DJUSD campuses are now open to students, but families can choose to continue distance learning
Starting April 12, the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) moved to Phase 4 of their plan to return to campus and started holding in-person classes five days a week, according to a message from Dr. John A. Bowes, DJUSD Superintendent.
Before spring break, families were able to select whether they wanted to continue with distance learning or return to in-person instruction. For in-person participants, the DJUSD website describes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have updated guidelines for physical distancing in the classroom and for students wearing masks.
Students’ chairs can now be only three feet apart in the classroom as opposed to the previous six, provided that mask-wearing is enforced, according to the website. When students are unmasked, such as when they are eating, they have to be six feet apart. Staff should remain six feet away from other students or people when possible.
North Davis Elementary School Principal Sarah Roseen provided more details about the school’s reopening plans.
Roseen explained that starting on Monday, April 12, students were able to attend school in-person for five days a week if their parents decided to opt them into in-person learning. Students still have the option to continue doing distance learning, however.
All students who chose to participate in in-person instruction at North Davis Elementary School are able to do so at the same time, in comparison to staggered groups, for example.
“We actually are welcoming back all students who are interested, because we are able to accommodate them under the new guidance from the California Department of Public Health, which says students may sit three feet apart, chair-to-chair with masks on in the classroom,” Roseen said. “We will be enforcing our mask policy—all staff and students will wear masks at all times. We will enforce social distancing, and we will practice hand hygiene. Those are our big three.”
Public Information Officer for Yolo County Office of Education Anthony Volkar explained that as of April 6, some school districts in Yolo County have already been using hybrid models.
“Currently, three of our five school districts are fully reopened to in-person learning via hybrid instruction,” Volkar said. “Winters opened up on March 8, Washington Unified opened up on the 28th and 23rd—they split it between their preschool through grade 5, and then their older students, grades 6 through 8. And then Esparto as well split their reopening, but they’ve reopened on March 22 and 24.”
On April 12, the Woodland Joint Unified School District also joined DJUSD in reopening for all grades via a hybrid model, Volkar said.
The schedules for reopening vary slightly between school districts.
“For hybrid learning, what we’re expecting is, again, a partial in-person and a partial distance learning,” Volkar said. “And some of that is due to space accommodations for some of our school districts, so what they’re doing is a student would do distance learning on two to three days per week, and then in-person learning for two to three days per week.”
Volkar explained that schools are able to reopen as a result of teachers becoming vaccinated and a decrease in COVID-19 positivity rates in Yolo County.
“We know that there’s less community spread, as well as we’ve been able to vaccinate teachers,” Volkar said. “So at this time, we feel pretty confident saying we’ve vaccinated most if not all of the teachers who wish to be vaccinated.”
Generally, in the school districts in Yolo County, around 25 to 30% of students have chosen to stay entirely in distance learning, according to Volkar.
Roseen noted that distance learning has been difficult for many and that all students have had varying experiences with it, but that it has equipped students with new skills.
“I think overall, staff and students are really looking forward to being back in-person at school, and I think that distance learning—all of the new skills and competencies that our students and staff have learned along the way—are lessons that we’ll take with us moving forward,” Roseen said. “So I think there’s definitely some silver linings within it all in terms of the new skills that we’ve been able to learn and really growing together.”
Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — firstname.lastname@example.org