CARLSBAD — Next fall schools will resume full-time, in-person instruction five days per week, according to the Carlsbad Unified School District.
For next year, all classes will be in-person with live teachers, open libraries, meals (breakfast and lunch) and “full-bell” schedules, according to the district. In March, the district reopened schools for secondary students after nearly one year of conducting virtual instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The change in start times was mandated statewide under Senate Bill 328, which requires middle school students to begin no earlier than 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. for high school students starting in 2022. Voluntary zero periods are excluded from the state’s new start time requirements.
“I want to thank staff for being proactive on this,” Trustee Kathy Rallings said. “It wasn’t something we had to do, but it makes total sense now.”
Prior to the pandemic, the high schools began at 7:30 a.m., with the middle schools ranging between 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., according to Rob Nye, assistant superintendent of instruction staff services. The board approved continuing to allow staggered start times for most elementary schools and Aviara Oaks Middle School will begin at 8 a.m.
Three elementary schools — Aviara, Pacific Rim and Poinsettia — will begin at 8:15, while the high schools, including Carlsbad Seaside Academy, will start at 8:30 a.m.
The district will also continue its COVID-19 mitigation protocols for the 2021-22 school year. Those efforts include requiring daily symptom and temperature screening, as parents must sign an affidavit stating they’ll conduct those checks, according to the resolution.
Contact tracing will also continue, along with facial coverings, which is dependent on guidance from the California Department of Public Health; personal protective equipment for staff as required by job classification; hand sanitizing; physical distancing when possible; reducing class size; creating stable groups; cleaning of classrooms and common spaces; plexiglass barriers in high-traffic areas; and limiting visitor access.
In addition to the full reopening and new start times, the board also approved opening a second preschool location at Aviara Oaks Elementary School. For the past several decades, preschool was only offered at Buena Vista Elementary School, but due to high growth projections, the district opted to open the second location.
Currently, the district has 119 preschool students and is expected to reach 179 students by the 2025-26 school year. Enrollment doubled from 2015-20, according to the district.
According to the district, one or two classrooms will be moved from Buena Vista and CUSD will add another class at Aviara Oaks.
“We are not anticipating, at least through 25-26, to outgrow the current location at Aviara,” said Tim Evanson, director of student services.
Finally, the board also approved, 4-1 with Ray Pearson voting no, a resolution supporting safe gun storage and to direct Churchill to draft a letter to parents and guardians explaining the importance of safe gun storage and legal obligations. The letter will also be posted on the district’s website.
The California Department of Education sent a letter to all districts and charter schools in 2019 urging them to pass the resolution and providing them information about the laws for safe gun storage.