Schools

MVLA set to discuss reopening plans at Monday study session

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Town Crier File Photo
Mountain View High School sits largely empty as students take classes online.

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees has scheduled a new study session to discuss school reopening plans 3 p.m. Monday (Feb. 8). A regularly scheduled board meeting will follow at 7 p.m., with a closed session beforehand at 6 p.m.

At the last MVLA board meeting in late January, the trustees indicated their interest in reopening once Santa Clara County is out of the state’s highest risk tier for COVID-19 transmission. The study session will enable trustees to discuss those plans in more detail.

Currently MVLA is fully remote, with the exception of small groups of students who are struggling in distance learning, as well as athletic conditioning cohorts. The state’s guidance doesn’t allow the district to pursue a broader reopening until the county is out of the highest-risk purple tier for at least five consecutive days.

Once that happens, trustees said they want to quickly move forward with reopening. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, they suggested having students return in two groups, each on campus part-time.

The board's consensus to reopen as soon as the district is allowed marks a change in position. At a December meeting, trustee Sanjay Dave was the only one to advocate that view. At the most recent meeting, he said it was “music to my ears” to hear other trustees supporting quickly bringing students back.

One potential sticking point in reopening has been having enough staff to oversee students. Teachers’ union president Dave Campbell said at the last meeting that although teachers want to be in-person when safe, a hybrid model would be “incredibly difficult if not impossible.”

Trustees discussed the possibility of hiring other adults to oversee students returning to campus, if enough teachers were not yet willing to come yet.

“We just need to make a plan, stick with it and bring the kids back starting as soon as we can, with or without the teachers,” trustee Debbie Torok said.

Superintendent Nellie Meyer said it’s already been a challenge finding people to staff the existing small groups. The district is now trying to recruit more adults, including parents, to become substitute employees who would supervise groups of students.

The agenda for next week's study session is slated to be posted online later this week at mvla.net/Board-of-Education/Meeting-Agendas-Recordings-and-Minutes. More information on the effort to hire substitute employees is currently available on the district's homepage under "News."

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