A plan to bring students back up to four days a week to start the second semester was one of the revised options presented to Tracy Unified School District trustees on Tuesday evening as the district prepares for the return of students to campuses on Jan. 4.
Julianna Stocking, associate superintendent of educational services, went over three instructional options available to families and students if the county remains in the red “substantial “ tier of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.”
The choices being made available to families are contingent on the county staying in red.
“Should we be in the purple during January on, then we will stay in distance learning on or thereafter Jan. 4 and we will make a transition to the hybrid instructional bell schedule that has been approved by our teacher’s union,” Stocking said.
San Joaquin County is currently in danger of moving backward into the purple “widespread" tier with more restrictions.
“Should we slide back into the purple and it not be safe for us to reopen, then we will still be shifting to the instructional bell schedule which will be increasing the time for students to have online, live synchronous instruction via distance learning with their teachers,” Stocking said. “This is very important to us and we really thank our TEA team for agreeing to this.”
The district goal moving into the second semester has been to give more access to students. With a recent decision to wait until January to bring students back for in-person learning, the district had more time to revisit options for the second semester.
Staff had additional negotiations with the teachers union about program options and looked at neighboring districts that offered concurrent distance learning and in-person hybrid learning. The district also considered input from the community about wanting to be keep the option of distance learning if they didn’t feel safe yet or had a health issue that prevented them.
The district presented three options for students if the county continues to stay in the red tier into the second semester.
One option follows a hybrid model, with students attending either two or four days of in-person instruction and one day of distance learning.
The decision on whether to have students on campus for two or four days will be decided on a survey that was circulated to families on Wednesday.
If the survey shows that 71% or more of families want their student to attend in-person, the student would attend with a hybrid two-day instruction schedule.
If 70% or less decide on in-person learning then students will attend school for four days with Wednesday being a distance learning day with live synchronous instruction.
“When we’re looking at the 70% one of the things were looking at most importantly is for us to be able to provide the social distancing to the best extent possible,” Stocking said. ‘In looking at our average classroom sizes and as a district that gives us that ability to do so.”
A distance learning option will be available where students will access synchronous live instruction from home five-days-a week.
“Students are responsible for logging into class daily for the entire duration of the class periods,” Stocking said.
The shift to a hybrid instructional bell schedule — especially for middle and high schools — will have students logging into all six periods of their schedule every day.
“That’s really important for us to be able to provide access to our students as well as our elementary age students who will have increased time with their teachers online and for the most part keep their master schedule and stay enrolled in their special programs,” Stocking said.
The district will work with the county as the COVID stages are revised to safely increase to five-days-a-week along with a full bell schedule.
A third instructional option is enrolling in the district’s Independent Study Charter School for students who elect for at-home learning. The charter is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The deadline to apply to the charter school is Dec. 2.
Stocking said return to school information, including the hybrid bell schedule for each school, will be on the district’s website COVID-19 information page.
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