In a release from the North Beach School District, they say that with the new school year rapidly approaching, the North Beach Board of Directors and Superintendent Andrew Kelly, along with staff and community constituents, worked to develop a plan for re-opening school in the fall, with all students on campus at least part of the time.
Recently, the school board met Tuesday, July 21, in a ZOOM board meeting with over 60 in attendance to discuss options for re-opening.
During that meeting, the district tells KXRO that Superintendent Kelly shared that re-opening North Beach School District on an entirely distance or remote basis may ultimately be the best option.
Kelly described what reopening school in the current environment could look like.
In the best of scenarios, he stated that daily screening of students as required by the state will mean a number of them being sent home for symptoms that may be COVID-19, or some lesser virus.
Due the unavailability of rapid-result COVID tests, the district warns that school personnel wouldn’t know the true cause of a child or staff person’s symptoms in a time frame to make a sound medical sound decision about short-term closures to protect staff and other students.
If and when COVID-19 cases are diagnosed among the school population, whole classrooms or schools could be quarantined for up to 14 days per experience.
If members of the staff are home due to an illness, a substitute must be found, yet many substitutes are retirees who are most vulnerable to the worst impacts of COVID-19.
Kelly added that the decision is not an easy one for the school board, nor him.
North Beach School District is in the process of considering a variety of factors related to the impact of not bringing students back to the school building, before making the decision to move to distance learning. This includes focusing on how to provide distance instruction in the most effective way possible, how to make sure children have healthy meals, and supervision when not in school.
Kelly added that although the final decision has not yet been made, the district is in a much better position to provide a more robust and accessible remote/distance learning model for the 2020-21 school year.
The district has made investments in providing training to staff, with more to come, and in obtaining updated devices and online-friendly curriculum for students.
The North Beach Education Association has noted it supports a distance-learning plan for starting school in the fall.
North Beach schools will be conducting personal phone interviews with every family in the next two weeks to ascertain what specific resources and support they will need to make distance learning successful to start 20-21.
The district’s “Transformation Team” will be focused on refining and improving a robust distance learning format to ensure that every scholar will be able to #riseABOVEtheTIDE.