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Extra testing, cleaning and virtual learning stressful for Buellton Union School District

Buellton Union School District cleaning
Scott Sheahen / KEYT

BUELLTON, Calif. -- The Buellton Union School District staff said virtual learning is stressful for teachers and students. The district is about two months into their partially reopened school year.

Daily temperature checks, passive COVID-19 screening, plastic dividers in classrooms and a lot of extra cleaning. These are measures the district has implemented across their schools. The goal education and safety.

Cathy Vengel is a third-grade teacher at Oak Valley Elementary School. She said, “There are students who are definitely growing and learning as we’re progressing through the months. I think they’re getting used to the format. I think it’s quite different from it was last spring. Last spring this was just thrust upon us very quickly.”

Teachers in the Buellton Union School District are hoping the virtual classes keep students on track for their education. But the changes are taking a toll, especially on the teachers.

“We’re going to have a [virtual counciling] session later this afternoon about working together and ways to reduce our stress and to handle our stress level that goes with this type of learning,” said Vengel.

The district is helping students with a lot, whether it’s getting access to digital learning or special education, in small groups on campus with extra distancing.

Henry Alvarado is an instructional assistant. He helps with sixth through eighth-graders. He said, “Administration the maintenance people have just done a great job to ensure that everything is clean and sanitized. We have a work day, which is Wednesday, we come in and we sanitize everything.”

District superintendent Randy Haggard said the staff are tested regularly at the nearby state run COVID testing site. And the entire staff was recently tested.

“25% of our staff from this point forward will every two weeks," said Haggard. "So over the course of two months we’ll have 100% of our staff tested. And so that will be an ongoing part of what we do throughout this year and maybe beyond.”

Teachers are eager to have students return to campus fully time, when it’s safe to do so. And in the meantime, they’re asking people to wear masks and physical distancing to slow the spread and make that day come sooner.

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Scott Sheahen

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