The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

School district weighs options for reopening

Combination of classroom, distance learning possible

 


The Wasco Union Elementary School District has yet to make a final decision regarding the 2020-2021 school year. However, the district has decided on several methods that will be used for teaching.

In a nine-page document, the district outlined the school board's plans for the academic year.

School will begin on Monday, August 10. The school year will be a combination of in-classroom teaching and distance learning in order to meet the needs of all students.

Priority for on-campus instruction may be given to students with the highest need, such as the lowest-performing students; students with disabilities; those at risk of child abuse and neglect; homeless students; foster children, and English learners.

In addition, on-campus instruction may be for subjects that are difficult to deliver through distance learning, such as science.

If the federal, state or local governments announce an updated guidance, that guidance will be followed by the district; however, the district may adopt resolutions to respond to orders or will provide further direction to parents and students during the pandemic.

The board is aware of the consequences the covid-19 pandemic has had on student learning and the importance of everyone’s safety, the economic crisis, the loss of school-based relationships and disruptions in education. The board also realizes the pandemic has affected all students but most importantly younger ones, students with disabilities, and other at-risk students.

Once school reopens, the staff will provide a caring and nurturing educational environment for all students, the district's statement said. The district may also provide instruction on social-emotional well-being to all students, including information on how to deal with stress and anxiety and the importance of emotional well-being.

The district will evaluate each student’s academic progress following last year’s campus closure.

∎ Specific needs of the students will be addressed once the transition is made from a closed campus and distance learning to on-campus instruction.

∎ Each student will be evaluated on whether they experienced a loss or regression of skills and/or lack of progress.

∎ If a student has regressed or has made a lack of progress, that will be identified and opportunities for recovery, including additional educational services and/or new or different support services will be offered.

For students with disabilities, the evaluation of academic progress will be used to determine if another individual educational plan needs to be created.

Students with covid-19 will be excluded from on-campus instruction until a medical provider says in writing that the student is no longer contagious.

In addition, students at high-risk for complications from covid-19 may continue receiving instruction off campus.

In order to maintain social distancing, the district will assess the capacity of school facilities, including classrooms, cafeterias, multi-purpose rooms, gyms, and outdoor areas and determine how the facility can best be used .

The district may:

∎ Space desks at least six feet apart and position them in a way that limits students facing each other.

∎ Stagger students in high areas of traffic such as lining up for class,

∎ Mark six-foot boundaries in classrooms, common areas, outdoor spaces and places where students gather,

∎ Use restroom sinks and stalls, which allow safe distancing between students. This may mean blocking off every other stall and marking six-foot boundaries,

∎ Limit the mixing of students between classrooms,

∎ Hold physical education and recess so that students can continue safe social distancing,

∎ Check out the capacity of school busses and develop a bus route that allows for safe distancing on the bus

∎ Encourage students to walk, ride a bicycle or travel to school in a home vehicle.

∎ Large gatherings such as assemblies, rallies, field trips, extracurricular activities and athletic events will be suspended until the board determines, with the guidance from state and local health officials, that it is safe to resume the activities.

Face coverings shall not be required, although recommended, for children below third grade. Accommodations will be made for anyone who is unable to wear a face covering.

The superintendent will provide updated information to all students regarding the free and reduced-price meal program, eligibility and how to apply for the program.

The WUESD school board will be meeting again this week.

 

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