SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) will hold a governing board meeting on Sept. 15 to vote on in-person instructional models that will be presented to the board at a special board meeting on Sept. 4. The first vote on a reopening plan was held on July 21 and failed, 2-3.
SMUSD began classes virtually for all students on Aug. 18 per Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic plan for California’s schools. Schools located in counties that are on the Monitoring List must not physically open for in-person instruction until their county has come off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days.
San Diego County was on the Monitoring List, but has remained off of it for 14 days.
On Aug. 2, families decided between two options for their students. The first is remote learning/in-person learning, which aims to ultimately return students to physical school if and when it is safe to do so. The second is the Leading Edge Virtual School (LEVS), which is an online option for students who wish to remain off campus for the entirety of the school year.
The district has still not announced when they will resume in-person classes for students whose families chose the in-person learning model.
In the meantime, they have shared a Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCP) that “details [their] efforts to address the academic and social/emotional needs of students in the remote instruction environment,” but does not actually include an in-person instructional model.
Families were originally told that they must stick to their chosen learning model for the entire school year. However, Superintendent Dr. Carmen García told The Coast News via email that families may be able to switch if space allows.
“We recognize that families who selected the Remote to Start/In-Person may find that their circumstances have changed when schools return to learning on the physical campus. When the Return to In-Person Instruction has been finalized, the district will have a process in place for families to request a transfer to a virtual school option (and vice versa) based on space and staffing availability,” said García.
Sandra Greefkes, a SMUSD parent who chose to enroll her child in the LEVS online-only option, told The Coast News that she is concerned that no models have been shared with parents or teachers.
Furthermore, according to an email sent to families by LEVS Administrator Nicole DiRanna, when in-person learning does begin, there will be a “reshuffle and organization” of the remaining LEVS students and teachers.
“When they go back to brick and mortar, [my child] might get reshuffled with a potentially new teacher, if his current teacher is not a LEVS teacher, and a bunch of other students that are LEVS, when they should have just grouped them together from the start,” Greefkes said. “So the option that we picked, which was supposed to be the most consistent, is actually going to create a bunch of disruption for our kid.”
Other districts in the county, like San Diego Unified School District, plan to reopen in phases beginning late September by bringing back their youngest students or students with special needs first for in-person support.