School Year Starts August 13 | SPUSD Works on “Hybrid Model” for Campuses

As the situation continuously evolves, the South Pasadena Unified School District is paying close attention to the guidelines being developed by the Los Angeles County Health Department, expected to be released soon, and the Los Angeles County Office of Education

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | South Pasadena schools are set to open 2020-21 school year on August 13. As the situation continuously evolves, the South Pasadena Unified School District is paying close attention to the guidelines being developed by the Los Angeles County Health Department. (SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation)

The new school year will begin August 13 but the way they reopen “will be different,” explained South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz in an email to the community.

Yantz said the district will continue to keep the community informed about developments.

“As the situation continuously evolves, we are paying close attention to the guidelines being developed by the Los Angeles County Health Department, expected to be released soon, and the Los Angeles County Office of Education. While you may have read guidelines for reopening from the California Department of Education, we must follow the LA County Department of Health guidance. 

A team of district administrators, teachers, and staff are working on developing plans for the physical reopening of schools. Yantz said some aspects for the reopening must be negotiated with bargaining units, which will be reviewed by Board of Education before approval around mid-July.

Plans for reopening local campuses, noted the superintendent, has been underway for months. “This spring, we began surveying our stakeholders – students, parents, and teachers – to assess the effectiveness of distance learning and to determine families’ preferences for returning to school,” he wrote in his correspondence. “In addition, we have engaged in intensive, two-way dialogue with over a dozen different groups to glean key information to help create a new model of learning. We also regularly meet with neighboring districts and school professionals across the county and state who are facing similar, challenging situations.” 

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz

Yantz says the committee of experts is “developing adaptable plans that will enable us to respond to changing health conditions,” writing, “Based on current health guidelines, returning to school will require a hybrid model with both on-campus and virtual learning. Additionally, we are aware that a percentage of our student population may desire or need to remain in a distance-learning environment. Committee members are working tirelessly to design these models.”   

The following is SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz’s letter:

Dear SPUSD Community,

I hope you and your family are doing well and taking advantage of the summer weather. A little over a week ago, we wrapped up the 2019-2020 school year and participated in memorable and unique celebrations for our senior graduates and our fifth and eighth grade students. Despite the challenges we faced this year, our students, staff, and community displayed resilience and flexibility as we adapted to an emergency situation.

Our team of SPUSD administrators, teachers, and staff are very busy working on developing plans for the physical reopening of schools. As the situation continuously evolves, we are paying close attention to the guidelines being developed by the Los Angeles County Health Department, expected to be released soon, and the Los Angeles County Office of Education.  While you may have read guidelines for reopening from the California Department of Education, we must follow the LA County Department of Health guidance.   

Thoughtful planning for reopening has been underway for months. This spring, we began surveying our stakeholders – students, parents, and teachers – to assess the effectiveness of distance learning and to determine families’ preferences for returning to school. In addition, we have engaged in intensive, two-way dialogue with over a dozen different groups to glean key information to help create a new model of learning. We also regularly meet with neighboring districts and school professionals across the county and state who are facing similar, challenging situations. 

School will begin on August 13, 2020 although the way we return to school will be different. Our committee of experts is in the process of developing adaptable plans that will enable us to respond to changing health conditions. Based on current health guidelines, returning to school will require a hybrid model with both on-campus and virtual learning. Additionally, we are aware that a percentage of our student population may desire or need to remain in a distance learning environment. Committee members are working tirelessly to design these models.   

Aspects of the back-to-school plan must be negotiated with our bargaining units and overall plans will be presented to the SPUSD School Board for review and approval toward mid-July. We will continue to keep you updated as plans develop.

Sincerely,

Geoff Yantz, Ed.D.
Superintendent