Goleta Union School District will open its 10 elementary school campuses on Monday.
Distance learning remains available for students who choose to learn from home. According to district officials, 17% selected to continue distance learning.
Some students will switch teachers because classes are splitting into distance and on-campus learners.
Those on campus will spend a little over five hours at school five days per week.
“We have heard that students cannot wait to return to campus where they can see their friends and teachers in person,” Dr. Donna Lewis, the district’s superintendent, said in an email to the News-Press. “They are already picking out what they want to wear the first day. It will be a lot like the first day of school in August.”
A key part of teachers’ first-day outfits is personal protective equipment. The district equipped staff with “abundant PPE,” according to Dr. Lewis.
Teachers received a day off of teaching so they could prepare for in-person instruction. District administration hired two educators to make lesson plans for other teachers to use.
“This was no small feat. Two teachers on assignment devised lesson plans for over three thousand students. It took days to create these lessons and prepare the student take-home materials,” Dr. Lewis said.
District staff are assisting teachers this week as they move and store furniture as part of physical distancing configurations.
“We also are planning for an all-hands-on-deck approach the first week of school where we will have auxiliary staff help out at each school monitoring hallways, restrooms and do whatever else is needed,” she said.
She also said district officials are “expanding our summer learning program significantly,” hiring 35 summer school teachers instead of 10.
This week, 87 Goleta Union staff members are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. State officials set aside 10% of the state’s vaccine allocation to K-12 educators last week.
Districts are tasked with prioritizing staff members to receive the vaccine first. Goleta Union officials divided its 700 employees into four groups, with vaccines first going to employees who work with medically fragile students who are unable to wear masks.
“The teachers have expressed that they are looking forward to having their students back to class,” Dr. Lewis said. “All of their hard work will be worth it when they see their students in person.”