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April 23, 2021

Scotts Valley High seniors return to campus March 23

The Scotts Valley Unified School District plans to bring back all primary and secondary grade levels by the end of March, according to Scotts Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) Superintendent Tanya Krause.

That would make it the first school district in the county to do so, Krause says 

Scotts Valley Middle School Principal Joe Allen on Mar. 17, from 5-6pm, will host a town hall to answer parents’ questions and review campus schedules. Likewise, on Mar. 18, from 6-7pm, a Scotts Valley High School town hall will be hosted by Principal Michael Hanson.

This shift to hybrid learning is made possible by the county’s move into the red tier.  

“We had multiple schedules for when we would drop into the red tier,” Krause said.

Krause said that 80 percent of SVHS families told Hanson that they would like their students to return for weekly hybrid instruction. Still, Krause has noted some discontent with the hybridization schedule.

“Parents have expressed concerns about the current hybrid schedules and want us to review them,” she said. “We will, but we need to start first. We have yet to implement the hybrid schedule. We need to experience it and then determine how we might make changes for improvement.”

Although senior high school students are officially invited back on campus beginning Mar. 23 for direct instruction, the district has slowly brought small groups back on campus for peer interaction and schoolwork help previously. On Feb. 23, small groups of students returned to SVHS for in-person emotional support. On Mar. 9, small sixth-grade cohorts were invited back to the middle school campus.

Krause partially credits the students’ ability to return to the county’s vaccination efforts.

“Everybody has had access to the vaccine, including coaches, yard duty, classroom volunteers,” she said. “All people that engage with students have been offered the vaccine.”

The SVUSD intentionally invited upperclassmen back onto campus first, Krause said.

“We’ll have the seniors back first and train them to be ambassadors, to on board other students as they come back on campus the week of the Mar. 29,” she said. “We have very prescribed processes for ingress and egress, staggering student groups, temperature checks… When the bell rings, where students go and not go, certain designated areas on campus, our seniors will help other students adjust to this new protocol.”

She added: “Seniors will get a sense of the seriousness of the situation, if we want to keep open. In order to do that, we need to abide by the rules. The student government and senior class feel very honored to be elevated to this status. We will do everything in our power to make the rest of this year for the seniors as celebratory and significant as we possibly can. Any way we can make them leaders on campus, we will.”

Though Krause said she was optimistic that the county would continue to move through the state’s color-coded Covid-19 reopening plan to the less-restrictive orange tier, she said that personal choices during spring break would be “key.”

“If folks travel and don’t adhere to the travel advisory, I greatly fear we will move backwards to purple,” she said. “We’ll still be able to remain open, but it will impact the large gathering events we are hoping to be able to provide and plan for our seniors…If we go back into purple, we won’t be able to hold graduation in the way we like.”

Ultimately, she said that she is pleased with the district’s plans.

“It’s been a lot of work and cooperation,” she said. “I want to express my deep appreciation for the staff, teachers, office staff, who have worked so hard to make this happen and all of the parents who have been really patient. Everyone’s hard work is paying off.”

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