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Going back to campus in the midst of the pandemic: what lies ahead

a man with face mask

Ready to go back to school? Here’s what to expect when attending in-person classes during the pandemic.

La Cañada schools reopen for the 2021-22 school year

The La Cañada Unified School District has announced plans to return to the five-day school schedule with in-person classes starting Aug. 16, assuming that COVID-19 cases remain low.

This comes after WHO Director of Health Promotion Schools Dr Ruediger Krech announced in December 2020 that “schools can reopen safely”and that any move to resume in-person classes should be data-driven and with safety measures in place.

Superintendent Wendy Sinnette discussed what instruction will look like in the coming months during an online LCUSD Governing Board meeting. Here’s what student, staff, and parents can expect this fall:

  • Schools will no longer have stations for temperature checks.
  • Schools will have isolation rooms for symptomatic individuals.
  • Staff and students are still required to wear masks indoors. However, special ed students are exempt.
  • Staff and students are not required to wear masks outdoors on campus though frequent hand washing and social distancing are strongly advised in the cafeteria and hallways.
  • Students will no longer be placed in cohorts to keep them separate from other groups.
  • Classroom setup has eased and student chairs will be placed only three feet apart. The teacher’s workstation will be placed at least six feet away from students in observance of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s requirements.
  • Extracurricular activities like choir, band, choir, and theater may only take place outdoors at the moment.

Sinnette made it clear that the safety of students and staff is LCUSD’s top priority, but that parents must do their part in mitigating the spread of diseases by following LCUSD guidelines to decide whether their child should stay home. She also reminded parents that the pandemic situation is fluid and that safety guidelines can change at any time.

Extra safety precautions as in-person classes resume

LCUSD has a robust Exposure Management Plan in place to ensure the safety of students and staff. This plan includes surveillance testing for staff. The district has partnered with Extreme Urgent Care for initial testing and the Department of Public Health for routine testing every two months until further notice.

If staff or the entire school must be quarantined because of COVID-19 cases, students will return to the Virtual Instruction Model:

  • Elementary schools will follow the Hybrid instruction model in a virtual setting.
  • Secondary level students will maintain their existing schedule, but will be 100% virtual.

Get updates on LCUSD’s exposure response management plan.

LCUSD is also looking into a virtual learning option for the coming academic year after more than two dozen families expressed interest in this learning model in May.

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