Phased school openings could begin as early as Oct. 28

Phased school openings could begin as early as Oct. 28SIERRA SANDS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — Kern County officially transitioned out of California’s most-restrictive Purple Tier today and was placed into the less-restrictive Red Tier under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy (see related story: http://www.news-ridgecrest.com/news/story.pl?id=0000011902). After a mandatory two-week waiting period, school districts may choose to identify ways of physically reopening as early as Wednesday, October 28.

We are carefully considering the safety of students and staff and will announce more details about a multi-phased plan that addresses our needs in the coming days.

Schools that reopen for in-person instruction must adhere to California Department of Public Health guidelines. Because there will be a need for physical distancing, most classrooms will be occupied by only a fraction of their normal capacity. Schools may comply with CDPH guidelines by adopting a hybrid learning model, which utilizes stable cohorts of students that are present on campus part of the week and continue distance learning on the days when they are not on campus. Distance Learning accommodations will be made for families who are not comfortable sending their students back to the physical campus.

Additionally, per state guidelines, all adults and 3rd-12th grade students will be required to wear face coverings while on campus. Furthermore, robust safety and COVID-19 mitigation plans must be in place. Plans must address aspects like enhanced cleaning/disinfection, stable cohorts, physical distancing, health screening, personal protective equipment, transportation, healthy hygiene practices, contact tracing, COVID-19 testing for staff, and more.

We really look forward to reconnecting with our students and staff on campus. It has been a journey, filled with hard work by teachers, staff, and you, to get to the point where we are in Distance Learning. It will be an incremental journey back to learning on campus. We will do the best we can to work through the complex process while keeping our main focus on what’s best, and safest, for students and staff as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Story First Published: 2020-10-16