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Desert Sands approves bringing students back to campus four days per week

The Desert Sands Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved a proposal to bring all students back to campus four days per week instead of two. 

This will go into effect on May 3. This would not impact students who have elected to stay on distance learning completely. 

There was plenty of input of parents and DSUSD staff during the two-hour special meeting. Board members said there were more than 300 written comments for this topic.

The meeting comes after the Board decided to bring only seniors back four days per week instead of two. Some parents, teachers and students attended a rally on Friday, urging the district to reconsider the original proposal.

In response, the District scheduled Monday's special meeting to hear from teachers and families directly.

The Desert Sands Teachers Association (DSTA) has also raised concerns over how the Board made the decision.

The president of DSTA released the following letter below, explaining some of those concerns: 

April 25, 2021
Desert Sands Teachers Seek Clarity in Wake Of Unilateral
Decisions by Superintendent

At Monday’s emergency board meeting Educators and Parents will oppose the violation of a duly-sanctioned settlement with Desert Sand Teachers Association

Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) Superintendent made a public announcement on April 13 that all students would return 4 days a week beginning May 3. He did so without the necessary discussion with educators to change the agreement already in place, or before the School Board had a chance to have any official discussion on the matter. This scheduling change a clear violation of the agreement already in place.

In spite of an agreement that was put in place last fall which specifically says, “The Hybrid Learning models allows for half of the students assigned to a teacher to attend in-person learning as part of a stable classroom cohort (Group A) and for the other half of the students to attend in-person learning at a different time, as part of a stable classroom cohort (Group B), the DSUSD Board voted to bring back Seniors onto campuses 4 days a week, mixing cohorts A and B. The agreement allows the District and Union to meet and make changes as needed, but After the Board meeting on April 20th, the decision was reduced to Seniors only. But the District has pushed for a special Board meeting on April 26th to again try and push for all hybrid students to return May 3rd 4 days a week.

Desert Sands Teachers Association (DSTA) responded to a unilateral decision made by the Superintendent of DSUSD recently with a survey of its members regarding a switch from the current hybrid model, in which A and B cohorts do not mix, to see all hybrid students 4 days a week.

The DSTA survey reflects that 40% of teachers want the students back 4 days a week. The other 60%, that voted no, cite “too many transitions/changes this school year already’ along with concerns over not being able to fit both cohorts in their classroom at the same time with 3 ft of distancing. Many DSTA members also remain concerned about students who will be in Distance Learning because of only being on campus 2 days a week in the original hybrid model.

DSTA feels the District has “put the cart before the horse”, without considering the implications of violating agreements or hearing teachers concerns about the implications of those changes for students and parents.

DSTA President Trina Alesi remains optimistic despite the confusion; “Once parents and members are able to share their concerns about further calendar changes, we believe we can come to an agreement.”

What: DSTA Educators and parent speak at Monday board meeting

When: Monday, April 26, 5:00 PM

Where: District Education Center Boardroom 47-950 Dune Palms Road, La Quinta, CA

For additional information:
DSTA President Trina Alesi at Trina.alesi@dsteachers.com

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Madison Weil

Madison Weil joined the KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 News Team in June 2018. Learn more about Madison here.

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