As of Oct. 26, 2020, Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) is in the red tier, or substantial tier (four to seven new cases per day). As a result, Ventura Unified is analyzing the COVID-19 risk level and is creating guidelines and specific plans on how in-person instruction will be possible in the near future.
Elementary school students will be returning to in-person instruction as soon as Nov. 30, 2020. However, there will be regulations to prevent COVID-19 from spreading throughout opened schools in order to ensure that kids can learn in classrooms safely.
For high school students, it’s a different story. Since each student has a unique personal schedule, it will be harder for in-person teaching to take place. The The Ventura County Office of Education released that as long as we stay in the substantial tier, high school and middle school students will be returning to in-person instruction at a later date. It is said that Ventura Unified high schools are expected to return in Jan. 2021. This will be dependent on the success of reopening in elementary schools and their ability to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In order for both students and administrators to stay safe, there will be guidelines for how everyone can stay healthy and prevent the spread during school hours.
Richard Gibbs, principal of Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech), stated that “educating students, staff and families of Foothill on the safety protocols for return (pre-screen, masks, social distance, hygiene, what to do when you have symptoms)” will be crucial in the prospect of returning to campus.
Gibbs also emphasized that there will be a, “bell schedule/master schedule/hybrid schedule that meets the State legal requirements of education, the needs of our collective bargaining agreement, [and] works within the correct safety protocols for students and staff.”
Gibbs stated that a one of the positive aspects of school returning to in-person learning is, “getting back to normal and getting students what they need. School is not the same when students are not on campus.”
“Some people are not ready or just cannot come back,” Gibbs stated. However, he reassured that everyone is working hard around everyone and needs to create situations for success.
The Foothill Tech principal is confident in the ability of teachers, administrators and students. “We can do this,” he concluded. Gibbs believes that as long as the right protocols are taken, we can reopen safely. If guidelines are followed and prove to be successful Ventura Unified schools should be able to open and stay open, for the rest of the year and the years following.