Six Feet Apart

Patterson Joint Unified School District honored the graduating class of 2020 with pictures of each senior separated apart by six feet to symbolize the state of the situation.

An aura of uncertainty lingered over the future of the senior graduation and what education in the district will look like come fall.

Superintendent Dr. Phil Alfano shared that in conjunction with ASB a survey was sent out to all seniors laying out the possible scenarios in regards to graduation.

Seniors were presented with two choices for graduation ceremonies.

One choice involved doing a staggered graduation ceremony with roughly 30 to 40 students being brought in for the ceremony at a time with only their parents allowed to be in attendance with distancing protocols in place for the ceremony.

The scenario would possibly play out at some point in July at the earliest depending on the status of the pandemic.

The second scenario involved pushing the graduation ceremony back to a later date in the winter, where it may be possible that Patterson Joint Unified School District could host a traditional ceremony with a stadium full of parents, friends and family.

Ultimately the district has let students decide their fate. Surveys were expected to be collected Tuesday morning, and a meeting with ASB representatives and seniors is set to take place on Thursday.

“We don’t think that any kind of traditional full-blown ceremony will be allowed any time soon, but again we are going to let the students choose,” Dr. Alfano said on Monday.

Six feet apart

In the meantime, the district has decided to honor the seniors with a plan to post the pictures of each senior to be placed along the fenceline at Patterson High. Alfano stated that it will be the first time many students see their senior photos that would normally be reserved for their yearbook.

The photos will be symbolically separated six feet apart. Seniors were expected to pick up their caps and gowns on Wednesday along with yard signs honoring their graduation. Each student will also get a copy of their picture to take home with them.

Creekside and Walnut Grove eighth-graders will also receive yard signs that will be distributed to each student honoring their advancement to high school.

Dr. Alfano praised the seniors for how they have approached this disruptive finish to their tenure.

“I will have to say that I have to commend our seniors. I’ve talked to quite a few. They’ve all handled this in a very mature way. I kind of joked that the parents are taking it a little harder than some of the kids. They’ve really stepped up to make the best of it.”

The community will have to wait and see what the seniors decide to do and what is feasible when it comes to addressing graduation.

Reopening of schools

The subject of how schools will reopen when the time comes was also broached by Dr. Alfano at Monday’s meeting.

“The great unknown is still what that reopening will look like,” Dr. Alfano said regarding the topic.

He shared that he hoped that schools will be able to open at full capacity with modifications in place to avoid large gatherings and meetings, but admitted that with social distancing considerations there is a possibility that schools will have to open with a staggered schedule in place to reduce the number of students at school at any given time.

Alfano was clear that no decision has been made in regards to how schools will open back up when the time comes, but wanted to share the current possibilities.

“We should wait until there is clear direction on what is happening so that we can discuss different options,” Dr. Alfano said. “I just wanted to provide some clarification even though we don’t have solid answers.”

The superintendent also ruled out the likelihood of events like the back to school block party or back to school night.

“There is just so much uncertainty here,” Patterson Joint Unified District board of trustees member Michele Bays said. “It doesn’t seem like there is any clear picture about what is ahead of us.”

Murillo and Huerta promoted to principal

Monday was a special day of acknowledgment for Teresa Murillo and Shelby Huerta.

An announcement was made to the board promoting both to the title of principal.

Murillo will take over as principal of Las Palmas Elementary.

Huerta will assume the role of principal at Apricot Valley Elementary.

Other personnel items addressed was the hiring of an inclusion specialist and teacher, while acknowledging the resignation of a pair of employees and the retirement of counselor Hugh Leanord.

Action items approved unanimously

A total of 11 items were approved unanimously by the board on Monday.

  • $21,687 approved to Nordelink
  • $2,375 approved to Document Tracking Services
  • $24,335 approved to EMICS, Inc
  • $3,748.22 approved to Ins’tent
  • $15,300 approved to AVID Center
  • $63,733.90 approved to CeCal Tech
  • $5,000 approved to TPH Architects
  • $7,800 approved to Telclon Communications
  • $32,674.12 approved to Renaissance
  • $48,021.61 approved to Illuminate Education
  • $6,796.90 approved to Aeries Data Validition

A correction to this article was made on May 7 at 11:34 a.m.

PI reporter

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