MALIBU — The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has announced plans for distanced online schooling this fall, as indicated in a July 14 statement.

“Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District staff will recommend that the School Board announce a plan to reopen with distance learning,” superintendent Dr. Ben Drati wrote in a statement.

The decision comes after three models for schooling this fall were presented to parents earlier this month. Model A was a choice between in person and distanced learning, Model B was a hybrid of in person and online, and Model C planned for completely distanced learning. The SMMUSD will strongly recommend the school board to adopt Model C.

Drati wrote in a statement that while SMMUSD staff intended and prepared to recommend the hybrid option, the “steady upsurge in coronavirus cases in our region over the past several weeks combined with the advice of public health experts” led the SMMUSD to conclude that completely socially distanced learning was the safest option for all.

While the SMMUSD’s recommendation is powerful, the school board will have final decision-making power in their scheduled meeting on July 16. In the meeting, the school board will discuss and take action regarding the distanced learning plan. The meeting will present staff and parent survey results regarding the three-presented models.

Drati wrote that the decision to move online was not easy, but after the stark increase in positive tests and rate of positivity, the SMMUSD moved from their intended hybrid plan to completely distanced learning.

Superintendent Drati acknowledged that distanced learning may present challenges to many families, but pledged to address these concerns and further details on distanced learning in the upcoming school board meeting.

The SMMUSD has been preparing to reopen buildings in some capacity and follow health guidelines since late spring. Drati wrote in a statement saying that the move to conduct school online will allow SMMUSD the, “opportunity to fully implement these recommendations and prepare for the return of students and staff as quickly and safely as possible.”

It is expected that Drati will notify parents of the final decision Friday, July 17 after the school board’s decision on July 16.