- Business Advocacy
With a massive state budget shortfall facing all California K-12 public schools and an extensive, expensive, and ever-changing protocol from Los Angeles County Department of Public Heath to keep students safe during a pandemic, the watchword for the AUSD 2020-2021 school year is “flexible,” according to Superintendent Denise Jaramillo. Some version of a hybrid program, combining in-class and distance learning, is one option. Safety is the paramount priority.
“So much is in flux — from possible funding, to the timing of funds or the lack thereof, to the encyclopedic guidelines we are being given for pandemic protection and social distancing,” added Ms. Jaramillo. “We are preparing for every possibility.”
The expense and logistics of pandemic protections at schools is daunting. Everything from small class sizes for social distancing, the need for more staffing, new instruction guidelines, and new ways to organize lunch, after-school activities, recess, and bus transportation, to universal mask wearing, temperature-taking, and constant sanitation of classrooms all must be thought through carefully.
Ms. Jaramillo said AUSD schools could open in phases and, no matter what, there will be an emergency plan in place to immediately convert all curriculum to distance learning should the need arise.
At press time, not enough confirmed details were known to give a definitive plan for the Aug. 12 re-opening. “No school year in history has been given such exhaustive thought, and never have we had to plan for so many possible scenarios,” said Ms. Jaramillo. “One thing is sure: We are being asked to provide 150% of the work with 80% of the budget.”
Ms. Jaramillo thanks the AUSD community for working together for the benefit of students. “We have seen such impressive collaboration and inventiveness and support among our parents and staff and students during this crisis.”