Local school leaders weigh options for summer school and the upcoming school year

Posted at 5:42 PM, Apr 29, 2020

School leaders in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are weighing options for summer school and the upcoming school year.

Some said they were surprised by Governor Gavin Newsom's statement earlier this week regarding the future school calendar.

“I think we were all really surprised to hear from the governor yesterday talking about a possible early school year starting in July,” said Dr. Curt Dubost, Paso Robles Unified School District Superintendent.

Others said it's important for parents to know that changes to a school year are worked out between local districts and teacher unions and are not decided by the governor.

"School starting in July or August would really be our local decision and each governing board would discuss that. I think all of the schools in our county are eager to resume in-person instruction once it's safe to do so," said Dr. James Brescia, San Luis Obispo County Superintendent of Schools.

There are, however, tentative plans to have in-person summer school for some students.

In the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, the K-6th grade program would be a four-week period on a Monday-Thursday basis.

According to the district, those plans depend on what the county allows moving forward, but registration is open and classes would begin on July 6.

The middle school program for summer school involves a "hands-on" approach and as a result, is still being worked out.

“For our 9-12, we’ve gone entirely online, all distance learning and we are having a very large number of sign-ups for that,” said Rick Mayfield, Director of Learning and Achievement for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District.

Santa Barbara County said summer plans are still being discussed, but they are mainly focused on the upcoming school year and making sure students can return to a safe environment.

“We are considering, what does it look like to have social distancing occur on our school sites?” said Dr. Susan Salcido, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools.

Both counties plan on meeting with the public health departments this week to discuss the most realistic and safest options for their students and staff.