A plan for fall
Cabrillo Unified officials are planning a phased reopening in the fall. Adam Pardee / Review

Cabrillo Unified School District released its preliminary proposed return to school plan on Monday. It calls for a phased reopening with students to start the school year with remote learning until September.

The 85-slide presentation was released ahead of Thursday’s school board meeting, when it will be presented and discussed with the board. It includes extensive background and explanation of the planning process, health guidelines, survey results and the proposed phased reopening specific to elementary, middle and high school sites.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Leticia Bhatia said it’s not typical for the district to present such a large document, but said she thought it was important to be as detailed as possible.

The proposal outlines a timeline for reopening as well as individualized schedules and plans by school level. Typically, Cabrillo schools are scheduled to open in the middle of August — in this case Aug. 13. Under the proposed plan, the week beginning Aug. 10 will be set aside for staff and teacher planning and campus preparation. Then, the week of Aug. 17, students and staff will meet remotely for various orientations on school and hygiene procedures. After, the phased reopening will begin, starting with 100 percent remote learning, then limited in-person instruction for targeted student groups, followed by a hybrid 50 percent in-person model that utilizes outdoor space and finally, a full on-campus traditional model.

The presentation notes that checkpoints evaluating health and safety concerns and other measures will be used to decide whether to move forward or backward between each new phase, and district leaders will monitor progress in consultation with community stakeholders.

Survey results included in the presentation showed families and staff favored a hybrid model for the fall, with two full days per week in-person and two at home and the final day for independent work. No plan received more than 50 percent support from all respondents.

The presentation is the culmination of the district’s effort this summer to create a return to school plan that’s consistent with county and state health guidelines. After the county health department released its guidelines on June 10, which outlined public health requirements, it tasked each school district with creating a steering committee and developing a plan individual to its community.

Bhatia said after the district’s 12 focus group meetings, two community surveys and a steering committee of more than 30 representatives, she hopes the plan balances the varied input heard from families and staff.

“You cannot meet everybody’s No. 1 choice, but I think it meets the majority of people’s suggestions and input,” Bhatia said.

School districts across the state and nation are grappling with the same decision on whether to reopen and how. Today, both Los Angeles and San Diego unified school districts, the two largest in the state, announced they will continue with remote learning and will not open for in-person school this fall. Closer to the Coastside, San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Clara unified school districts made similar announcements last week. La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District is expected to present its plan in the coming weeks.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said today he will release more guidelines on reopening schools soon. In the past, Newsom’s recommendations for schools have mostly informed operations, and not created requirements, leaving county health departments to make the rules. Bhatia and other school officials have been clear that the plan is subject to change depending on changing conditions and health orders due to the pandemic.

At Thursday’s board meeting, Bhatia will present the proposal and members are expected to hear public comment and discuss the plan. The meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m., is open to the public at https://cabrillok12.zoom.us/j/96904824943 and comments can be submitted in advance of the meeting at https://bit.ly/cusdGBpc.

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