At least a month before the start of the 2020-21 school year, the Poway Unified School District announced it will keep the educating students virtually through December break due to ever-changing reopening metrics.
Previously, the district it will give families the option of in-person or virtual learning for students during the fall semester. But on Wednesday announced that due to newly revised metrics announced by the County of San Diego, it was impossible to physically reopen schools for in-person instruction before mid-September.
"To maintain stability and continuity-of-learning for our students, PUSD will remain fully virtual through the December break (December 21-January 1), regardless of whether the in-person or fully virtual learning option was selected in the recently-completed Family Commitment Form," PUSD said in a release.
The first day of school for Poway Unified was originally scheduled for Aug. 19, but the district changed that date to Sept. 2.
PUSD has been preparing for virtual learning since spring. The district has been refining its virtual learning plans based on feedback from distance learning used during the emergency school closures last school year. The district pointed out the following:
- "Since March, we have offered extensive professional development opportunities for our teachers, with over 1,125 teachers taking advantage of professional development focusing on innovative tools and strategies to support virtual learning.
- In August, all PUSD teachers and instructional assistants will receive additional training in virtual teaching platforms and tools.
- Since April, groups of teachers have been collaborating across grade levels on virtual lessons and curriculum as well as age-appropriate daily schedules.
- PUSD will be a 1:1 device district, meaning all teachers and students will receive the necessary technology for a successful virtual learning experience.
- We are also expanding our training for staff to provide social/emotional supports for our students in a virtual learning environment.
- IEPmeetings will resume our students receiving special education services.
- We are developing parent training videos to support our families in becoming familiar and comfortable with technology and various learning platforms"
PUSD said they will be ready for a prompt and safe return to in-person instruction if permitted come January.
In the upcoming weeks, each school principal will be reaching out to parents and students to provide site-specific information.
"While the start of the 2020-21 school year is not what we had hoped, I am confident we will be able to navigate this challenging time together," said PUSD Superintendent, Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D. "Just like our schools surpassed our expectations by making drive-through graduations and promotions so personal and special for our students, I am confident our amazing and creative staff will be able to rise to the challenge to provide an opening of the school year that is memorable and successful for our students and their families."
PUSD operates 25 elementary schools, one elementary and middle school combination, six middle schools, one continuation high school, five comprehensive high schools, and one adult school. The District serves over 36,000 students and is the third-largest school district in the county.
NBC 7 is tracking how all 42 school districts in San Diego County plan to tackle the 2020-2021 school year. For now, in-person instruction is not possible, as San Diego County remains on the state's COVID-19 monitoring list.