and staff, but now with the added challenge of doing it all virtual. 

In years prior, ASB has used a combination of the traditions such as pep rallies and Homecomings along with new and exciting events such as food drives and unique spirit weeks, to engage students on campus. This year almost every event that was planned has had to be altered to fit social distancing guidelines and also work within the distance learning schedules. 

Despite these unique situations, ASB has worked to put together activities and events for students and staff and have even more planned for the future. 

At the East Valley Campus, Marin Mohr, the Sophomore Class President, says that “the sophomore class has been working hard to put on as many fundraisers as possible, for example our lemonade stands in Prospect Park. It is all to make sure that even though we aren’t in school, we still raise the funds to put on events that our grade and the rest of the school deserves.” 

Mohr also says that “it has definitely been a challenge to get creative with ways to get everyone involved from home but I feel that everyone has been working hard to find fun ways to make sure this year is the best possible given the situation. The 10th graders, along with the rest of the classes are going to continue to plan and put on events for REV students and staff.” 

The year began with virtual spirit week, which included students and staff dressing up for the various theme days during zoom calls.These spirit weeks used to be done in person and classes would tally up participation for different awards, so this was an event that could be transitioned into distance learning to keep some of the same traditions alive this year.

To coincide with the fall and Halloween season, REV has organized a pumpkin carving contest where students can participate in choosing the most popular pumpkin carving using Instagram polls. The Pep Commissioners have also organized a scavenger hunt around downtown Redlands. An R will be hidden at various locations and hints will be given out sporadically to where the R can be located. Students can go with friends or family to go find the R, take a selfie, and post it tagging REV Wildcats on Instagram for a chance to win various prizes.

Jack Tetrualt, the Executive President, says that “this year is definitely not what we expected but none of us plan to let it go to waste. We can’t say too much right now as things are still in the works, but we are all working on some upcoming events for everyone so stay tuned as always.”

ASB is just one of many organizations, clubs, and sports teams on campus that is continuing to adapt to the changing times during distance learning and will continue to do so in an effort to engage and connect the students and staff at REV for the 2020-2021 school year.

Featured Photo: Kasey Plumb, a junior at Redlands East Valley, poses with the “R” on Oct. 25, 2020, as a part of the scavenger hunt that the ASB organized. The first “R” was hidden outside of the local ice cream shop, A La Minute. Plumb was able to locate the “R” on the first day that the clue was released on Instagram.

How do we elect our president? Explaining the Electoral College

By TATUM MAPES

In 2016, Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the race to the White House, despite not winning the popular vote. How was this possible?

Unlike other elections for American political offices, the presidential election is not decided through the popular vote. Instead, the future president is decided through the electoral college. This essentially means that states rather than individuals determine the outcome of the presidential election.

Origins:

Among the many topics debated during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, one of the most heated was how to elect the president. Some opted for a direct, popular vote while others advocated for Congress to decide. Framers feared that a popular vote could lead to an uneducated “democratic mob” majority, but, at the same time, a Congressional vote could lead to corruption and chumminess between the executive and legislative branches. The Founding Fathers debated for months until finally reaching a compromise. The electoral college was established in Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2 and 3 of the United States constitution. 

In Practice:

The Founding Fathers’ compromise put the fears of both sides to rest. The state appoints a specific number of electors, equal to the total number of representatives and senators. For example, the state of California has 55 electors because it has 53 representatives and 2 senators. Technically, these electors pick the president, not the people. Alexander Hamilton writes in Federalist No. 68 that electors would be “men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.” The popular vote for each state is counted, and the electors from said state usually cast their votes according to the people’s will. It is extremely rare for an elector to vote against the result of the popular vote. In most states this system is winner-take-all, so all of the electors’ votes go towards the candidate that has won the state’s popular vote. This is why “swing states” or “battleground states” are so influential in the presidential election. Out of 538 electoral votes, a candidate has to win 270 to make it to the White House. If no one reaches 270, the election is decided by the House of Representatives. 

Swing States:

Swing states are states with closer general elections than most other states. Also known as “battleground” states, swing states in the 2020 election include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and possibly Texas. Because of the winner-take-all nature of the electoral college, presidential candidates will focus more time and energy on winning these states than they would states where there is a much larger population of a particular party. For example, Donald Trump would spend less time in California because of a large Democrat majority, but he would focus more time on Wisconsin to sway the undecided voters needed to tip the scales for an overall advantage in electoral votes.

(Artwork by Ashley Lewis/Ethic News)

Pros of the Electoral College:

The main argument in support of the electoral college is that it makes sure that all parts of this rather large country are involved in the electoral process. Without it, politicians would only have to appeal to big cities and urban areas. They could ignore less populous suburban and rural areas and still win the election. There is also the argument that an electoral college removes the possibility of an uninformed, tyrannical majority. It is another protection of minority rights guaranteed by the constitution. Ashley Lewis, a senior at Redlands East Valley, says “it gives representation to small groups and small cities because normally small states’ votes would go down the drain.”

Cons of the Electoral College:

The main argument against the electoral college is that it may not accurately represent the overall opinions of the U.S. population. There have been instances where presidents have been elected without getting the popular vote in 1876, 1888, 2000 and, most recently, 2016. There is also the argument that swing states pull too much weight, and that the general populace is educated and informed enough in the modern age to make a good decision. The electoral college encourages the existence of “red” and “blue” states, so citizens of the minority party may be reluctant to vote, claiming their votes will be insignificant. Eliza Strong, another REV senior, says “The winner take all system in the electoral college kind of takes the democracy part of voting away from us. I think it is especially unfair to those who, for example, are republicans in a largely democratic state, or democrats in largely republican states. It probably makes these individuals feel as if their vote does not make any difference.”

Despite the arguments for and against the electoral college, it is still important for all citizens to vote their conscience and exercise their liberties. Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best when he said, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Despite winning the popular vote in 2016, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in electoral votes as displayed on the electoral map above. (Courtesy of Business Insider)

News brief: Redlands area students adjust in light of recent power outages

By ISAAC MEJIA, ARIANA GHALMBOR, NYLA DE CARVALHO and HANNAH PATRICK

A screen shot of communication sent out via various formats on the morning of Monday, Oct. 26 notifying families and staff within the Redlands Unified School District of a local power outage. (Ethic images)

Redlands Unified School District parents, staff and students were notified on Monday, Oct. 26 about the power outages that affected local areas and impacted the online learning experience for students and teachers. 

Southern California Edison customers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino county experienced power outages. As many as 9,688 San Bernardino county customers were affected. The power outages throughout the counties occurred for two reasons: high winds and preventative measurements. According to the SCE website, “high winds can damage power lines.” As a safety precaution, they “shut off power in high fire risk areas as a result of extreme weather conditions.” The company restores power only after their crew inspects power lines and confirms that it is safe to do so. 

Many students in or around the San Bernardino county area were among those affected and encountered the darkness within their houses and apartments. Some students reported that the stores and fast food restaurants in their areas were closed down by 1 p.m. in the afternoon. Others reported the produce in their refrigerator getting hot and spoiled or rotten, while others said they couldn’t shower, charge any electronics or do homework because the power was out. Some even chose to move locations temporarily.

Additionally, many students throughout the district struggled to attend classes. Even after the power went back on, Cyrus Engelsman, a junior at Redlands East Valley High School, said that he still continued to struggle. “The power outage left my house without power or internet all day,” Engelsman said, “I was not able to go to any of my classes and missed out on a lot. When the power came back, some of our light bulbs ended up dead, which was very unexpected.” 

Teachers across the district had trouble using Zoom as well, as many of their students could not attend class as regularly scheduled. Jana Bailey, an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) coordinator from REV says, “It didn’t really affect me, but it affected a handful of my students.”

Wendy McClung, a mental health teacher, said she had to change her lesson plans for the day to accommodate her students’ needs. “Although my home was not affected by the outage, many of my students were unable to attend class. I spent much of my day responding to emails and being mindful about slowing down my lesson so those who had missed the day could easily catch up.”

While some students and staff of the district dealt with the power outages, it was found in a small study with a sample of 15 students that 60% had been affected. Anneliese Reese, a freshman at REV in the unaffected 40%, said, “Yuh, was all good.” 

The Final Presidential Debate sees a change in behavior between the candidates

By TATUM MAPES

The last presidential debate between incumbent President Donald J. Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden was held last night at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The debate, moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, aired at 6 p.m. PST and concluded at 7:30 p.m. 

The candidates took the stage one last time under some new, agreed upon restrictions and regulations. For the duration of the 2 minutes given for a candidate to answer a question, the other candidate’s mic was muted to discourage interruptions like the ones seen in the first debate. Smaller increments of time were given for rebuttals and responses. 

These regulations, as well as Welker’s commanding moderation, proved to improve the quality of the debate and responses given. Dana Hattar, a junior at Redlands East Valley, said “I think the new rules improved greatly, since we can’t trust the two grown men.”

Ashlynn Meyer, a senior at REV, agrees with Hattar: “I think the new rules totally improved the quality of the debate because there were not as many interruptions, and you really got to hear what each candidate had to say.”

Arthur Meyers, another senior at REV, thinks that other variables likely influenced the candidates’ behaviors on top of the regulations. “I also think that both candidates were likely prompted by their respective teams to go out of their way to be more civil and respectful this time around.”

The new regulations provided each candidate the opportunity to answer the questions to almost completion, without the threat of interruption. “The debate was less hectic and more respectful, like a presidential debate should be,”  said Daniel Waters, a senior at Redlands East Valley.

“I think both candidates did a good job,” said Ashlynn Meyer, “there were a lot of accusations towards each other, but they each did a good job explaining the situation for the most part. There were many things that I hadn’t heard of before and legal occurrences that I didn’t even know had happened, so I’d say I learned a good bit from this debate.”

The question of who won this debate is still up in the air. Kyle Dennert, a senior at REV, said “I think both candidates did try to avoid the question, which is expected, but when something was brought up against the opposing candidate, Trump did a better job defending himself and was able to explain himself better.”

Joey Sousa, another senior at REV, offered a differing opinion: “Biden,” he said, “even though Trump may have seemed dominant, he spouted the same generic talking points and deflected constantly. Biden wasn’t much better though. He also deflected a bit, but not nearly as much as Trump.”

This final debate served as not just a last ditch effort to sway undecided voters, but also as the start of a new era in the conduct of presidential and other political debates.

Topics discussed at the debate included reopening plans, systemic racism, affordable healthcare and the candidate’s independent, foreign interests. Some of those topics and each candidate’s corresponding viewpoints will be briefly reviewed in this article.

Topic: COVID-19 Relief

In the midst of shutdowns and closings, the candidates were asked about their safe reopening plans. “What I would do is make sure we have everyone encouraged to wear a mask all the time,” responded Biden, “I would make sure we move in the direction of rapid testing and… set up national standards as to how to open up schools and… businesses, so they can be safe.” Trump said “We have no choice. We are not going to lock ourselves up in our basement. We have to open our schools, and we can’t close up our nation, or you are not going to have a nation.” The president also expressed his hopes that a vaccine will be ready “within a few weeks,” saying that he has been working with multiple companies, who he claims are very close to developing a vaccine to be distributed by the military.

Topic: Healthcare

Over 20 million people use the nickname “Obamacare” for their healthcare. Trump said “I would like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand new, beautiful health care.” If the Supreme Court denies this request, however, Trump promised that he would work to reform the healthcare system. Biden said “What I’m going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option — becomes ‘Bidencare.’” Both candidates promised to protect those with pre-existing conditions. Trump criticized Biden, claiming that he wants socialized medicine like former candidate Bernie Sanders. “He thinks he’s running against somebody else. He’s running against Joe Biden,” Biden said. “I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”

Topic: The Environment/Climate Change

The candidates had starkly different solutions for environmental waste and climate change. Biden shared his plan of building 50 thousand electric car charging stations across the country, rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and investing in renewable energy. While Trump said he supports the use of renewable energy sources, he claimed that they, particularly solar energy, are too expensive and inefficient to rely on at the moment. He also claimed that pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords was better for the country’s economy and a statement to persuade other countries to work to reduce their own emissions and waste. He took credit for carbon emissions being the lowest it’s ever been.

Topic: Minimum Wage

Biden said he wants to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars on a national scale. Trump, on the other hand, advocated for the decision regarding minimum wage to be left to the states. “How are you helping small businesses when you’re forcing wages?” Trump asked, adding that raising the minimum wage would lead businesses to let go of more employees to meet that quota. He claimed that the decision should be left to the states because the economies of each state differ, citing New York vs Alabama specifically.

Election day is Nov. 3. Due to the time it takes to process mail-in ballots, official election results are expected to be revealed at a later date.

Local small businesses forced to adjust due to the Pandemic

 By MIYAH SANBORN

In the midst of this global pandemic, many local, small businesses have managed to adjust and adapt to this new normal. 

 Business owners have had to make various changes to follow the restrictions and regulations of the pandemic. Social distancing, wearing masks, washing their hands, and sanitizing have been the main concerns for keeping everyone safe. 

 “I think the biggest change we’ve had to make is inside our own shop, social distancing.” Says Kamrun Parveen, owner of Cheesewalla. “So we’ve made little rules like wear masks while working and wash your hands even more than before. We’ve also kind of changed the way we plate our food now, before we were urging everyone to eat here, and now that indoor dining is banned, we do to go food.” 

 Eric Escudero, who owns the small landscaping business Harvester Landscape, has had his own difficulties working under the conditions of the global pandemic.

“Because my work is outside and we are an essential business, meaning we are in construction or the landscaping maintenance industry, we can still work” Escudero says. “But we have to be really cautious, wear masks, keep our hands clean, make sure our employees are safe. So yeah, it’s been more difficult.” 

 Not only do businesses have to keep their customers safe, but they also have to keep themselves and their employees protected from Covid-19. 

 Coronavirus has affected multiple types of small businesses world wide, whether it’s a restaurant, clothing store, landscaping business, or any other type of business, all have been affected in their own ways. 

Featured in the image above are the owners of Cheesewalla, Kamrun Parveen and Kadir Fakir where they are promoting their business Cheesewalla at Market Night. (Photo credit to Sherie Escudero)

 “Covid has affected my business by reducing business because so on the projects I had lined up to execute were stopped because the people who manage the facilities were staying home, they stopped production. Therefore it affected my business by cutting my income down because we were unable to do those projects.” Says Escudero. 

 There have been numerous chances, due to our generations technology, for using online features to boost business during social distancing. Businesses have used the internet to sell their products, deliver their food, and used apps such as zoom to conduct their meetings. 

 “So we did start a contract with GrubtoGo, and we’ve noticed it’s actually worked pretty good.” Says Parveen.  

 Although our world has changed enormously over the last few months, small businesses have learned to utilize the many online features available in our society, and adapt to what the world has become. 

Photos: Attendees show support for family, speak against discrimination at Highland vigil for fruit vendor

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By MIA ARANDA

After mother of four and fruit vendor Marlen Benitez, 28, was struck by a car at her fruit stand off of Highland Ave. on Oct. 13, the local community of San Bernardino county stepped up to show support for Marlen and her family. The video recording of the incident shows the driver slowing down before speeding up and directly hitting Benitez and her fruit stand.

Angel Mendez-Flores set up a GoFundMe page on Oct. 15 to help defray the costs of medical expenses for Benitez and support her four children. After a mere three days of sharing, the page has surpassed its goal of 75, 000 dollars with approximately 2,400 donors.

Mendez-Flores posted on the GoFundMe page on Oct. 18 that Benitez had woken up from her coma after being in critical condition at the Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Lyzzeth Mendoza, Community Engagement and Policy Associate of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, organized and led a community vigil for Benitez on Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. at Highland Ave. Participants had to wear masks and were encouraged to bring poster signs and flowers to show their respects.

Lyzzeth Mendoza of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice leads the vigil for Marlen on Highland Ave. on Oct. 18. Mendoza describes the importance of street vendors in local communities. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

A “Justice 4 Marlen” sign is shown posted on a pole that attendees first saw as they arrived. The sign reads “vendedora atropellado por un racista [vendor run over by a racist].” (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Attendees are shown holding white roses to honor fruit vendor Marlen Benitez. These roses were handed out to attendees prior to the start of the vigil. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Renato Gonzales of San Bernardino says “Los que al traves del cellular, escuchen. Por favor, pasen la voz: Que no se siga corriendo el odio. Por que no venimos aqui a espresar odio. [Those with a cell phone, listen. Please spread the word: that hate does not continue to run. Because we don’t come here to express hatred.]” Gonzales continues ” Por el contrario, venimos a espresarnos de una manera en la que queremos que esta cuidad y todas las cuidades nos aceptan como ser humanos con dignidad, con respeto, con unida. [On the contrary, we come to express ourselves in a way in which we want this city and all cities to accept us as human beings with dignity, with respect, with unity.]”(MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Attendees were encouraged to bring poster signs to also show their support for street vendors as they often face discrimination and hate. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

An attendee from the audience volunteers to speak during the event. One of the signs he placed earlier for Benitez had been vandalized. He says, “I got angry. I got angry that there are sick, disgusting people out there in the world that hate people cause they’re from a different area or have different color of their skin. And I’m glad that all of us are here and there’s an outpouring on social media right now for Marlen and for their family. It’s very important to show the sick people in the world that there’s good people out here who care and who won’t take this . . . from anybody. We’re here. We’re here to love our people. They’re good people. They’re just out here to work. God bless you everybody, thank you. Glad you’re here.” (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

A woman unrelated to Benitez gathers with the family, giving them her condolences and shares that her son had been killed. She says, “Y a veces nos discriminan porque simplemente hablamos español [And sometimes they discriminate against us because we simply speak Spanish].” (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

A sign is shown at the vigil featuring the Virgin Mary and in orange letters, “Familia Benitez” in respects to Marlen Benitez and her family.

A man rallies up the crowd toward the end of the vigil and starts a chant for the audience to repeat. During his speech, he says, “Aqui estamos, y no nos vamos. Y si nos hechan, nos regresamos. [We are here, and we’re not leaving. If they throw us out, we’ll return].” (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Following the conclusion of speeches, an attendee puts a battery-operated tealight candle on Benitez’s vigil. The event finished approximately at 6:30 p.m. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Viewers judge first presidential debate as chaotic

By ISAAC MEJIA

The nation witnessed the first presidential debate between Democratic Candidate Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump on Sept. 29, 2020.  The debate, moderated by Chris Wallace, a Fox News anchor and journalist, began at 6 p.m. Western Time and ended approximately at 7:30 p.m..  

Before the debate transpired, both parties previously agreed that each candidate was allowed a two minute uninterrupted response time, but this agreement was quickly disregarded.  Despite Wallace’s efforts to keep the debate equitable and professional, both President Trump and Biden did not adhere to the rules and persistently interrupted each other during the opposing candidates response time.  These frequent interruptions disrupted the fluidity of the debate to the point where Biden asked President Trump to “shut up man.” In addition, both candidates repeatedly accused each other of lying to the American people which was followed by many headshakes, sarcastic smiles, and denials.  

Many students within the Redlands School District watched he debate, some of which are even eligible to vote in the upcoming election. This was the case for Jack Tetrault, a senior Redlands East Valley High School who states “the debate was chaotic and unprofessional”. 

Another student, Ashley Gonzalez, a sophomore at Citrus Valley High School, says “throughout the debate, both candidates were out of line, however the President seemed to have a sole purpose to attack the Democratic Candidate, Joe Biden”. 

Regardless of their constant disputes, several political, social, and economic topics prevalent in today’s society were discussed. Some of those topics and each candidate’s corresponding viewpoints will be briefly reviewed in this article.

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Image of both presidential candidates at the first Presidential Debate of 2020 , which took place in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 29. (Photo credit to Patrick Semansky /The Associated Press) 

Topic: Supreme Court

Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, an American circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, to replace Ginsberg.  In regards to President Trump’s decision Biden said,“It is just not appropriate to do this before the election.”  President Trump had a different opinion stating “We won the election and have the right to do it.” 

Topic: Covid-19

During the debate, President Trump’s management and strategy to prevent the spread of Coronavirus was challenged.  Biden claimed that President Trump “has no plan” and “panicked” when Covid-19 began to spread rapidly throughout the country. Biden further claimed that Trump is “totally irresponsible” in “the way he’s handled social distancing.” Trump countered Biden stating that Covid-19 was “China’s fault,” and Biden is incapable of doing his job, because he does not “have it in [his] blood.” 

Topic: Economy

In regards to the United States economy, President Trump declared that it was the “greatest economy in history” until the Coronavirus hit. Trump asserted that in order to rebuild and progress the economy, “you have to open the states up.” Biden contradicted the President’s assertion stating that only “millionaires and billionaires” are flourishing in the economy since the pandemic, and President Trump has “no intention of making it better.”  In response to Biden, President Trump said that if Biden enters political office in 2020, he “will close down the whole country.”  Biden further expressed that “we need to take care of the needs of the American people.”

Topic: Race

When the debate shifted to the topic of race, Biden claimed that President Trump “does virtually nothing” for the African American community and accused him of being a “racist.” Additionally, Biden professed that President Trump tries to “generate racist division.” Trump retaliated saying Biden has called the same community of people “super predators,” and the “radical left” has Biden “wrapped around their finger.” He stated that Biden has treated the African American community “about as bad as anyone in this country.”

New ways to volunteer in the community during COVID-19

By MIRIAM YORDANOS

With laws in effect urging people to maintain social distance in order to prevent high amounts of coronavirus cases, many organizations have temporarily discontinued their volunteer programs or no longer accept new volunteers. 

Volunteering has many benefits for students and the community. It helps individuals learn to problem solve, develop social skills, meet new people, and gain experience for a future career. According to the Help Guide, students partaking in the community “can also help protect [their] mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, combat depression, keep [them] mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.”

Shannon Cockerill, a junior at Redlands East Valley, does over 100 hours of community service each year. 

Cockerill stated, “Sometimes, when you feel lost, helping someone else find their path leads you to your own.” 

 Below are 5 ways you can gain community service hours safely during this pandemic.

  1. Check in with seniors citizens

With the coronavirus outbreak, older adults and people who have pre-existing medical conditions are at higher risk of suffering from COVID-19. Many seniors have been  isolated in order to protect themselves from the virus.  Being isolated from members of the community and their loved ones can lead to loneliness and cause depression, anxiety and more. 

Contact local senior centers, nursing homes and retirement communities in the area to offer help by talking to senior members. 

  1. Tutor Students

Due to the new laws in place pertaining to COVID-19,  the district shifted from a traditional education experience to distance learning. Distance learning consists of 100% online learning for students and staff through the use of virtual class meetings and assignments. 

This new method of learning has led some students to struggle understanding new concepts. Riley Anthony, a senior at Redlands East Valley, provides a solution to this problem by creating the Distance Learning Exchange as a forum for students and parents to ask for free tutoring and students and parents to offer free tutoring. 

Anthony stated,  “I created this group to help student who need help but also create opportunities for community service that other students might need,”

Individuals interested in helping students with their academic needs, join the facebook group called Redlands/Mentone Distance Learning Exchange (DLE) for more information.

  1. Make care packages for homeless shelters

Due to how rapidly the virus is spreading, homeless individuals are very vulnerable to receiving the illness.  Along with the virus outbreak, many families have been affected by the wildfires spreading in California. Many are in shelters, as they have been forced to evacuate their homes. This creates a need for care packages for members residing in local homeless shelters. Some items to include in the care package are hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, cleansing wipes, cold weather clothing, blankets and non-perishable snacks & bottled water.

  1. Create and donate homemade masks 

With state orders encouraging the use of masks for everyone and requiring them to be worn in public places, masks are essential to community members. Homemade masks can be easily made with any type of sewing material and sewing machines. Check out Deaconess to find many different organizations  in need of mask donations near you. 

  1. Donate goods you produced

Many students have found themselves starting small businesses as quarantine has left them more time to pursue entrepreneurship. If students donate the items they have created in their spare time, the hours spent producing the goods created can count toward volunteer hours.

Also, check out resources, such as VolunteerMatch, that notify individuals of upcoming volunteer opportunities near their location for more and new ways to give back to the community.

An infographic describing different ways for students to get involved with the community during a pandemic. (Miriam Yordanos / ETHIC NEWS)