Tehachapi Unified School District announced the first day of school will be Aug. 12. Although school officials are still mapping out what instruction will look like, Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson said she is hoping schools will reopen in a traditional manner.
What remains unclear at this time is whether students will attend school in person, continue with a distance learning model or experience a blend of the two.
According to Larson-Everson, the district received a guidance document from the California Department of Public Health on June 5. The California Department of Education released its own guidance document June 8.
"These are pretty lengthy documents," Larson-Everson said.
Asked what additional financial strain the guidelines will pose to the school district, the superintendent said she has yet to determine this as she is still waiting on the state's budget. However, funds will be made available to districts to compensate for COVID-19- related costs.
"I don't know what flexibility it will have — we are still learning. There has already been quite of bit of expense with the purchase of additional notebooks and connectivity for kids, and PPE for the staff," she said.
Asked what impact COVID-19 will have on next year's school budget, Larson-Everson said, "The overall costs due to COVID have the potential to be pretty significant because 81 percent of our unrestricted budget is all staffing."
According to the superintendent, some of the funding may be based on pre-COVID enrollment and attendance; however, she said she does not have particulars yet.
"I will tell you this. Whatever cuts we are forced to make, the board is very intense on keeping those cuts as far away from the classrooms as possible. We are trying to be prepared for any and all circumstances, and we are trying to keep the quality high as far as what programs we offer our students," Larson-Everson said.