LOCAL GOV: Board of Education hybrid learning update

By Lauren Lee,

BlueDevilHUB.com Editor-in-Chief–

On Thursday, the school district and Board of Education reviewed plans to return to campus and discussed Phase 3, or “hybrid learning”, of the phased return to campus plan. 

According to Superintendent John Bowes, the majority of staff expressed discomfort with returning back to campus with a large amount of students. 

The board and district leadership team collected data from health officials like Yolo County Health Officer, Dr. Aimee Sisson, who presented vaccine updates and other COVID related news at the meeting. The board is also reviewing multiple surveys from parents and staff, conducted by the district, to align priorities and needs of the community with the Board of Education. 

Hybrid learning is a monumental task for the district and board, comparable to the distance learning plan in March and the block schedule adjustment for the 2020-2021 school year. 

The district is on the second step of the roadmap to Phase 3. However, there are many factors that could affect the timeline of these plans — including infection rates and government policies.

Currently, the district is reviewing the criteria for reopening school and boosting stakeholder engagement. 

Studying criteria for reopening helps outline an in-person model, and allows the district to better understand the complexities of reopening school. Some of these criteria include, health and safety, quality of instruction, social emotional health and well being, and access. The district will be analyzing different options such as whether students have the same teacher or modified instructional minutes. 

Beginning after Thanksgiving break, district administrators will engage with stakeholders through advisories, student input and community feedback. 

Looking forward to the third step to prepare for Phase 3, a staff action team is adjusting hybrid models for the Davis Joint Unified School District and reviewing the reopening criteria. Once the hybrid model is selected, parents will have a choice between full distance learning and the selected model.

According to DJUSD associate superintendent of instruction, Rody Boonchuoy, community discussion — a factor that other school districts in distance learning disregarded — is extremely important to developing the plan for hybrid learning.

Preparations the district has already made for Phase 3 

Technology Updates: The district has purchased enough chromebooks to meet the one to one ratio hybrid technology goal. Internet hot spots have been provided to all students that need one. Document cameras are prepared for staff who need them. Noise cancelling headphones have been purchased for the students returning to campus in the coming weeks. 

Facilities Updates: Storage boxes are available to store excess furniture to make more space for social distancing when returning back to campus. The district purchased air filters with the highest filtration level that the buildings can handle. Portable air purifiers have been purchased for every classroom. There is a schedule for disinfecting each classroom after use.

Health Support Update: Athletic conditioning with small groups for school sports are postponed 2 weeks due to Yolo County returning to the purple tier. Athletics are under evaluation to modify health conditions for December. School nurses have developed health and safety training for staff and families, which can be found on the district website. Nurses have also completed 16 hours of COVID-19 contact tracing training recommended by the California Department of Public Health. 

Student Nutritional Services: Breakfast and lunch have been available each day for students since March. For hybrid learning, meals will continue to be provided for students. 

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