Weekly roundup: Celebrating Ivy League acceptance, temporary returns to distance learning and more

Applying to college this year as the pandemic continues has thrust a new set of challenges on high school students. But amid the disruption, we’re celebrating another Orange County high schooler who recently received news that he was accepted to Harvard University.

Los Amigos student Sebastian Lozano
Los Amigos student Sebastian Lozano proudly displays his acceptance letter from Harvard University.

Sebastian Lozano, a senior at Los Amigos High School and a first-generation college student, was thrilled when he received the news on Dec. 17 that he was accepted to the university he could only dream of attending.

According to a press release from the Garden Grove Unified School District, only 747 students were accepted to the Harvard Class of 2025 from a pool of more than 10,000 applicants. The district says that Lozano credits much of his academic success, outside of his parents’ continued support and guidance, to the teachers, staff and administrators he has worked with in GGUSD.

Lozano joins Santa Ana High School student Cielo Echegoyen, who recently learned she was accepted to the Ivy League university.

And here are some of the other stories we’ve been tracking this week:

  • Across California, school and university officials voiced their outrage at the violence that erupted in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building. EdSource provided a sample of responses from education leaders from around the state.
  • In related news, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sent a letter to President Trump on Thursday announcing her resignation. DeVos is the second member of Trump’s Cabinet to quit over the Capitol attack.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new $2 billion plan encouraging a return to in-person classroom instruction for elementary school students as early as mid-February, citing evidence that younger learners pose a lower risk of transmitting COVID-19.
  • EdSource released a “quick guide” to the governor’s Safe Schools for All plan featuring key questions and answers on how the plan is intended to operate.
  • Emerging data shows that COVID-19 does not seem to spread much within schools when proper safety protocols such as mask wearing, social distancing, proper ventilation and low community spread are in place, reports the Washington Post.