ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — The fifth-largest school district in the state is getting ready to resume in-person learning.
Leaders with the Elk Grove Unified School District made the call to close schools in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, weeks before other districts in the area.
They’ll be among the first to resume partial in-person learning as long as Sacramento County is downgraded to the state’s less restrictive orange tier for coronavirus infection rates.
“We have 67 sites and are responsible for 63,000 students,” EGUSD board member Nancy Chaires Espinoza told FOX40. “So, in order to make such a monumental shift, we want to be sure to get it right.”
The district reached a plan with the teacher’s union to transition to hybrid instruction, during which students will be taught twice a week in the classroom rather than learning entirely online.
Espinoza said that the online learning format has proved challenging for a number of students.
“But many of them we know are struggling. So, we have been working really hard to be able to bring them back as soon as possible and as safely as possible,” Espinoza said.
If the county turns orange by Election Day, the reopening plan will happen in stages, with younger students, pre-kindergarten to third grade, starting hybrid learning Nov. 17.
Fourth, fifth and sixth graders will head back to class Dec. 8 and middle and high schoolers will return after the new year on Jan. 7.
The plan strikes the right balance between learning and safety, according to Elk Grove educators.
“It’s one of the first that you’ll see in the state where it’s a true partnership with the school district and our teachers union to make decisions in the best interest of our students,” said EGUSD Trustee Bobby Singh-Allen.
But not all parents are backing the proposal, with some saying any in-person learning during a pandemic is still too risky.
“I don’t understand why there’s a rush to get back into class. I think it’s better that they wait,” Elk Grove parent Michelle Cain told FOX40. “They could bring (the virus) back. We have elder parents; they can send it them. They could carry it and get sick, we don’t know. Other kids get sick, the teachers get sick.”
EGUSD officials said families do have the option to continue all distance learning if that’s what they prefer.
More details on the plan will be presented to parents at a board meeting on Wednesday.