Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.
Covid-19: Controlled return to classes and proposed safety measures
To return children to a school classroom setting, a long, slow road will need to be taken. The return to school in a full capacity will not be for another 12 to 24 months. I advocate a staged return to the classroom, with benchmarks at three months, six months, 12 months and 24 months.The next three months should remain online-only, and the presence of students on campus should be reconsidered six months, one year and two years from now. Remote learning should continue until Christmas break at the very minimum. Based on the statistics, facts and science, we will determine at what rate students can return to the classroom, starting with part-time cohorts.
Once it is safe to do so—ideally for the spring semester—students will return to in-person instruction on a part-time basis. The classes will be divided into cohorts of six students that will alternate receiving in-person instruction in socially distanced classrooms and learning from home.Teachers will teach those children in class, while at the same time broadcasting a live, online lesson. The in-class students will be a part of a cohort who rotate to allow for all children to learn in the physical classroom at least once a week to begin with. Then, depending on the program’s success, we can increase the amount of in-person instruction each cohort receives each week. One day per week all students will learn from home, which will allow the in-person instruction to remain equal for cohorts while also providing an opportunity for school facilities to be thoroughly cleaned.
Drop-off and pickup times will need to be staggered, which will also require the students learning at home to adjust their schedules. School layouts will also have to be adjusted. Entrances and exits will be labeled with signs and arrows on the floor to signal the direction foot traffic should go. Classrooms will be dismissed on staggered schedules to allow for fewer students in the hallways at each time to prevent packed hallways.
In case of an infection in a cohort, that group will be quarantined off campus for seven days and will be learning online for that period. Safety measures will also be required of each student, parent and PVSD employee on campus. Each student will be required to sanitize or wash their hands when arriving on and departing from campus. Masks will be required in all common areas. Once in the classroom, students can remove their masks in exchange for a face shield. In class, soap and hand sanitizer will be provided.
I propose that the district provide the face shields, one per student, and each student will be responsible for maintaining and cleaning their face shield. The price of the face shields, as well as masks, soap, hand sanitizer and other protective equipment, will be a new expense that has not previously been budgeted, but it’s a cost worth paying. Pleasant Valley School District already suffers a weak and poor budget, falling $1,000 per student below the California average for other school districts. At 6,200 students, that is a substantial gap that the district will have to close to safely allow students to return to class.