Selma Unified’s plan for school with COVID-19

James Jensen, Reporter

Selma Unified has initiated its first steps towards reopening the district. On Tuesday, October 13th, the Selma Unified School Board met to discuss the future of this school year considering COVID-19.

At this Board meeting, they made it clear that it would not be to vote on the reopening of school, but instead would be voting on opening small cohorts. These small cohorts are made so that students who are a part of the special day class and students who have connectivity problems can be on campus to get the help they need. The first phase of small student cohorts began on Monday, October 19th.  

School reopening completely depends on how many new cases are developing in a county. As Fresno County has recently dropped into the red zone, the county’s cases are consistently staying low. However, Fresno County needs to stay in the red zone for the required number of days in order for school districts to allow reopening.

Once Counties have dropped into the red zone California will allow many things to reopen within that community. One of these things being schools. The school district however has the right to postpone the reopening of schools till they deem safe or most successful for students.

During this meeting, they also discussed how the reopening at the elementary level would look and take place. Selma Unified did file the TK-6 waiver in case this did not happen. The schools were hoping to have this and be able to be reopened by November 9th. There were two options put before the board for what school would look like. 

One would be a hybrid model where students would have two full days in person learning and three days of asynchronous learning. With this, there would have to be teachers who stay on online teaching and teachers who teach for the in-person students. The major downside to this proposal is that many classes would have to be re-rostered because the teacher cannot teach live and on zoom at the same time for the students who choose 100% distance learning. So the students would have new teachers rather than the ones they’ve had for the last 12 weeks. 

“On Mondays, teachers may also engage with students to provide additional  tutoring and online support” Said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tanya Fisher

The second and more popular option was a split day schedule. With this schedule, the school would be Tuesday through Friday, but with two sets of students:in person and online. The students who return to in person learning would go to school during the morning secession and receive a “grab and go” lunch to take home. The students who weren’t at school in the morning would be doing either an intervention, music, or other extracurricular class during that time. In the afternoon it would switch so the students going to school in person would be doing their intervention, while the other students would start class via the remote learning platform. This is the more popular option because the teacher will see every student every day, and it would only be one lesson plan for the teacher. Based on survey results as of Tuesday, Oct. 20th, over 50% would like to remain at 100% distance learning, while the rest would begin in person.

“In order to know what is right and safe to go back we need to try, or we are never going to know what we need to do to be back on campus safely,” said freshman Abigail Tela.

The high school and middle school level has had no further discussion on what it looks like beyond what was discussed 4 months ago with the introduction of the hybrid model. The only change has been a proposed reopening date of January 15th for the spring semester. Some students have frustrations because school districts in Fresno county have already reopened their schools, Kingsburg, SJM, and Immanuel have reopened.