ESCONDIDO — The Escondido Union School District (EUSD) provided their elementary and middle school students with two learning model options for the upcoming school year, but will be implementing distance learning for all students through Sept. 25 due to the county’s current health conditions.
At its July 16 meeting, the district board decided to postpone the start of the school year to Aug. 25. They also voted to start the school year virtually for all students and to give families an option of how they wanted their students to learn.
Students and families were given until July 30 to select one of two learning models depending on a student’s grade level: Elementary students can choose between Modified Classic Hybrid Model, with students on campus four half-days per week, and Full Distance E-Learning, where all teaching and learning occurs virtually.
Middle school students can choose between Two Full-Day Hybrid Model, where students are on campus two full days per week, and Full Distance E-Learning.
“In preparation for the school year, teachers will be receiving eight hours of professional development on best practices for distance learning. Parents will also be provided video training to prepare them for working with their students in a distance learning environment,” said Michelle Breier, digital communications specialist at EUSD.
She also noted that all students will be provided with an iPad and, if needed, a hot spot for internet access to fully participate in all distance learning programming.
The district’s decision to begin virtually came just one day before California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement of his pandemic plan for California’s schools.
Newsom’s plan centers on five key areas including the use of local health data to determine when to resume in-person learning, mask requirements, physical distancing, regular testing and rigorous distance learning.
“Learning is non-negotiable,” Newsom said during his announcement. “The virus will be with us for a year or more, and school districts must provide meaningful instruction in the midst of this pandemic. In California, health data will determine when a school can be physically open — and when it must close — but learning should never stop. Students, staff, and parents all prefer in-classroom instruction, but only if it can be done safely.”
The plan also says that schools located in counties that are on the state’s Monitoring List must not physically open for in-person instruction until their county has come off the list for 14 consecutive days. San Diego County is currently on the Monitoring List.
EUSD does have plans to reopen its campuses by the end of September; however, the board and district said they would continue to monitor the health conditions and make changes as needed.