Jessica Cejnar / Monday, July 20 @ 4:07 p.m.
DNUSD Asks Parents For Input On Student Scheduling, Buses; Fall Sports Postponed Until December
Local education officials are reaching out to parents as they determine how to hold in-person classes safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Del Norte Unified School District staff want parents to submit their preferences for what days their child is in the classroom in a Phase 3 blended learning model. A form should be available at the district's website.
They’re also being asked to fill out a registration form if their children need to take the bus to school, according to DNUSD Superintendent Jeff Harris.
In a weekly video update Monday, Harris noted that though the Board of Trustees decided on a Phase 3 blended learning model that has students in school two full days a week and distance learning the remaining three days of the week, they still have yet to decide how the first day of school — Aug. 24 — will work.
Even if students are able to see their teachers and cohorts of their peers face to face, school sports won’t begin until Dec. 14, said Harris, citing a letter he received Monday from the California Interscholastic Federation.
“We’ll have two sports seasons,” Harris said. “A fall and early spring sport season, and then a spring sport season with shorter time periods.”
In addition to figuring out a plan for the first day of school, DNUSD staff have been convening 18 separate working groups to also determine what learning will look like in each phase of four-stage California’s Roadmap to Resilience.
According to Harris, this “continuum of learning” ranges from full distance learning at Phase 1 to a full return to the classroom at Phase 4. Phase 2 would include distance learning for all students with in-person support for those with high needs, while Phase 3 is the blended learning model trustees decided on last week.
When stating their preference for which days of the week they want each of their children to attend school, parents will also be asked to include a list of special programs their student takes part in, Harris said. This includes special education, English language development, programs for foster and homeless youth as well as American Indian education programs.
“One of our primary goals is to make sure families are together and then we’ll be looking at other criteria as we fill out of the cohorts,” Harris said. “We’re trying to keep cohorts of students together and we’re trying to keep them separated from other cohorts so if we do have an outbreak of COVID in our community or in a school or in a classroom, it’s contained and students have a much better chance at not coming in contact with the virus.”
On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that schools in counties on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list will only be able to offer distance learning to their students.
That doesn’t apply to Del Norte County now, but if it is on the state monitoring program for more than three days around the time school is set to reopen, students will start their lessons at home, Public Health Officer Dr. Warren Rehwaldt told the community in a letter Monday.
Of the four new COVID-19 cases reported in Del Norte County on Saturday, three of them are related to a private gathering. According to Rehwaldt, this was a small outdoor event in a private setting.
“It does not take much to get on the ‘monitoring list,’” Rehwaldt wrote. “If we get enough cases in any two week period and-or a low enough ICU capacity to treat potential cases, we could be ‘flagged.’ That would be it. Not only schools would go into home-learning only mode, but a number of additional businesses would need to be modified and some would close. I think that it is clear that nobody in our community wants to see those things happen.”
Rehwaldt urged Del Norters that if they plan a gathering to keep it small — 10 people or less —keep it only family and-or the closest of friends. People should still maintain social distance, use good hand hygiene and wear masks, he said.