Tulare elementary, high school districts unveil reopening plans

Jermaine Johnson II

Tulare’s elementary and high school districts gives students/parents options for the upcoming school year

TULARE – Days after Gov. Gavin Newson ordered schools in Tulare County to begin the semester with distance learning, the Tulare City School District and the Tulare Joint Union High School District revealed their plans for getting students back on campus five days per week.

School will start for both districts with online instruction only on Aug. 13. If Tulare County is removed from California’s COVID-19 monitoring list, schools will be able to open up for in-person instruction. At that point, the elementary and high school districts will provide two different options for students and parents to choose from.

The high school district had their semester all planned out before Governor Newson threw a wrench in those plans. Tulare Joint Union High School District was one of the few in Tulare County to plan for a return to full-day, in-person learning five days per week. When the district eventually transitions to a hybrid model, students will attend classes on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Students will also have the option to stick with the full-time distance learning model offered through Sierra Vista Charter High School. Distance Learning will look different from what students experienced in the spring. Students will have a schedule to follow, similar to the regular school schedule, and attendance will be taken. They will be assigned supervising teachers who will meet with them regularly and monitor their work and progress. The regular grading policy will be in place where students will be required to demonstrate proficiency of the learning standards to earn a passing grade. The district will also provide Chromebooks for all students and they’ll continue to provide grab-and-go meals for students learning at home.

The elementary district’s plan is similar to the high school’s with the exception that TK-8 grade students will only attend school for three hours each day Monday through Friday. Primary and intermediate grades will be split into two groups – an A.M. group that attends school from 8:10 to 11:10 a.m. and a P.M. group that attends school from 1 to 4 p.m.

There will be two plans that TK-8 grade parents and students can pick from. Option 1 is a blended learning schedule for students who want to return to in-person learning. Within that option lies two phases determined by Tulare County’s status on the state’s monitoring list. The crisis closure phase includes students beginning the semester with distance learning.

In phase two there will be the in-person learning with safety measures such as limiting class sizes to allow for social distancing.

Option 2 is long-term independent study, where academic learning will be provided through an online platform with virtual instruction from home. The parent will serve as a learning coach by working collaboratively with the child and teacher to facilitate learning activities.

When students aren’t receiving online instruction, they will be assigned independent learning activities. All students in grades TK-8 will receive a technology device from the school district to use for instructional purposes.

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