Mario Villalobos


Ivana Saric, Axios:

The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education approved a measure Thursday mandating eligible students in the nation’s second-biggest school district to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It’s the first major school district to require vaccines for students — a move that may set a precedent for school districts across the country to follow.


What they’re saying: “The science is clear – vaccinations are an essential part of protection against COVID-19,” Interim Superintendent Megan Reilly said in the press release. “The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and requiring eligible students to be vaccinated is the strongest way to protect our school community.” 

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write about the coronavirus since Axios stopped tracking active cases back in June, but that is not to be. We’re three weeks into our current school year and already we’ve had multiple cases of COVID-19 spreading throughout our student body and faculty. Because I live in a Republican-controlled state, all the important choices are being left up to the parents to make. We don’t have any mask mandates, we don’t have any quarantine mandates, we don’t have anything we can do to make our school safe. Masks are optional; quarantines for close-contacts are optional; vaccinations are optional.

In my experience, when we leave choices up to the masses, the masses will choose to protect themselves first. We are selfish. We care more about our rights than yours. This is America in the 21st century and it’s goddamn heartbreaking. In our school, because our leaders aren’t leading, our parents are having to make choices they don’t want to make. They want their children to be safe, but they also don’t want them to be bullied because they’re wearing masks when others aren’t or because they chose to stay home during the football game instead of going out there to play with their team. People would rather play a game and risk infecting so many others than doing the right thing and cancelling these events for the sake of the community.

I’m so glad President Biden has mandated COVID vaccines for all federal workers, and that the Los Angeles school district has done the same for their students. The country needs to follow their leads and control this godforsaken virus.

Cleaning Things Up

Over the past week or so, I’ve been redesiging my school’s website from scratch. I’m using Hugo to build it because that’s what I’m most comfortable with (as dense as it can be sometimes), and even though I’m weeks and weeks away from finishing it, I’ve been enjoying the shit out of the whole experience.

I love design. I love building things. I love trying to solve problems and trying to design something that will be critically important for so many people (parents, students, and staff). The whole experience has been incredibly fun, and it inspired me to make some changes to my personal site. So I cleaned some things up:

I want to redesign the whole thing after I’m done with my school’s website, and I want to clean up the content folder in my Hugo project, as well as the code in my layout folder. I haven’t blogged as much as I’ve wanted to because of how I split my posts into two sections (journal and stream). Sometimes I would want to write a journal-type post but I didn’t have a photo to attach to it, and I didn’t feel like it should go in my stream. I don’t think that split works for me anymore, so I want to merge that and not think about it anymore.

I’m also thinking of removing my Typekit fonts and instead going with something more simple. I’ve been using Public Sans on my school redesign, and I’ve been really enjoying the look and feel of it. I don’t know what font or fonts I would use instead, but I find the search for them super exciting.

Finally, I bought Nova yesterday, and holy shit it’s amazing. What a beautiful and well-made app. I had been using BBEdit for the longest time but Nova is definitely my preferred code editor for now. It makes coding so much fun. And coding is so much fun.

The First Day of School Is Over

And I’m exhausted.

Last spring, the school board voted to approve a 4-day school week from the usual 5-day week, and that meant adding an extra 50 minutes or so to each day, and boy did I feel those extra minutes today. My feet are throbbing, and the bags under my eyes feel that much heavier.

But one thing I didn’t realize (but that is super obvious in hindsight) is that I got to spend even more time with the kids, and I think that’s totally worth the longer days. I’m eager to return tomorrow, and I’m ready to do what I can to make this next year a great one.

Also, about two weeks ago, the exchange student from Germany flew into Missoula and met her host family, and today was her first day of school, too. I wrote about this back in April, and let me just say, she is simply awesome. Funny story: she had a nightmare the other night where she was at school but she kept entering the wrong classrooms. She somehow ended up in the elementary school and was with the little kids, and she was just worried that she would get lost on her first day because our little school is bigger than her school in Germany. But after today, it looked like her worries were just that, worries. I haven’t talked to her about her first day yet, but I’m hoping it was okay.

Sometimes my job can be stressful, and I’ve thought about quitting a few times in the past year, but it is moments like these that remind me how cool my job can be. Here’s to a great year for everyone!

School’s Out!

Actually, the last day of school was yesterday, but life has been literally everywhere the past few weeks that I finally found some time to write about it today. I’ll miss the students, especially the newly graduated seniors that I’ve seen grow up for the past seven years, and I’ll miss the little kids, many of whom I can’t wait to see grow up. The last week of school for the teachers is next week, so I still have some time left with them1. Then I have the entire summer to work on some projects, to reevaluate my life, and see where I want to be come fall. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like the coronavirus will impact us much next year2, so it seems like things are starting to feel normal again.

In hindsight, this was probably one of the better years for me in terms of my job and my relationship with the staff and students. I had more highs than lows, and I can only hope for more good things next year. But now I’m looking forward to this three-day weekend, the shorter week next week, and the entire summer to enjoy. The 2020-2021 school year is officially in the books! Phew.

  1. Fortunately for some, unfortunately for others, but isn’t that how it goes in whatever job you have? ↩︎

  2. Knock on wood… ↩︎

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