PHOTO: While they are empty now, Davis High’s halls may be filled with students during April.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available. Last updated on March 4.
By Mia Croff,
On March 1, Matt Best, Deputy Superintendent of Davis Joint Unified School District, sent out an email to DJUSD employees with a date for when campuses are expected to reopen: the week of April 12.
A copy of this email was provided to The HUB by a Davis High teacher who will remain anonymous.
The email thanked staff for taking advantage of vaccine clinics and announced that there was an indication that “the Board motion related to staff having access to the first dose of the vaccine has been met.”
The motion is believed by the district to have been met because of the excess of vaccines available following a clinic for DJUSD staff on Feb. 27 “where 300 vaccines were available and only 266 were taken,” according to the email sent by Best.
Now that Yolo County is in the Red Tier and campuses have completed necessary safety upgrades such as installing new air filters, the complete vaccination of DJUSD staff is the last piece missing before students and staff can return to campuses. Reopening is now dependent on a continued supply of vaccines to ensure that DJUSD employees can get their second doses.
“We expect that we will reopen in a Hybrid In-person Learning Model the week of April 12,” according to the email sent by Best.
Now that there is an approximate, verified start date, there are now many questions to be answered about how this hybrid model will be conducted.
After starting the hybrid model, students will be placed into cohort groups. Solely online students will be placed in Group C and will continue the rest of the school year as they are currently. Students who decide to participate in hybrid, in-person classes will be placed in either Group A or Group B and will go to campus for classes two days a week. The secondary hybrid schedule is posted on the DJUSD website.
According to Best, a variety of factors will go into setting up the cohort groups. It won’t be as simple as organizing groups by students’ last name, there will be a “more sophisticated mechanism to cohort assignments.”
“Our first consideration will be for families. So for example, if you’re a family with one [child] in elementary, one in junior high and one in high school, you may want them all to be in the Monday Tuesday cohort,” Best said.
In addition, students in need of special support will be considered during the development of cohorts as well. Therefore, students who require special education services or are English Learners will be placed in the groups that best fit their educational needs.
Parent surveys will be sent out the weekend of March 14 along with a detailed family guide to help families make their decision regarding returning to campuses. The guide provides families with extensive information about the reopening transition. A similar survey will be sent out to DJUSD staff to gauge who will be willing to return to campus when the time comes.
In regard to student safety, campuses have installed over a thousand high-grade air filters into classrooms and will have on-site testing centers for students and staff.
“So, we can’t require students to get tested […] but each class will have the opportunity to be tested at least once a week,” Best said.
Along with extensive safety measures, the district has prepared for the possibility of positive test results or other concerning incidents. All the procedures, some including quarantine or closure, have been outlined on the DJUSD website.
For more information on the subject, the DJUSD school board meets this Thursday, March 4 at 6 p.m. The reopening of schools is published on the agenda.