Board of Education | Next Steps for School Openings to be Reviewed Thursday Night

During a special board meeting on Thursday, July 16, Superintendent Dr. Goeff Yantz, says local school board members will review and consider approval of a distance learning and hybrid instructional model

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPUSD Board of Education; Superintendent Geoff Yantz and President Michele Kipke

With actions made by the governor on Monday for re-closures of some businesses due to the coronavirus, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) is carefully monitoring its next steps regarding school openings this fall by what is being heard from state and county health officials.

During a Board of Education meeting last week, its members stressed the importance of keeping students safe as the district’s highest priority. On Tuesday, 4,244 new cases of the virus were reported in Los Angeles County along with 2,103 hospitalizations and 73 deaths as further lockdowns could be imminent. From gyms to nail salons and movie theaters, the pandemic is taking its toll on the local economy once again.

“Before SPUSD proceeds with determining whether schools will be physically reopened, we will decide on an instructional model for the fall semester,” wrote Dr. Geoff Yantz, superintendent of South Pasadena’s public schools, in a letter to parents and students in the local district.

During a special board meeting on Thursday, July 16, Yantz, in his message, wrote that school board members will review and consider approval of a distance learning and hybrid instructional model.

“The model will account for options allowing for a fluid transition between physical closure or opening of schools dependent upon the health and safety conditions,” he wrote. “We realize everyone would like to see students back in school as soon as it is safe to do so and will be providing more information as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience during these uncertain and constantly changing times, and we value your continuous feedback and support.”

He explained in his message that the district is “gathering information from stakeholders through various surveys sent over the weekend. This survey feedback will inform the SPUSD Board of Education’s decision about a 2020-2021 instructional model so it is crucial for parents, students, and staff to continue sharing information through the surveys.”

On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued new guidelines for re-closure of some businesses and organizations throughout the state as COVID-19 cases rise at an alarming rate. It was also announced, as Yantz pointed out in his correspondence, that several school districts, including LA and San Diego Unified, would be going to online learning during the upcoming academic school year.

“We are acutely aware of these developments and continue to gather information from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Office of Education about reopening schools,” wrote Yantz, noting that the organizations stated “that schools should be physically closed given the recent trajectory of Covid-19 cases and provided local Governing Boards the ability to make this decision.”

Further, the superintendent added, “Very restrictive protocols intended to be used as a roadmap for school districts to reopen were also released. This decision for physically reopening SPUSD schools will be made after an instructional model is determined by the Board of Education. Our number one priority continues to be the health and safety of our students and staff.”

The following is Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz’s letter to the community regarding the reopening of schools in the fall:  

Dear SPUSD Community,

Earlier today, Governor Newsom issued new guidelines for re-closure of various businesses and organizations within California and Los Angeles County. Additionally several school districts, including Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified, announced that they will be offering only online learning at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.

We are acutely aware of these developments and continue to gather information from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Office of Education about reopening schools. Today, these organizations stated that schools should be physically closed given the recent trajectory of Covid-19 cases and provided local Governing Boards the ability to make this decision. Very restrictive protocols intended to be used as a roadmap for school districts to reopen were also released. This decision for physically reopening SPUSD schools will be made after an instructional model is determined by the Board of Education. Our number one priority continues to be the health and safety of our students and staff.

SPUSD currently is gathering information from stakeholders through various surveys sent over the weekend. This survey feedback will inform the SPUSD Board of Education’s decision about a 2020-2021 instructional model so it is crucial for parents, students, and staff to continue sharing information through the surveys.

Before SPUSD proceeds with determining whether schools will be physically reopened, we will decide on an instructional model for the fall semester. During the Special Board Meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 16, school board members will review and consider approval of a distance learning and hybrid instructional model. The model will account for options allowing for a fluid transition between physical closure or opening of schools dependent upon the health and safety conditions.

We realize everyone would like to see students back in school as soon as it is safe to do so and will be providing more information as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience during these uncertain and constantly changing times, and we value your continuous feedback and support.

Regards,

Geoff Yantz, Ed.D.
Superintendent