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Davis

Davis, California

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Yolo County Office of Education holds annual education forum

Superintendents and teachers work to provide quality educations despite pandemic challenges

The Yolo County Office of Education held their annual Yolo County Elected Community Leaders Forum, in which the county superintendents gave residents and community leaders an update about the status of education.  

Public Information Officer of the Yolo County Office of Education Anthony Volkar detailed that the purpose of the meeting was to share information about education with the public. 

“The goal was for the superintendents to share an overview of the past year and carry the voice of students into that platform,” Volkar said. 

Volkar said that leaders of education are facing a challenge as they plan to welcome students back into the classroom. As some students are facing “learning loss,” educators are thinking about how students could be supported, according to Volkar.

“We’re going to have students who’ve been learning math online for over the last year, and maybe they didn’t really fully grasp everything in distance learning,” Volkar said.

According to Volkar, the forum included about 70 viewers, which included parent groups and school district staff on top of school board members.

Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) Superintendent John Bowes presented the Phased Return to Campus Plan. Phase One was full-distance learning. Currently, they are in Phase Two, which he explained involves small student cohorts.

“We’ve brought back small cohorts of students,” Bowes said. “Right now, we have over 30 cohorts with about 300 students. These are students who have not had success in distance learning, whether it’s because of attendance, social, emotional considerations or not finding success in the virtual learning environment.”

The District will be entering the Phase Three Hybrid Model in the week of April 12, which Bowes explained will still allow for a full-distance learning option.

“If you’re a family that wishes to continue in distance learning, your student will be with the same teacher but will be participating online while other classmates are in the classroom with the teacher,” Bowes said.

Bowes also discussed the reopening actions to make sure that the campuses are safe, such as installing filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value of 13 on heating and air conditioning systems and purchasing two air purifiers for every classroom. 

In addition to implementing physical safety measures, Bowes described that many DJUSD staff are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“But we believe that over 90% of staff have had access,” Bowes said. “We continue to advise staff about vaccine clinics.”

Joanie Bryant, a second-grade teacher at Waggoner Elementary School, described that some students may struggle with “spotty internet,” hotspot issues or other technological problems even if they have a Chromebook.

“Not everyone has the sort of tech skills at home to troubleshoot and update their devices,” Bryant said. 

Despite some setbacks, Volkar explained that he saw school districts improving in online education as the pandemic has progressed.

“Most of our school districts saw dramatic improvement throughout the pandemic in the way that students were able to better improve their ability to educate students online,” Volkar said.
Written by: Ellie Lee — city@theaggie.org

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