DUSD to begin online classes Aug. 17

Maria Figueroa gets some information from a student who will be attending school when online classes at Douglas Unified School district begin on Monday, Aug. 17 

DOUGLAS — Students attending the Douglas Unified School District will begin school Monday, Aug. 17 with online classes.

DUSD Superintendent Ana Samaniego said the online instruction will be for all students pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade for the first quarter which runs through Oct. 23.

The decision of if the district will continue with online distance learning, or go to the hybrid model that was previously approved by the school board of two days of face-to-face instruction and three days online for the remainder of the semester, will be discussed towards the end of the first quarter.

Teachers will report Tuesday, Aug. 4 and go through eight days of training in order to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Classified staff will report on Aug. 11 and go through what Samaniego describes as four days of intense training.

“What the distance learning platform will look like for this year is all students will be doing their learning while at home through Google Classrooms,” Samaniego said. “The school will also provide free on site safe learning spaces for all students that need to go to school five days a week. They will be supervised under the school setting but the instruction will remain through the distance learning platform that the students would have been doing at home.”

Should a student need to be in school they are asked to report to the school they would normally attend, the superintendent said.

“Staff members will be allowed to take their own kids to their school and leave them at a safe learning space,” Samaniego stated.

Face masks or face shields will be mandatory for all staff and students when they are on campus unless there is an underlying medical condition. Face masks or shields are going to be the responsibility of the staff and parents. The schools will have a limited supply available should a student or staff member forget theirs or a parent is unable to provide one.

“This is a serious measure being taken by DUSD to allow everybody to be safe while returning to work and to school,” Samaniego said. “Everyday brings a new challenge with this pandemic. When you seem to have it all figured out something changes. This has not been easy by any means.”

As of right now Samaniego said students will receive 180 days of instruction. Attendance will be taken remotely and grades will be given on the assignments students turn in.

The superintendent added plexiglass will be added to all school and health offices and parents, visitors and vendors will see a difference upon visiting any DUSD campus.

“There is going to be very limited access to the school setting,” she said. “If there is an emergency or an urgent matter from a parent they will have to call the school ahead of time and let them know they are coming. This will be very different from the school closure that took place during the spring.”

“This is the most unorthodox situation I have ever seen in education at the local, state, or national level,” board president Ray Borane added. “We’re grateful we have the staff that we do. They are doing a heck of a job. This district is very fortunate to have the administration that we have, especially at the central office.”

Valley Union to start Aug. 3

Students attending Valley Union High School in Elfrida will start school Monday, Aug. 3.

“We are all set to start virtual learning on the 3rd,” VUHS Superintendent Kyle Hart said. “We are still shooting for an in person start of the 17th. Full time with all students, or full time with an A and B schedule will be determined after the state and county guidelines are released August 7. Masks and gaiters will be available to all students and staff members. As for sports, we are still holding very limited practices with drills and conditioning. We are hoping to increase our practice activities on the 17th as well.”

Hart noted this is going to be a very different educational experience for all students, parents, and staff.

“We are all continuing to learn together,” he said. “Patience will be a key attribute to have throughout this school year. I look forward to having students back on campus. Our teachers need that. Our parents need that, and most importantly, our students need that. Just need to make sure we do it in the safest way possible.”

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