With Los Angeles County nearing the substantial tier, where middle and high schools may reopen, the district is devising reopening plans for this spring. To ensure a safe return, the district implemented new protocols and is seeking community input as it considers its next steps.
Because the threshold for elementary schools to open has been met, a parent survey was issued to gather information about reopening concerns, collecting over 12,000 responses. While the preliminary data depicts a preference for online instruction, 31% of the respondents favored in-person instruction.
“As we move closer to our schools reopening, one of our priorities is maintaining instructional stability for students,” Superintendent Denise Jaramillo said. “We know there may be some questions that cannot be answered through a simple survey or email inquiry. We encourage you to join us at one of our Community Conversation sessions, where we can have a two-way dialogue in a small group setting.”
Following the lifting of the Stay Home Orders, the district resumed in-person special education assessments and non-instructional drive-through activities. Some high needs students are allowed on school campuses for specialized in-person services, including occupational therapy and academic instruction. Beginning last Monday, staff members were also eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“[When] we reopen, I am most looking forward to connecting with my students and colleagues,” Career Technical Education teacher Jose Zaragoza said. “Specific things like feeling the energy of the classroom and even long-distance fist bumps with whomever is walking down the hallways.”
Throughout the school year, the district installed preventative measures such as signage, plexiglass partitions, air filters, and improved ventilation systems. Rooms were reconfigured, and sanitizing supplies have been distributed. New cleaning procedures were adopted as log sheets are being posted in rooms that will be initialled upon completion of sanitizing.
“Although there are systems in place designed to keep students and staff as safe as possible, I am still concerned as other schools across the country have reopened only to close again,” junior Lina Tieu said. “Everyone needs to help continue slowing down the infection rate of COVID-19 by diligently following all social distancing guidelines.”
While distance learning will remain as the core instructional program until spring break, the district will continue physical preparations to schools and maintain communication with the community. Once the reopening plan is officialized, it will be submitted to the California Department of Education and county for evaluation.