With the Ventura County COVID-19 risk level rising to the purple tier (highest COVID-19 tier), Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) plans to put off some small groups and other on campus activities that were set to begin soon. However, these programs are currently being revised in order to ensure the safety of students under changing conditions.
The Foothill Tech administration has been working on bringing students back to campus in small groups in order to bring enrichment to Foothill students, while simultaneously ensuring their safety. They are working to keep one group per teacher to limit the risk. This includes being selective when deciding which groups to send back, altering the attendance process and deciding how time cards will be used.
All teachers and administrators will have a certain organized schedule to make the small groups successful. Some groups returning include Bioscience, Dtech and other specialized pathways.
Teachers will use an attendance sheet that includes health concerns and other things to consider that teachers to become better connected through these isolating times and contact trace any future cases of COVID-19.
Safety with regard to COVID-19 is the most important thing that has to be considered when planning to send students back for small groups. Students must remain six feet apart from each other and will also be required to wear a mask at all times, enter from different locations to avoid close contact and only one student will be allowed per restroom. Each classroom will also have cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer so surfaces can be cleaned thoroughly and regularly.
Katie Tedford, the assistant principal of Foothill Tech, stated, “We will be maintaining proper distance, people will be wearing masks and that we have increased access to hand sanitizers and other ways to ensure people are clean.” They will also be following other guidelines to ensure everyone is safe while at school. “I want to state in the strongest terms possible that you will have necessary PPE without delay or fail,” states Rice.
“We all need to do our part to minimize contact with other groups, that way we can help reduce the spread”
Tedford also explained that it’s important that everyone, “respects other people’s space and that they respect how other people feel about coming to school.” She said that there is still an emotional aspect to coming back and that everyone has different circumstances with being able to go to school. Rice also mentioned that “sites will have plenty of thermometers to carry out this process, for at least a few weeks, until we can reassess the need to continue and how it is impacting site operations.”
After a recent survey sent out to Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) faculty, teachers and administrators have been informed which schedules for hybrid learning have passed with teacher approval and which did not for the specific schools. All the schools schedules approved their list, except for Foothill Tech. Five teachers voted in favor and 29 voted against the proposed schedule.
Since schools such as Ventura High Schoo and Buena High School passed their schedule, they may be returning back to on-site learning and small groups. As for Foothill Tech, the administration will be trying to work out what needs to be done to allow for them to return to on-site learning.
Some steps that will allow Foothill Tech to return include having the Distance Learning (DL) committee come up and propose a new schedule, have Foothill Tech staff and members meet and plan another schedule and anything else to be successful. Tedford reassured that, “just because it was not approved, does not it won’t get approved.”
With COVID-19 continuing to rise, small groups may return soon however, they will have a different plan and schedule to make it successful during these times and to ensure learning is still the main focus. Tedford also emphasized that she hopes, “students are doing well, and staying safe.”