La Mesa Junior High School was the latest location to offer a drive-thru registration Monday, a new fall rite of passage for incoming students in the virtual classroom.
School staff members were scanning paperwork as families stayed in the car to help keep things as safe as possible, according to La Mesa Principal Michele Krantz.
“Our goal today is to get people through as quickly as possible — the main objective is to ensure that they’ve done all of their online pieces,” Krantz said, referring to important information the school collects each year for safety, in terms of emergency contacts, etc.
“We’ve made every single one of their forms be an online form for (parents’) convenience, but as with anything, we just need to make sure that they’re in because those are important things,” Krantz said.
Photos would come at a later time, Krantz said, noting the idea for Monday’s drive-thru registration was to try to maximize efficiency, with safety the first and foremost concern.
The district staggered registration times to try to ease the kinds of long lines parents reported, but due to so much of it being new, there were inevitable frustrations and delays.
Oscar Sol, who just moved to the Santa Clarita Valley from the neighboring San Fernando Valley, said he understood the precautions being taken by school districts like the William S. Hart Union High School District.
“I don’t blame the school because of the pandemic and all the concern going on — we have to take (precautions) — there’s no way out,” Sol said, although he added it was a bit of a daunting welcome. After his car had idled for more than 90 minutes, he realized he would have to take another day off work and return Tuesday, or risk his car overheating in the registration line that wrapped around the block.
He advised parents who still have to undergo the wait for registration to show up early, regardless of the time given to a parent due to their child’s last name. He was still waiting in line as his daughter’s 10-11:30 a.m. window passed.
“The advice would be to show up early,” Sol said, “as early as you can.”
He also hoped that everyone would be a little more patient Tuesday, as he saw several drivers cut off parents who’d been waiting more than an hour in the drive-thru registration line when it came time to make the final turn to the street where the campus is located.
District officials expressed empathy for the concerns when reached for comment Monday, with governing board President Linda Storli mentioning district efforts to look at the possibility of the registration procedure being moved online.
“I got to tell you that this is so bizarre and so different — but we have been able to do, with the help of a lot of people, a lot of things,” Storli said, crediting the teachers and administration.
She also praised the district staff’s “unprecedented” efforts and accomplishments at being able to work around problems that had never even been thought of before on campus, while dealing with the challenges that everyone is facing in the pandemic.
The first day of virtual classes is Aug. 11.
The district posted a presentation on its website with information regarding the return.
[Open .pdf in new window]