The Carpinteria Unified school board voted Tuesday evening to delay reopening secondary schools under a hybrid schedule until Jan. 7, the first day of second semester.
The board voted 4-1 in favor of waiting until January to open middle and high schools.
Elementary students returned Tuesday for hybrid learning, which superintendent Diana Rigby said went smoothly.
“Even our TK students had masks on today,” she said.
Students are divided into cohorts and meet either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday on campus. About five to 14 students are in each cohort.
A total of 42 elementary students opted for independent study, meaning they teach themselves at home instead of joining a cohort.
Christie Cooney, a parent in the district, commented on independent study. She said it was way worse than the previous distance-learning model.
“What I ask is that we find a way to employ a teacher to continue distance learning,” she said. “To turn them over to an independent study program with no instruction from a teacher is not an adequate form of distance learning, and I think we can do better.”
The board voted to purchase Calvert, a digital learning tool that will assist students learning independently. Learning Loss Mitigation funds will cover the $19,500 expense.
During the meeting, Dr. Henning Ansorg, health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, issued an updated health officer order which allows districts to reopen in-person with safety guidelines in place.
The order makes it possible for middle and high schools to reopen, though CUSD officials didn’t seem confident it could open secondary schools until January.
Liaison for the Public Health Department Susan Klein Rothschild consulted with the board during the meeting.
“If our rate of COVID in the community increases and we have a lot more cases, then you’ll see a health officer order will make it tighter because we all have to work together,” she said.
If the county sinks back to the purple tier, she says the plan is to still keep children in school but increase testing teachers.
She also announced that the department will be “dramatically expanding” the availability of free COVID-19 tests in November.
CUSD employees have been tested on two occasions through the district. Every test came back negative.
The district discussed the availability of substitute teachers. Board member Rogelio Delgado suggested the district pay substitutes to be on call. But board member Sally Green said there aren’t enough subs available.
Mr. Delgado was the only member to vote opposed to reopening secondary schools in January.