The Current The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School Thu, 29 Oct 2020 18:45:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 VBCPS announces upperclassmen return to school Thu, 29 Oct 2020 18:32:13 +0000 Upperclassmen return to school was confirmed for Nov. 12 after a VBCPS board meeting. 

Students with the last names A-K will return Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning Nov. 17, while those with the last names K-Z will arrive Thursdays and Fridays starting on Nov. 12.

“After meeting with the senior class officers yesterday, I am excited they will return to the building and hope that they will be able to experience the many highlights and special occasions that are associated with a senior year in high school. I also look forward to seeing the other students who will return on November 12th. It has been too long since they walked our hallowed halls! It has also been eerily quiet!” said Principal Claire LeBlanc.

COVID-19 restrictions mandated the amount of students that can return.

Social distancing rules, masks, and hybrid-classes may complicate communication and impede classroom efficiency, but they have become necessary during the pandemic. 

“We all want our favorite events back, but returning too early would cause an increase of COVID-19 cases and set us back even further. It would be very difficult to maintain safe social distancing, and who knows how cooperative everyone will be about wearing masks,” said sophomore Sonia Kekeh.

Many individuals are torn between remote learning versus face-to-face learning.

“I’m very 50-50 on this decision, but based on current circumstances, I support allowing upperclassmen to return to the building,” said sophomore Jumana Zara. “Based on each respective student’s standing in terms of health and ability to learn, it’s solely their decision to figure out what is the best choice for them and if they’re willing to take the risk.”

Students and staff prepare for the upperclassmen to arrive; groups, such as SCA and Class of 2021, prepared this week to welcome students back with posters and building preparations.

“We wanted the senior class to have a chance to get together, and what better way than creating welcome back signs for the upperclassmen,” said 2021 class sponsor Kristi Bayer.

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Pharrell gives back to hometown Thu, 29 Oct 2020 18:16:12 +0000 Musical sensation Pharrell Williams recently donated Something in the Water masks to his hometown of Virginia Beach.

“First, Pharrell supplied Sentara Healthcare with 8,000 face masks. In his second round of PPE donations, he gave 2,000 masks to the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office,” said Principal Claire LeBlanc.

In light of VBCPS phasing students back into school buildings, more masks were donated.

“OLHS received 1,000 masks this week,” said LeBlanc.

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Quarantine Halloween Thu, 29 Oct 2020 16:44:50 +0000
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SCA and Class election winners announced Wed, 28 Oct 2020 22:44:15 +0000 SCA and class election winners for the 2020-21 school year were announced on Oct. 13. 

COVID-19 delayed the elections, which typically take place at the end of the school year. The student body elected Reese Thornton and Alan Ledezma as president and vice president, respectively; Kaitlyn Hertz won the secretary office and Basma Bedawi won treasurer.

Regardless of COVID-19 restrictions, leaders seek to make this unconventional year the best that it can be. Restrictions have left students unsure whether events, such as Ring dance, Prom, Graduation, and more, will take place. 

“We are planning fun events that we can hold while still being safe, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone,” said 2021 class president Michelle Pham. “I’ve contacted multiple places [for prom], and we are still deciding on which one to pick!”

While the officers face an unprecedented calendar to plan events, fundraisers, and lead assemblies, SCA hopes to work around restrictions and keep students active. 

“We’ve been meeting weekly for most of the summer and through the school year over Zoom to talk about the actions that we need to take in the current situation,” said president Reese. “Recently we just chose a hard-working group of students for our 2020-2021 executive board to help COVID-friendly events happen this school year.”

Student government hopes to provide structure for both old and new traditions.

“Students can expect for us to try lots of new mediums for events as well as the creation of possible new events. Our goal is to see how we can incorporate student involvement while at home, and make sure students feel that they are still a part of the Dolphin Family,” said Reese.

2020-2021 Student Council election winners
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Online learning remains safer option in COVID-19 climate Fri, 23 Oct 2020 00:09:51 +0000 No one wants to imagine their child, friend, parent, or sibling dying or getting seriously sick, but that may be the reality some have to face if schools send students back too early. Over 999,000 people in the world have died from the COVID-19 pandemic according to the CDC and completely reopening schools before this disease no longer remains a threat to safety would contribute to an increase in cases and deaths.

The waiting game for the coronavirus to disappear still has not ended, so while some sense of normalcy returns, crowded and populated areas, such as schools, must remain online. With some high schools enrolling up to 8,000 kids, sending students back remains completely unrealistic.

According to the CDC, the coronavirus spreads from person-to-person through the air between people in close contact. That perfectly describes a school environment. It can be prevented through wearing face coverings, social distancing, and sanitization. However, it would be extremely difficult for administrators and teachers to police thousands of students in staying away from each other and keeping their masks up. Teachers did not sign up for this and they should not have to be responsible for stopping a disease from spreading amongst their kids while also ensuring their own safety in a crowded environment. 

Many high schools and universities such as James Madison University and the University of North Carolina have attempted to send students back in-person which almost immediately resulted in a sharp increase in cases and a shutdown of the school.

According to the New York Times, a high school district in Georgia quarantined nearly 1,200 staff members and students after just the first week of face-to-face learning.

Even if masks and social distancing could be perfectly enforced in school, there is no way to control what students do outside of school. They could catch it elsewhere and cause a rapid spread throughout the school population. There are just too many factors to risk sending students back face-to-face at the moment.

While school aged students are less likely to catch it than other groups and may have less health risks, they can still get very sick or give it to someone else who could die. Many people catch COVID-19 and have no symptoms so they take less precautions and end up spreading it to others.

While online learning tends to get frustrating with connection issues and patchy communication, it is the safer option until the pandemic is under control.

In a perfect world, schools could completely reopen and all students could return to face-to-face learning, but the past seven months have been far from ideal; schools should remain online for now because it is much better to be safe than to be sorry.

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Parents concerned about social needs during virtual learning Fri, 23 Oct 2020 00:09:12 +0000 Many parents of students in Virginia are worried about the lack of social interaction their kids receive due to online school. There are many students and teachers who love this new norm, as some would call it, but others borderline hate this way of teaching.

Ocean Lakes has been significantly impacted. The whole school has a new 4×4 schedule, meaning that students only have four classes a semester and the other four the next, instead of the A/B school days.

“I’m not a fan of this at all, I need the social interaction,” said sophomore George Tueful.

Most people need at least some type of social interaction and kids rely on school for this.

“As a parent, I understand why things are the way they are,” said parent, Jessica Millirons. “Kids are missing out on important social interactions that are eventually going to affect their way of learning”

While students, teachers, and parents long for that social interaction, the seriousness of COVID-19 and the online learning situation is understood.

“I like that the kids are learning from home due to the coronavirus, the people in my household are very vulnerable to this sickness,” said Debbie Green, the guardian of a student at Corporate Landing Middle School.

The pandemic continues to cause arguments between the two sides, but once a vaccine develops or cases drop significantly, schools are planning to reopen.

“I personally like how we are on a daily schedule for school, it is the closest we could get to an actual school day,” said George.

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Death of a civil rights Titan, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sat, 17 Oct 2020 16:08:28 +0000 Upon the recent death of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at the age of 87 on Sept. 18, 2020, Americans remember and pay tribute to her many contributions to the country and to the world. 

She graduated first in her class at Harvard Law School and later went on to teach at Columbia Law School. Despite these achievements, she still experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, finding it hard to be taken seriously or even obtain a job. Many considered her an inspiration to women and minorities, in a world dominated by white men.

RBG met and overcame every obstacle thrown at her.

She was “one of the most important justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court. Her 27 years on the court exceeded even my highest expectations when I appointed her. Her powerful dissents, especially her ringing defense of voting rights and other equal protection claims, reminded us that we walk away from our Constitution’s promise at our peril. And she did it all with kindness, grace, and calm, treating even her strongest adversaries with respect,” said former president Bill Clinton.

According to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, much of her inspiration from her mom.

“My mother told me to be a lady, and for her, that meant be your own person, be independent,” said Ginsburg.

Concerns about who will replace her seat on the Supreme Court of Justices have risen, including whether or not President Donald Trump should be allowed to choose her replacement with her death coming so close to the election.

“Ruth Bader Ginsberg was one of the most honorable, smart ladies of the feminist community, as well as one of the most influential and inspiring members of the Supreme Court. I don’t know who will be her replacement, but I hope they are just as worthy and help in the fight for equality as she did,” said sophomore Madison Mellon.


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COVID-19 interferes with preseason conditioning for winter athletes Mon, 12 Oct 2020 15:58:15 +0000 Winter athletes are excited to start preseason conditioning with their teams to get ready for their winter seasons; however, it will not look like last year.

Along with the other winter sports, girls basketball and wrestling have started back at the gym. 

According to sophomore Nate Bushey, “COVID has really changed the conditioning game, especially for wrestling.”

Wrestling is a close up sport, but now because of the regulations due to the virus, all wrestlers must be 10 feet apart, wearing masks, and cannot go inside the building. 

“I do love this sport and am excited to condition with the team, but wrestling practice without actual wrestling doesn’t feel right,” said Nate. 

“It has been very hard not having the boys on a regular basis. We have a well-rounded team, and the wrestlers always seem to work hard together,” said wrestling coach Chris Barnhart. 

The girls basketball team has had to adjust to the new normal. They are no longer allowed on the basketball courts and have to do their workouts on the track. The team has to split up into two groups and maintain social distancing. 

“It would be easier if we did not have to follow so many rules,” said sophomore Bella Curtin. 

Now that students are allowed to meet at the school in groups under 10, if maintaining social distance and wearing masks, what will this mean for athletes?

“We plan on being in the weight room and mat room as soon as we get approval. Hopefully by next month,” said Barnhart.

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Her body, her choice Mon, 12 Oct 2020 03:51:22 +0000 Men cannot dictate the reproductive rights of women; it is not their body to begin with. However, President Trump’s male-dominant administration attempts to terminate organizations that provide abortions with the removal of funding provided by government health programs. Well-renowned Planned Parenthood provides not only abortions but also services for low-income areas: sexual and reproductive treatments, primary care, and education. The ban effectively hurts the working class and countless women who receive accessible contraceptives and services. Many, if not most women utilize Planned Parenthood for birth control, cervical cancer treatment, and regular checkups yet are still berated by anti-abortion protesters who camp outside clinics.

The Pro-life movement, the spiteful rebuttal towards Pro-choice, primarily follows Christian and conservative ideologies. Morality weighs heavy because their belief entails that life begins at conception; essentially, abortion would be the epitome of murder as it kills an organism, the fetus, before it lived. While not yet a developed human, pro-lifers insist women not discard embryos so easily.

In secular arguments, people declare pregnancy conditions influence abortion decisions. Primarily, conception circumstances, like incest or rape, and deterrents like health deficiencies or low income.

Even with the removal of lawful abortions, nothing will change: women will resort to illegal methods. According to Olga Khazan from The Atlantic, 45 percent of worldwide abortions are still performed in unsafe circumstances, so laws restrict desperate women and put them in danger with unlicensed doctors and perilous methods. Obviously, countries that outlaw abortions risk dangerous alternatives in places like Brazil, El Salvador, and the U.S. before the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions nationwide. Curtailment by the hands of men resulted in countless deaths of young and minority women unable to receive treatment. History tends to repeat itself, so women need to stop its cycle. Attend protests, write to local government holders, and sign official government petitions, as opposed to the ones on Those actions speak against the oppression of reproductive rights.

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Freshmen first to take on face-to-face instruction Wed, 07 Oct 2020 16:00:14 +0000 This year’s freshmen return to the classroom on Oct. 8 after a seven-month absence due to COVID-19 safety requirements. 

Class of 2024 returns first face-to-face, in hopes to smoothly shift to their first year of high school. This allows them time to meet the faculty, learn the schedule, and acclimate to the building.

“Freshmen need more time to transition [from middle school to high school] and learn the building, building protocols, expectations, high school schedule, high school pacing,” said Principal Claire LeBlanc. “We also feel we need time to get to know our freshmen.”

The school setting will appear different due to proper safety measures being taken, and 305 students entered the building. Fifty-seven teachers also returned to the building to accommodate the freshmen.

“Student desks will be spaced three feet apart, students must wear masks, hallways will be one-way,” said Assistant Principal Leah Nelson.

Teachers believe the first days back operated fluidly, and both students and staff easily grappled the transition.

“The students handled the days gracefully,” said ninth grade English teacher Ashley Adams. “They didn’t complain, and I believe they enjoyed their first few days in the building.”

After weeks of preparation, administration and the freshmen considered the first week a success.

“The first day of school was great in my opinion. The teachers were very clear to us to stay six feet apart. I know that this is not how some of us want to go to school, but this may be the way we have to right now. Keeping the mask on the whole day was the biggest struggle for me. I would suggest for the teachers to designate certain times in the class in which we can take our masks off. Other than that one suggestion, the first day of school was amazing, and I love the school and teachers,” said freshman Ethan Moran.

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