A record number of virtual attendees logged in via Zoom for the July 14 Tehachapi Unified School District board meeting, all in anticipation of hearing what the upcoming school year will look like in the ever-changing landscape of the coronavirus pandemic.
No final decision was made.
On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new guidelines to determine which school districts would be allow to reopen in the fall. As of Friday, Kern County was not on the governor's watch list, therefore leaving it up to each district's superintendent as to what the classroom will look like in the new year.
During the board meeting, Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson gave a PowerPoint presentation in which she proposed three pathways to deliver education this school year: virtual learning, independent study and a blended model of virtual learning and online courses.
For example, with the blended model of learning, students would arrive at school at 8 a.m., attend three periods of classes, and receive a grab-and-go lunch at 11:30 a.m. and then be sent home to continue remaining instruction for the day at home.
"This is a trying time, but regardless, on Aug. 12, we are required to start our school year," said Larson-Everson.
The superintendent also discussed the possibility of rotating schedules to include some students attending morning classes and others attending in the afternoon.
Recently, TUSD emailed a survey to parents to offer them an opportunity to say what would best suit their child's needs and the challenges they face. Of the more than 1,400 responses it received, 46 percent of parents said they would be working inside the home and 41 percent said all parents would be working outside the home.
Also in the survey, a total of 67 percent of parents/guardians stated they would prefer for their students to attend school two days a week and have distance learning three days a week.
The state's new guidelines for reopening schools require all students in the third grade or higher to wear face coverings. Additionally, face coverings are recommended but not required for kindergartners, first graders and second graders.
Masks will be required for all teachers and staff, who will also be required to get tested for the virus regularly.
The governor also announced new rules on when schools will be forced to close. For example, schools would be required to close when 5 percent of all teachers and students test positive and an entire school district must close when 25 percent of its schools close within a 14-day period.
The next school board meeting will be held Aug. 11, one day before the scheduled start of the school year. For more information, visit the TUSD website at tehachapiusd.com.