SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District approved a safe reopening plan Thursday night.
The district is remaining virtual for the fall semester, and will evaluate transitioning to a 25 or 50 percent capacity hybrid model come spring.
"We don't know what the future brings in terms of the reality of COVID-19 and its impacts," said Superintendent Antonio Garcia. Because of this, he suggested the district could be using multiple models throughout the year.
Teachers will have extra days of professional development this summer, and collaborate to prepare for virtual classrooms.
Although the students will start the year virtually, teachers will still teach from their classrooms on school campuses.
Many teachers shared their concerns during the public comment period. They said that they're worried the cost of childcare is prohibitive for their own children if they have to teach in the classroom, and that they could teach virtually from home.
Some teachers were also worried about exposure to the virus by coming into their classrooms to teach every day.
"The district is committed to working with all our staff members to accommodate whatever needs they may have," said Kevin Platt, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. He said teachers seeking accommodations should contact human resources.
The district says they will use opportunities on weekly flex days to help students with social and emotional needs.
"This pandemic period is hard on everybody, even those that have tremendous resources and advantages," said John Davis, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction.
They are considering many avenues for social engagement and counseling for students.
The district is continuing to put together plans for special education, and students who may need more one on one attention, in person.
A parents survey shows upwards of five percent of families do not have internet. The district is buying wifi hotspots for those families and community wifi options are also being considered.