The San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education has decided to pivot away from offering partial in-person instruction when schools return in the fall to a fully remote model that will see students continue their education from home.
A decision made in the face of a rapidly changing environment, according to district officials, the change was made due to a combination of public health concerns around the continued spread of the coronavirus pandemic, comments made by state officials and to align more closely with actions taken by other regional school districts.
"This gives us time, I believe, to go back and rethink the hybrid approach if the circumstances allow us sooner rather than later to start a phased reentry into school, to really think about how we can reengineer that approach," Board Vice President Mark Jewett said during Thursday's nearly three-hour-long online meeting.
"I feel very strongly because just forecasting what I see in the environment that it is going to be a phased reopening," Jewett added.
Just two days prior to Thursday's meeting, the board had decided to enact a hybrid model that would have seen students attend class in-person twice a week and online twice a week. That plan was scrapped as the district works to adapt to the ongoing pandemic.
After an announcement by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond on Wednesday saying most schools should maintain remote learning for the new year, district officials say that, while the ultimate goal is to have students eventually return to in-person instruction, in the current environment health concerns are too great to safely place students in classrooms.
District officials are further taking notes from regional school districts such as the Pleasanton Unified School District that already have been heading toward a remote only option for reopening -- adding that each district is affected by the actions of their neighbors, with district officials saying "the district has a social obligation to support our community as a whole."
As a part of the new plan, middle and high school students will be broken up into block scheduling for remote learning, with students participating in four learning periods a day -- pending final negotiations and input from district employee unions.
"I think as a board we have made it very clear that we want staff to be working on all the options so that we are able, based on the literal daily change, we can pivot if we need to effectively and quickly to best serve our students, our staff and parents," Board President Greg Marvel said at Thursday's meeting.
The 2020-21 school year is scheduled to begin Aug. 11.
For SRVUSD families who require technological assistance such as borrowing a computer, on Monday the district will be sending out a "declaration form" via email for requesting assistance. Those forms will be due no later than July 24.
To help residents learn more about the plan, the district has scheduled "Question and Answer Sessions" on July 22 at 12 p.m. and on Aug. 6 at 9 a.m. Both sessions will be broadcasted on the district's YouTube channel and will be recorded for future viewing. Residents can submit questions for the sessions online.
Residents can also learn more about the SRVUSD's "Reopening Together" plan online at www.srvusd.net/reopeningtogether.