By the time you read this, your Scotts Valley schools will be educating our students on campus once more. Thanks to a significant effort from our teachers, principals, staff, Assistant Superintendent Michelle Stewart and Superintendent Tanya Krause, our district was the first in the county to bring all grades back to campuses for hybrid learning. This is quite an accomplishment and something to be very proud of considering the number of changes that were happening in the county and the state on the way to getting here.
As I mentioned in last month’s column, this hybrid program has been implemented following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and County Department of Public Health guidelines with improved air filtration, plexiglass barriers, properly distanced desks, PPE, wellness-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. As we are offering hybrid education to students and parents that have requested it, we continue to offer a full distance learning program for any student in the district that requests it.
We now turn to the more challenging task of returning to full-day in-person instruction. While we were implementing the hybrid education plan, the CDPH issued new guidelines on March 20 that reduce the distancing between student desks from six feet to three feet. While this should allow more students into a classroom, the rules still require six feet between the teacher and students, and six feet between all students and staff for all other activities. This raises a new set of challenges that our district is now working through—how to provide a safe campus experience, that includes lunch time, while maintaining six feet distancing outside the classroom with all students back on campus.
This is no small feat given our limited resources in terms of physical space, and staffing. By now a survey has gone out to district parents to gauge how many are comfortable sending their students back to school for full-time instruction with three feet distancing in the classroom. Especially at the high school and middle school, we may still not have enough classroom space to accommodate everyone who wants to return.
But our small but mighty district team will come up with the best, safest plan to return as many grades to full-day instruction as possible, once we have the survey results. What I ask for though is patience as we work through this plan. We will not rush this effort at the expense of safety, and the logistics to work through are not simple. Again, our teachers, principals, district staff and leadership all deserve recognition for their hard work to get us this far—please give them the time they need, and a much-deserved spring break, to come up with a plan for what’s next.
I also want to ask everyone to not let their guard down as we begin spring break. Please continue to follow all the Covid-19 guidance to keep our county infection rate low, so we can all enjoy fewer restrictions and keep everyone safe. We are almost there folks… let’s not let a resurgence spoil our progress.
For the latest information about what is happening with your Scotts Valley schools, check out 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.