The roughly 2,200 students in Jefferson School District will open the school year Aug. 11 with online distance learning as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in San Joaquin County.

Jim Bridges, superintendent of Jefferson Elementary School District, said the board of education had decided at a June meeting to start the year with full on-campus instruction but provide parents with an option for distance learning if they were not comfortable sending their children back to school yet and wanted to keep them home.

The spike in COVID-19 transmission throughout the county and state changed those plans.

A special meeting was scheduled Thursday evening to respond to new guidance from county health and education officials.

“At that meeting I’m going to be recommending to the board that we start the year in distance learning for all students,” Bridges said. “We will continue to review the data and follow the county’s guidance as to when we should look at reopening — when they think it is safe for us to reopen our schools.”

At that point, Jefferson schools will probably switch to a hybrid education model. Students will go to class two days a week and have distance learning for three days.

“So that we can make sure we meet the social distancing requirements that are in the guidance documents,” Bridges said. “We’re following the best course of action based on medical professionals.”

He said the district had enough Chromebooks for all its students and planned to check them out for every student to use at home.

Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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