By Roger L. Snyder, Scotts Valley School Bell
At last we have good news to share with our community on the move to bring students, teachers and staff back together on campus at our Scotts Valley schools. Assuming that there are no last-minute regulation changes, starting March 3 our Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes will begin their hybrid education plan, where students will spend a portion of the week back in the classroom with their teachers. Every week thereafter, successive grades will start their hybrid learning program, up through fifth grade. As we begin offering hybrid education to students and parents that have requested it, we will continue to offer a full distance-learning program for any student in the district that requests it.
The Board of Trustees and Superintendent Tanya Krause want to thank Dignity Health, Dominican Hospital and our County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Faris Sabbah, for partnering with schools across the county, both public and private, to provide voluntary vaccinations to our teachers and staff. By the time you read this, nearly all members of Scotts Valley’s team will have received their first vaccinations.
As I mentioned in last month’s column, this hybrid program is being implemented following CDC, State and County Public Health guidelines with improved air filtration, plexiglass barriers, properly distanced desks, PPE, well-check screening and contact tracing processes to begin safely teaching at our schools again. The accompanying picture shows you how we’ve implemented these measures to deliver in-person education as safely as possible.
While we have a schedule for our elementary schools, we can’t begin hybrid instruction at Scotts Valley Middle School and Scotts Valley High until our county drops from the Purple “widespread” tier to the Red “substantial” tier. As I write this though, our county has made tremendous progress in bringing down its adjusted case rate from 39.3 per 100,000 on Jan. 24 to 12.2 on Feb. 21. This rate must drop below 7 for us to enter the Red. In the meantime, the District will be offering afternoon tutorial support and peer opportunities for middle and high school students in March, providing more in-person support for students.
I want to thank all of the parents that participated in our Feb. 9 school board meeting providing their civil feedback and asking good questions. Many of the stories we’ve heard of student struggles with distance learning are heartbreaking, and we all share in the distress they are experiencing. Unfortunately, we’ve also received emails from parents that have resorted to name-calling or worse in expressing their frustrations.
I want to remind everyone who the real enemy here is: Covid-19. Not the district staff, not the teachers, not your superintendent. All of these folks are working overtime to try and provide our students with the best education we can while also keeping everyone involved safe. We understand the emotional, psychological and spiritual toll this pandemic is having on students and parents. Three of your board trustees have students in the district—we know how hard this is.
We all want the same thing. I hope from the information above, you can see we are making progress. So, while we always want to hear feedback, I ask that everyone keep that feedback civil and constructive. We must remain positive as we beat this pandemic together.
For the latest information about what’s happening with your Scotts Valley schools, check out https://www.scottsvalleyusd.org/.
Roger L. Snyder is an SVUSD trustee. Contact Synder at [email protected]. His views are his own and not necessarily those of the Press Banner.