The Santa Maria-Bonita School District will begin ushering students onto campus April 19, beginning with preschool to first-grade students.
A week later, second through fourth grades will enter. May 3, fifth through seventh grades join, and eighth grade returns May 10.
Last month, the district surveyed families to gauge the number of in-person students, and 72% of parents preferred their students return to campus.
Santa Maria-Bonita plans to slowly return to a traditional classroom format in phases.
First, students will learn on campus two days per week, have synchronous online instruction Mondays and learn independently the other two days.
Eventually, students will stream the class live, so both in-person and distance learners will receive the same instruction.
The last step is a return to a full schedule of in-person learning.
Santa Maria-Bonita’s board will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, held via Zoom.
The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is opening in-person instruction to seniors April 19. Administrators are unsure when they will welcome freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
Teachers will return April 12 to try out Zoom cameras for simulcasting instruction.
“We may bring all of our students back, but there is also a potential reality that we might only be able to bring some of our students back,” Superintendent Antonio Garcia told the board.
Seniors will participate in a hybrid scheduling, meaning they are only on campus two days each week. Mondays, students will meet with every class via Zoom.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are dedicated to the first four class periods, and Thursdays and Fridays are focused on the last three class periods.
Assembly Bill 86 could provide up to $3.3 million to the high school district in the form of an in-person instruction grant, and the district is eligible for up to $8.1 million to expand learning opportunities.
To receive the full $3.3 million, at least one grade level must be in-person by April 1 (provided a county is in the red tier or better). For each instructional day past April 1 a district is not open, the state deducts 1% from the grant.
The district’s plan of ushering in seniors on April 19 secures 94% or $3,102,000 out of a possible $3.3 million. (Spring break is the week of April 5.)
“(State assistance) is not what is going to drive our decision. Our decision is based on the principles of student and staff safety and student learning and wellbeing,” Mr. Garcia told the News-Press earlier this month.
Board member Dominick Palera suggested moving the return date up a week, noting that seniors are struggling.
Board clerk Carol Karamitsos preferred the original timeline because teachers’ vaccines may not be fully effective by the beginning of April. (Public health officials say immunity forms by two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.)
The district has not expressed a desire to change the plan approved during the March 9 meeting.
When asked why the district has delayed its reopening, a spokesman told the News-Press in an email that the board “made the best decision for our district based on the information at the time.”
Orcutt Union’s elementary schools, which feed into Santa Maria Joint Union’s high schools, have been open since March 9.