The Palm Springs Unified School District held 2 town hall meetings for staff and parents on Thursday and Friday. They aimed at sharing what officials have been planning for the upcoming school year. The meetings were streamed on the district's YouTube page.
PSUSD Superintendent, Dr. Sandra Lyon was joined by Assistant Superintendent, Mike Swize.
“We are not quite ready to go back to normal yet and we are ready to launch the next year of instruction and keep challenging and pushing our students," Dr. Lyon said.
The district shared four models that are under consideration. The first exhibits an approach that is solely online learning. That then progresses to distance learning with limited in-person support. The next consisted of a hybrid learning approach. Officials said the option could mean alternating 50 percent of students from classes on a weekly basis. The last and final model, named 'Modified Traditional School,' meant having 5-day a week instruction with precautions in place.
"You know right now I don’t want to see my kids back in school. I feel like the cases in Riverside County are just too high right now," parent, Sarah Lewis said.
Parents have voiced their concerns over allowing their children go back to school.
"I think it’s too soon because the kids don’t know how exactly to keep the distance from their friends," parent, Yoanna Reyes said.
Several other parents in the district weighed in and asked questions via Thoughtexchange.
One question read: "If a parent decides to do distant learning, will they be able to switch to another method?"
Another question read: "Could we choose as parents what type of schooling we want for our children to attend in August?"
"We do feel strongly that parents need a choice in this climate and so ultimately that is indeed our goal," Dr. Lyon said.
Although feedback from parents and staff are heavily being taken into consideration for the upcoming school year, officials said the start of the year will be limited.
"Right now I’ll be very honest with you. We’re not anticipating that entire menu of options being available for parents and students to choose at the very beginning of August. However, it is our goal to build those models powerfully throughout the year," Dr. Swize said.
The first day of classes have been set for August 5.
"The entire district may not all be in one of these models at the same time. There could be differences based on grade level, based on programmatic needs...," Dr Swize said.
The district will require face coverings, which they plan to provide students and staff.
"We will be getting from the state, my understanding is 2 disposable and 2 reusable masks for each of our students as well as what we are able to purchase ourselves," Dr. Lyon said.
Health screenings will also be provided. Staff members will be trained on how to conduct screenings. In accordance with public h
"We’ve also been advised by the department of public health to have a space for students who are showing symptoms," Dr. Swize said.
Officials also spoke on the importance of physical wellness and reestablishing student and staff relationships.
Classes will be set up with social distancing guidelines. Officials said a rigorous cleaning and sanitation schedule will be implemented. Hand-washing stations will also be set up, along with instruction for students on the correct way to do it.
The district continues to work out the details. They emphasized the importance of needing to be ready at a moment's notice.
"We know that we may receive some public health guidance that asks us to close a classroom, close a grade level, or maybe even close a school for a short period of time and that's something that the department of public health has shared with us," Dr. Swize said. "We want to make sure our plans include that ability to flex back and forth to move to distance learning when necessary and to be able to return to in-person instruction when that's safe and feasible."