School districts in the Tracy area are trying a variety of approaches to reopen safely next month even as COVID-19 case counts rise here and across the state and country.
Tracy Unified School District, the largest local district, plans to open schools with a traditional five-day schedule Aug. 11, though families can opt instead for at-home independent study programs.
Some other local districts are outlining schedules that reduce the number of students in classrooms by dividing their learning time between campus and home.
Lammersville Unified School District: AM/PM hybrid schedule
Families in Mountain House will likely choose between half days on campus or all-online virtual alternatives for the new school year starting Aug. 13.
The hybrid plans for 2020-21 are up for approval Monday at a special 7 p.m. meeting of the Lammersville Unified School District Governing Board.
The proposed in-person schedule for kindergarten through eighth grade would see each student assigned to a morning or afternoon start for four or five days a week to allow for social distancing with smaller classes.
Parents who aren’t ready to send their children back to campus can opt for an at-home Virtual Learning Academy. The deadline to apply is July 24.
At Mountain House High School, students will either attend in person on a hybrid schedule or register for the online pathway by July 24.
More information about the virtual options is available on the district website, www.lammersvilleschooldistrict.net, under Schools (grades K-8); and the high school website, mhhs.lammersvilleschooldistrict.net, under Academics (grades 9-12).
Tracy Learning Center: 2 days on campus, 3 days at home
Tracy Learning Center expects to start school Aug. 3 using a hybrid plan in which kindergartners through 12th graders will go to campus two days of each week, attend class online one day, and work independently at home the other two days.
The charter school’s board approved three plans for the 2020-21 school year, including the hybrid Plan 2.
If the public health situation worsens dramatically and the state requires schools to remain closed, Tracy Learning Center will pull back to Plan 1, the all-virtual model it used for the end of the 2019-20 school year. The school would then check out technology to families that needed it, and students would meet with their teachers virtually, receive some instruction online, and have assignments to complete on their own at home.
Eventually, when all social distancing restrictions are lifted and public health agencies report a strong decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths, Tracy Learning Center will adopt Plan 3 and all students will return to a traditional school setting.
A number of special precautions will be required starting Aug. 3. Students and teachers will have their temperatures checked when they arrive and will wear masks all day. Backpacks will not be allowed, and all lunches and drinking water must be in disposable packaging.
The youngest children will be assigned a personal chair. Instead of changing classrooms, middle grade students will stay in one room and teachers will go to them. At the high school level, hallways will be marked for one-way traffic.
Tracy Learning Center expects to review the situation monthly and shift toward Plan 3 when conditions in San Joaquin County improve.
More details are online at tlccharterchatter.com.
Banta Elementary School District: 3 educational options
In a letter sent to parents in early June, Banta Elementary School District outlined three options for the new school year beginning Aug. 11.
The first option is a five-days-a-week schedule on campus at 22345 El Rancho Road, including after-school care. As a precaution against COVID-19, the school will add more hand-washing stations, check everyone’s temperature each morning, and allow but not require staff members and students to wear face coverings. Classroom groups will stay together and have limited contact with other groups, at least at the beginning of the year. Transportation is undecided because of social distancing concerns.
The second option is limited independent study at home for no more than 10 weeks. Students will receive weekly packets and turn them in at the end of the week for grading and scoring.
The third option is full-time home schooling for the entire school year through Banta’s new charter school. A parent would be the primary teacher with support from a teacher employed by Banta. The district would provide coursework, school supplies, a computer, and a printer-scanner for each family, along with a $500 curriculum allowance.
All students will be able to take part in field trips, sports, the new agriculture center and farm, and other school activities.
Bella Vista Christian Academy: ‘As normal as possible’
The K-8 private school that shares a campus with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church plans to resume classes full time Aug. 3.
A health policy document sent home to Bella Vista Christian Academy parents begins, “It is our desire that our children return to Bella Vista in a safe environment and continue student life as normal as possible.”
School employees, students and their parents will be checked for fever, cough and difficulty breathing when they arrive at school each day. Anyone who has symptoms — or lives with someone who does — must stay away until they are symptom-free at least three days. A 14-day isolation period will be required for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19.
In the classroom, teachers will remind students about physical distancing, frequent hand-washing and other precautions. The school will also provide each student with sleeve-style face coverings that must be worn around the neck as part of the school uniform and pulled up over the mouth and nose whenever distancing can’t be maintained.