How COVID-19 has affected Regional Professions Program internships

These internships, depending on the type of career, offer students the opportunity to observe people in employment fields that interest them. The Coastline ROP program has prioritized student and staff safety with reduced internship opportunities.

With mask requirements in place, many teachers are also requiring their students to wash or sanitize their hands when entering and leaving their classrooms. Similar to Fountain Valley High School guidelines, students are required to leave the classroom to eat to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, ROP has implemented a capacity for students to ensure social distancing while inside the classroom.

“I remember the first day when we had around 15 students, but the next day more than 5 students had dropped out,” Masa Abbas said.

The hardest hit career was in health sciences and medical technology. Many dental assistant and nursing classes, such as dental back office and certifying nurse assistant, place limits on the practice of their skills.

“Students used to be able to practice skills like vacuuming on each other and using certain instruments on each other, but because COVID is getting really bad, we weren’t able to do that this year, because it could be a safety hazard when it comes to a sterile practice environment,” said Rosa Burns, dental back office and front office teacher.

Students are also required to take breaks outside to prevent them from removing their masks nearby during class.

The hardest part for many students was the missed opportunity to complete a hospital internship, which students in the CNA class have experienced in the past.

“It’s quite sad that I can’t intern in hospitals for the CNA class like they did before COVID because I joined the class to get internship experience but due to the risk of COVID I don’t couldn’t,” said senior Tiffany Burch.

Yet students who attend the Dental Back Office course have been assigned to dental offices to do an internship and gain first-hand experience. From January 18, students in the Dental Back Office course will begin to complete internships and consult patients.

“I know safety is more important than anything, so I just hope everything can get back to normal and students can once again enjoy unique opportunities like ROP,” said Emroz Sandhu.

Michael A. Bynum