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Lucia Mar Unified School District prepares for the impacts of Covid-19 could have on the upcoming school year

LMUSD Fall School Year Preparations
Posted at 4:22 AM, Jun 25, 2020

It's summer vacation, but the countdown to the new school year is already on for Lucia Mar Unified School District.

"San Luis Obispo County Health Department is going to be a big player in whatever school looks like for us, they will have to approve our plan," Andy Stenson, Lucia Mar Unified School District Superintendent, said.

Stenson is the current Superintendent but will be resigning from the district on June 30. He says there are three options on the table when school resumes in August. The first is to bring back students in full with county health regulations in place, Stenson says.

"The second position would be if we're required six-feet of social distancing at all times and the only way we can achieve six-feet of social distancing in the classroom is to essentially split the classroom in half," Stenson said. "In that scenario, we could end up where half the kids come in the morning and then they go home, they disinfect, and then the other half kids come in the afternoon."

Jeff Baker, the supervisor of custodial and grounds for the district, has already started using a disinfectant machine that can mist up to three gallons of disinfectant at a time. The machine will be used at schools across the district to disinfect classrooms between classes.

"We have a neutral disinfectant that we've sprayed on all the tables, the doorknobs, all the high touch areas," Baker said.

Stenson says social distancing will be maintained and supervised throughout the school day whether it's out on the playground, or entering or exiting the campus, or physical education.

The third option for students would be full distance learning, which is what schools have been doing since March when schools closed due to Covid-19.

"At this point, we don't think it's likely, we think we'll be able to return to full in-person instruction," Stenson said.

Whatever the situation will be, Brad Grumbles, principal at Ocean View Elementary School, says his staff will be ready.

"If the way our teachers pivoted into distance learning is any indicator of how we meet this fall, I'm confident we'll be able to do what's best for students, no matter what the scenario looks like," Grumbles said.

Stenson also spoke about the issues families might face with childcare, especially if students are going to school for half the day. Stenson says the district is planning to clear additional classrooms across all campuses so there is somewhere students can go if they are on the split schedule.

According to Stenson, the school district will be seeking guidance from the San Luis Obispo County Health Department to determine if temperatures need to be checked and face coverings will be required when school resumes. He says the school board will be meeting in July, and at that point, there will be a plan established with guidelines on what to expect in the upcoming school year.