SANTA MONICA— On Monday October 26 was the second meeting for the discussion on wither the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District should reopen its doors to their students and teachers. This particular meeting was focused on elementary schools.
Dr. Ben Drati superintendent went over potential possibilities of reopening schools as early as January 2021. Multiple factors are being taken into consideration in the preparation of face to face instruction.
First circumstance the safety of the children. Schools will be focusing on both students physical and social-emotional health. Next step is the employees safety. Following the same protocols as the students, faculty and staff’s physical and social-emotional health.
The quality of instruction and how that will transpire with the most vulnerable students. Lastly maintaining the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Districts fiscal solvency.
Drati then went into depth breaking down step by step potential scenarios for what students and teachers can expect upon returning. There are two models currently being discussed, the first being hybrid learning and the second option being distance learning with approved school activities. Both models are taking into consideration of addressing the students needs, assisting the parents/guardians needs and the available resources from the district.
If the hybrid model is selected students will participate in both in-class and online learning. Students would be broken down into cohorts. Within this model contributing factors would be students would alternate days in which they would come to school for two of the three days and the other three days would be online. The next option would be considering having the students alternate between a week of in- class and a week of online instruction. For convenience there is also an online only option with potential live-streaming experience from the classroom.
One of the devices that was showcased during the town hall was the swivel. The swivel is going to help close the gap for those learning at home. The purpose of the device will show students at home an up close and accurate visual of the board at all times. “The swivel is a viable system I like it and now I want to put it out there to the community to see if we can make that happen and start the conversation” mentioned Drati.
For the next model the superintendent went over the potential of having students still participate in distance learning but would be allow to go to school for approved school activities. An example of these approved school activities would be “Arts, labs, sports programs, specific special ed programs, class activities and clubs” Drati. This model would of course meet the safety protocols like allowing students and staff to function with being 6feet apart at all times. Needs to this model must be met by Los Angeles County of Public Help and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
The topic of reopening the schools k-12 would mean mandatory protocols be in order. Followed by what to do if someone is exposed and what is the schools Exposure Management Plan.
However in order to be successful with the reopening of the Santa Monica- Malibu unified school district schools LA county must be within tier 2 or otherwise known as the red tier for at least two consecutive weeks.
All the precautions taken are to insure that the students and teachers are being properly cared for. Measures are being set to ensure infection control. Measuring steps are being placed to insure that everyone on campus is practicing physical distancing. Measures are being placed specifically to ensure communication between the community and the schools. Lastly, the measures to ensure fair access to critical services.
Policies have been established as to protect all of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District educators. Those staff member that are to be considered vulnerable will receive work that can be done from home when ever possible. The course load has been adjusted to increase the opportunity for staff to work from their own homes. Staff members schedules are being utilized to accommodate physical distancing guidelines. The staff is ordered to stay home if exposed to anyone with Covid—19. All while mandatory health screenings are required upon entry.
The next board meeting will be held on November 12 at 5pm via zoom.