From the desk of Tustin High Principal, Dr. Tuin

March 11th, 2022

The pandemic impact has not been evenly distributed. Everyone’s situation is different, depending on so many variables. But regardless of the extensiveness of the impact, we have all been impacted. It was precisely two years ago we left for Spring break not knowing the future. We didn’t know we would not come back to school at all for the rest of the year. We didn’t know the whole next year would be online again for most of the year. We didn’t even know we would still be wearing masks two years later. There was so much we didn’t know, but we hung in there together to make it work.

Here we are two years later, and the mask mandate will lift upon our return to school. Starting tomorrow, masks are optional with students in the room. That means that some will continue to wear their masks, and some will not. The best part is that it is an option. It will be tempting for some to be critical of others who make a different choice with mask wearing. Our school is a diverse community that is generally very accepting of other peoples’ choices. It will be important moving forward that we carry over that approach to mask wearing. No judgement. There are valid reasons for both choices.

Speaking of unequal COVID impact, the pandemic was particularly challenging for those students involved in the performing arts. The restrictions often felt more stringent for these students than it did for some other venues. Singing with a mask on just has a much different impact than say trying write a paragraph. Ms. Snider did her best with her students to keep them engaged by trying to create a purpose for their work. They did some creative projects over the pandemic, and it was extremely special to watch her group perform last night.

The Tustin Choir has developed into quite an eclectic gathering of students. Each one has a story and watching them work together last night to put on what was a truly entertaining performance was impressive. The passion for music flowed from their faces, even from behind the masks. I sat and listened with wonder and amazement to see this particular group of students showing the fruits of their hard work in recent months. Students came to life on stage, in some cases like I had never seen before. It was a great reminder of the diversity of our students’ experiences the past couple of years. Last night was a sort of celebration of making it through the past two years, and looking forward to days ahead.

Reflecting further on the pandemic, I was reminded how we added two social workers to our team this year. Their work with our students has been vital to so many students in their journey to get back on track. While each brings different strengths, they both have contributed greatly to getting our students back on track and moving in a productive direction. Their work isn’t easy, but Eric Angelo and Hector Najera have made a difference. It is great to have them as Tillers. Go Tillers!

Go Tillers!

Dr. Jon Tuin

Tustin High School Principal