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First Quarter school year to be virtual

First Quarter school year to be virtual

The TUSD Board held a special meeting via teleconferencing on July 21 to address the issue of how schools will open on August 12. Superintendent Stacy Larson-Everson told the Board that, based on the new guidelines issued July 17 by the California Department of Health, the District must open for virtual learning only. The ruling states: "Schools and school districts may reopen for in-person instruction at any time if they are located in a local health jurisdiction that has not been on the county monitoring list within the prior 14 days."

Larson-Everson presented a formal recommendation that district students start the 2020-2021 school year in a virtual learning or independent study format and continue this model through the end of the first quarter which ends on Oct. 9. The district will continue consultation with Kern Public Health, KCSOS and district staff to update reopening plans and assess the feasibility of safely re-opening campuses. The Board approved the recommendation.

"Safety is the top priority in reopening for both students and staff," said Larson Everson adding that the district has the responsibility for constant testing of staff and students. New regulations now require that students must wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking.

The virtual learning model will be taught by TUSD certificated teachers with daily student interaction between student and teacher. Learning schedules will be flexible and be balanced between screen time and off line schoolwork. Online instruction can be live or viewed later according to family needs. The district will supply technology support for students and parents with increased home/school communication. There will be one central learning platform used by all teachers while using multiple other resources. It is expected that there will be specific times of day dedicated to academic learning. Attendance, progress monitoring and grading are all part of this model. Textbooks and school supplies will be provided as before when meals are picked up. "We will go door to door if necessary," said Larson-Everson.

The district also offers the option of the Tehachapi Independent Learning Academy of home education and independent study with TUSD teacher supervision and guidance on a weekly basis. There is no in-person support with this program. Currently about 120 students in the district follow this model.

There were about 244 participants signed into the Tuesday telephonic meeting. About a dozen verbal questions and over 70 written questions were submitted to be addressed at future meetings.