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San Luis Coastal Unified School District could return to in-person learning as early as March 4

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Posted at 6:42 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 00:03:06-05

Students in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District could return to in-person learning as early as March 4.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Eric Prater will recommend a reopening plan during the district board of trustees meeting that could get kindergarten through 7th grade back into classrooms for a hybrid morning and afternoon schedule.

The superintendent is recommending:

  • March 4: K-2nd (hybrid model)
  • March 8: 3rd-6th (hybrid model)
  • March 15: 6th graders at Los Osos Middle School & 7th-12th (hybrid model if permitted by the state​)

District leaders said they've listened to and are taking into account the many parent perspectives to decide what's best for everyone.

“Both the CDPH and CDC guidelines have influenced my recommendation to the Board of Education to reopen our schools in a phased approach starting in March 2021 as long as the metrics allow,” Superintendent Prater said in an email.

Prolonged school closures have been taking a toll on Central Coast families.

On top of being a nurse and mom of three, one Los Osos woman also took on the role of teaching her kids during the pandemic.

“I think it’s been so difficult for [my kids] especially because they got a glimpse of what school was like going to kindergarten and then not being able to really understand what was going on and why they couldn't go,” C. L. Smith Elementary parent Bethany Langlais said.

More than 230 San Luis Coastal families are on board to reopen under new state guidelines and have signed a letter written by Langlais to the district board of trustees.

"I think it hopefully gave people the opportunity for them to put their name behind something they believe in and for us to unite as one voice,” Langlais said.

The previous guidelines stated that in order for schools to reopen, the county must have been in the Red Tier for the last 14 days.

The California Department of Public Health updated those guidelines in January.

Under those new guidelines, K-6th grade can reopen in the Purple Tier if:

  • The school district gets a COVID=19 safety plan approved by the local health department
  • The county's daily case rate is less than 25 cases per 100,000 population for five consecutive days

As of February 11, San Luis Obispo County's daily case rateper 100,000 population is 19.3, which is lower than that threshold.

The proposal is bringing hope to many.

“Just knowing that our kids are going to be back in school and away from computer screens and being taught by their actual teachers is amazing,” Baywood Elementary parent Leah Bodily said.

According to state guidelines, schools serving grades K-6th may not reopen in jurisdictions with a case rate above 25 cases per 100,000 population per day.

Those same guidelines state 7-12th grades cannot open if case rates are greater than seven per 100,000 population per day.

In November, parents had the option to keep their kids in full distance learning if the school ever did move to a phase of in-person learning. This option will remain regardless of reopening plans, according to district officials.