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Elementary school parents, teachers react to Lucia Mar Unified returning in-person next week

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 01:11:21-05

It's back to in-person learning next week for elementary school students within Lucia Mar Unified.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the school board gave the green light for transitional kindergarten through sixth grade to reopen.

"This is something we've been fighting for, for months now," said Parent, Katie Morris.

It's a phased reopening, starting with tk and kindergarten on Wednesday, February 24. Grades 1 through 3 will start on March 1. The remaining elementary students go back March 8.

"The first day of school is going to look very different than it's looked in the past," said Paul Fawcett, Lucia Mar Unified Superintendent.

Students will be assigned to an a.m. or p.m. schedule.

"I was advocating for the full day," Morris said. "The hybrid model is a start."

"They will attend school Monday through Thursday in their assigned cohorts and Friday's are an asynchronous day where they log on to do an activity with a teacher in the morning," Fawcett explained.

In the afternoon, they will do more school work at their own pace.

But Parent, Israel Garcia is opting for his first and fourth graders to continue distance learning altogether.

"For us personally, it creates more of an inconvenience where the kids are only going to go two to three hours for school," Garcia said.

Working parents agree that coordinating rides is going to be a struggle.

"And also, the fact that they will only be in class 40% of the time so there's the concern of what will they actually accomplish," Morris said.

Cody King, President of the Teacher's Association and Nipomo High School P.E. Teacher, says the start date is a quick turnaround.

"I am alarmed," King said. "We were definitely hoping that it would be a slower timeline so we would have a better chance of having access to the vaccine before those lower grade teachers return."

While middle and high schoolers will remain at home, some parents are hopeful they will return soon too.

"I mean, nobody wants to have their children failing a class or all of their classes but at this point that's the least of my problems," said Parent, Shannon Galvan. "The mental health is a much bigger issue."

I'm told about 900 students have been taking advantage of small in-person learning pods within the school district since October.