Kern schools considering hybrid reopening this fall

Local News

With the recent surge in COVID cases across California, there’s been a growing debate about whether students will be back in the classroom this fall, and the biggest school boards in Kern County still must decide what to do.

In May, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, said most schools will resume session by August. However, with increased risk of coronavirus, many schools around the country have been reassessing their opening plans.

“On one hand, you have to ensure the safety of everyone involved, and on the other hand, you have to ensure that the educational, social, and emotional well-being of your students as being met,” said Rob Meszaros with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

On Wednesday, President Trump threatened to cut funding from schools that don’t bring back all students this fall. However, Governor Newsom said he won’t hesitate to scale back school openings until it’s safe, just like he scaled back restaurant and bar openings. California’s largest teachers union, the CTA, had an even stronger resistance to President Trump’s message, saying many districts don’t have the resources or capacity for social distancing and limiting contact.

Locally, the KCSOS is giving individual districts the power to decide.

“Kern County has 47 unique school districts, and will likely see 47 unique reopening plans,” Meszaros said.

Most districts are leaning toward a hybrid model between in-person instruction and distance learning. Rosedale Union School District is allowing parents to choose either or a mix of both.

“That will help ensure there are fewer students on campus at any one given time,” Meszaros said. “Many districts will likely offer a 100% distance learning option that parents who don’t feel comfortable yet sending their children back to campuses will be able to take advantage of.”

Local teachers’ unions also say they’re planning to improve distance learning plans from the ones last spring.

Next week, the largest districts will hold special board meetings to discuss reopening plans. The Bakersfield City School District have their’s on Tuesday at 1 p.m. They all hope to finalize plans within the next few weeks.

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