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October 1, 2020

PV Trustees approve distance learning plan

WATSONVILLE—With distance learning likely to last through the rest of 2020—and possibly extend through June—the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday tentatively approved the district’s Learning Continuity Plan, a 16-page document that seeks to standardize education for the district’s 19,685 students.

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The trustees will consider the plan for final approval on Sept. 16.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Lisa Aguerria, the draft plan has been approved by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and aligns with California standards.

District officials created the plan with input from 15,980 people in three separate surveys, Aguerria said.

Those respondents, she added, overwhelmingly asked for consistent schedules for their children.

PVUSD closed all its school sites starting on March 16 as Covid-19 cases began to increase across the globe. When district officials realized that a return to the classroom was not likely in the foreseeable future, they began to hammer out a plan that would allow them to learn from home.

“Due to Covid-19, distance learning is new for all schools across the country,” Aguerria said. 

Because of this, the Learning Continuity Plan is not set in stone, but can evolve as the year goes on, Aguerria said. 

“It is a living document that can change if we uncover planned activities that are not working for our students and our families,” she said. 

To help with distance learning, PVUSD has handed out 15,000 Google Chromebooks to its students, along with 3,000 wireless hotspots to help them with internet connectivity. 

The plan includes a three-step system for students who are not participating in the online lessons. This starts with teacher intervention, and if unsuccessful moves to a “site wellness team” that could include home calls from the principal. If that fails, a “district wellness team” would include more direct family intervention and possibly referrals to organizations such as Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance.

If students need additional support, they will attend on-campus “Safe Learning Spaces” with WiFi access monitored by PVUSD staff.

“We want to make sure we are first trying to identify all students who are not participating, and second identify the barriers that are getting in the way of why students are not participating,” Aguerria said. “Then we want to build individual support for students.”

Once in-person instruction is allowed, PVUSD will prioritize students returning to school, first bringing back the youngest students, those who are far behind in their academics, students with disabilities, foster youths, English Learners and students with socio-emotional struggles.

Two days a week families are able to use a drive-thru service, located at the district office and several school sites for Chromebook support, repair or replacement. Call 786-8324 for help.

To see the Learning Continuity Plan, visit www.bit.ly/2DRKog6

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