More entities allowed to reopen under Red Tier, sense of “normalcy” slowly returns to Davis
Yolo County’s movement into the Red Tier for the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed some entities to begin planning for new ways of operation. The Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) has started preparing for a hybrid learning plan while the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) is planning to gradually reopen later this year.
Superintendent John A. Bowes of DJUSD released an official statement regarding the district’s upcoming plans.
The statement explained how Yolo County was placed down into the Red Tier from the Purple Tier for COVID-19 infection rates. As a result, the DJUSD plans to observe if the county can stay in this tier for two weeks consecutively in order for schools to begin restricted in-person learning.
“I want to underscore the incredibly serious nature of this situation, and how critical a moment this is for our District and our community,” the statement reads. “We must get this right and we are moving cautiously and deliberately to make plans and decisions around classroom and school health and safety protocols, health checks and contact tracing, staffing plans and formalizing collective bargaining agreements.”
Public Information Officer of DJUSD Maria Clayton provided some insight on the importance of socializing for students.
“I think that living through a pandemic is difficult for everyone and we are really trying as a school district to serve students in all ways,” Clayton said. “In addition to making sure we can have the best academic program, we are also very conscientious of the social, emotional and mental health needs of students.”
Bowes further described in his statement that the DJUSD will take “a measured, phased-approach to the gradual return to campus.” The district plans on working with the Yolo County Public Health Department and the Yolo County Office of Education, as well as introducing new “stakeholder outreach” for families, staff and students.
“As we carefully monitor the County COVID-19 rates, we are developing plans for Phase 3—a hybrid model that includes [an] on-campus instructional component,” the statement reads. “The timeline for reaching Phase 3 is still unknown and depends on County COVID-19 numbers, collective bargaining agreements with our labor partners, and the successful implementation of Phase 2 of our Return to Campus Plan.”
Clayton added that while plans are constantly changing, the district is adapting to put the students’ best interests at the forefront.
“In this environment, there really is no perfect solution,” Clayton said. “We are just trying to do the best we can for all students with the data that we have each day, and that continues to evolve.”
Bowes added a final comment about his hopes of maintaining a hybrid model through the rest of the school year.
“There is still a long road ahead with the potential for many bumps, twists and turns,” the statement reads. “We are preparing for the rest of the school year by planning ways to offer a hybrid model that includes an on-campus instructional component while also providing for the health and safety of students and staff.”
The UC Davis ARC is also allowed to reopen under the Red Tier, and will do so on November 1st for students with 10% maximum occupancy.
Associate Director of UC Davis Campus Recreation Andy Ramirez provided more insight via email on the long process to reopen the ARC.
Ramirez explained via email that the ARC closed mid-March due to the pandemic, but reopened briefly over summer before having to close again after two weeks due to a state mandate.
“After closing mid-March, our staff worked hard to adjust to fast changing best practices for recreation facilities throughout the country,” Ramirez said via email. “We adjusted our protocols to mitigate risks where we could.”
Ramirez further noted via email that this short opening helped the staff prepare for the upcoming reopening in November by introducing new modifications, which include, but are not limited to, a requirement to wear a mask, complete a symptom survey and socially distance six feet apart. Students will also need to reserve a time slot in advance in order to follow proper social distancing guidelines, as well as follow other guidelines.
Ramirez added a final comment regarding the importance of recreation “to the physical and mental well-being” of students.
“Wellness and exercise is really important during these times, and our number one priority is student safety,” Ramirez said via email. “To help keep our Aggie community healthy, we ask that students follow university guidelines and protocol when visiting our facilities.”
Written By: Jelena Lapuz — firstname.lastname@example.org