School reopening on hold, LASD prepares for remote-only start

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Local school campuses have sat empty since the coronavirus pandemic forced school closures in mid-March.

The Los Altos School District is reversing course and now plans to start the school year entirely remotely, after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new limits on school reopening yesterday (July 17).

The district had been preparing for a blended model, where students would be on campus two days a week and home the remaining three. Parents also would have gotten the opportunity to choose an all-online option.

However, Newsom ordered Friday that school campuses can reopen only if their county has been off the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list for at least 14 consecutive days. Santa Clara County has been on the list since Sunday (July 12).

“We were full steam ahead on the other (plan),” Superintendent Jeff Baier said in an interview. “Now we will pause that and start working on the details of this one first.”

Although all students will start the year online, parents will still get to choose between two program options – one where students go back to campus once restrictions ease, the other where learning remains 100% virtual for the duration of the year.

The district’s board of trustees passed a reopening plan earlier this month that prepares for reopening scenarios along a continuum from fully remote to fully in-person. Now that the state has scuttled plans for an in-person return, Baier said the district will shift its focus to the virtual end of the spectrum.

For more on the status of LASD’s planning, check out next week’s print edition.

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