The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) board unanimously approved Thursday a plan that would allow parents to select from virtual or in-person learning for the 2020-21 school year.
After hearing from parents and staff via surveys, PUSD determined some students were eager to return to in-person classes while others preferred to stay home and continue with distance learning. The district considered a blended model of the two, but it determined the plan would not be feasible due to its cost and impact on students.
For that reason, PUSD will present two possible learning models for students, parents and staff to consider, according to the meeting’s agenda.
One learning model will allow students to continue learning from home with daily interaction with their teacher online. The other model will be on-campus learning with safety guidelines in place that satisfy state and county protocols.
The virtual model would be different than the distance learning that was established as an emergency protocol at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, providing for more interaction with teachers.
The board said students who choose to learn virtually may be able to participate in extracurricular activities remotely as well, but sports may be less feasible.
Virtual students could still participate in arts programs and physical education and would have an opportunity to access many more materials from campus than they did than they did with the distance learning model, the board said.
Parents will have the opportunity to select which model they would prefer for each individual child in a survey that will be sent in July.
Also at Thursday's meeting, the board adopted a resolution to reaffirm their commitment to fighting racism and correcting systemic inequity.
The resolution states PUSD's will confront biases within the district and will seek resources to meet the diverse demands of their student body, but several public commenters who wrote into the board urged members to detail the specific action they would take to support the resolution.
Board Member Dr. Darshana Patel said she and others were moved to create the resolution after talking with participants at recent racial inequality protests and after seeing an outcry from anonymous students on an Instagram page called "Black in PUSD," which detailed students' experiences with racism.
NBC 7 Spoke with the creator of the account, who wants to remain anonymous.
"We want to make sure these policies are implemented by each school we need to make sure these policies aren't just implemented on paper," the creator said.
Almost every public commenter urged the board to release the specific action they would be taking to address racism and to present a timeline for when action would be taken.
"I've seen racism thrive within our district and there never seems to be any consequences for these actions," wrote one public commenter. "The victims should be heard and these situations need to be dealt with with a much higher force. It is time to make a change."
"Being black in PUSD can be a nightmare and has been a nightmare for so many POC students," another said.
The board plans to meet with the students involved in the Instagram account next week to discuss how to best implement their new goals and when.