Ventura Unified is considering various plans for reopening schools in 2021 to in-person learning as COVID-19 cases decrease and Ventura County continues to move up the tiered phases of reopening set in place by the CDC. Students and staff are eager, but must follow all the necessary guidelines to ensure safety for all.
It has been recently announced from the Ventura County Office of Education that high schoolers in the VUSD may be eligible to resume in-person instruction on Jan. 26 for the 2020-2021 school year. On Oct. 6 Ventura County moved off the most limited tier which restricts schools from re-opening, the VUSD districts are now considering in-person instruction with the movement of the tier. The schools who choose to open must socially distance 6 feet apart, with a limited number of students in each classroom.
High school students may be separated into mixed groups multiple times a week, which may be difficult to create a schedule which works for every student. Some other concerns are the availability of teachers, as well as limited bus transportation due to strict seating.
According to the Ventura County Public Health Department some procedures that must be followed during the in-person instruction are the mandatory masks, regular health screenings for staff and students, and social distancing throughout any campus. Anyone with symptoms must be sent back home immediately, while the facility is disinfected.
The CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting require that schools develop a plan as well as revising the plan for the cleaning of each facility. In order to reduce the risk of exposure, the CDC states that surfaces such as the floor, rugs and drapes must be cleaned often. Technology such as keyboards, controls, machines, tablets, computers must be wiped or sprayed down frequently.
Employers must also follow the necessary CDC protocols and guidelines such as washing their hands regularly, after in contact with an animal, and after a student is assisted.
With the latest update from Ventura County Superintendent of schools, Stan Mantooth announced Sep. 23 that once schools are in the red tier for 14 days “most [schools] will be using a hybrid model of education… a mix of in-person and distance learning because of capacity issues,” Mantooth said. Throughout the speech Mantooth also emphasizes “small cohorts,” which is a way for schools to combat against the spread of the virus. If any student gets infected from the virus the school will have to shut down a classroom, rather than the whole school.
In addition many students are eager to go back to school. Buena High School student Angela Rosas is looking forward to her last year.
“Going back to school is a good idea,” Rosas said. Like most seniors this year she is hopeful for a graduation. “I will follow the procedures such as wearing my mask at all times and social distance.” Rosas claims that she’s comfortable with the required procedures necessary.
Nevertheless in-person instruction is likely to occur as another option for learning. Students and staff are excited to meet each other under these new circumstances.