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November 28, 2020

PVUSD’s back-to-school plan shelved, for now

WATSONVILLE—After Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday moved most counties in California into the “Widespread” or purple tier of Covid-19 restrictions—saying he was pulling an “emergency brake” on efforts to reopen the state—school districts across the state followed suit.

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Pajaro Valley Unified School District was planning on bringing students back to the classroom for a hybrid model in January, but has now delayed that move until at least March 1, PVUSD spokeswoman Alicia Jimenez said.

The PVUSD Board of Trustees will hear a detailed plan at its Dec. 6 meeting.

The move to the purple tier came one week after Santa Cruz County reported 109 new Covid-19 cases on Nov. 8, after days averaging only 20 per day.

“The rate of growth in this pandemic makes it clear that we cannot safely return to more in-person instruction,” PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez stated in a press release. “PVUSD’s contingency plan for reopening schools, created in collaboration with classified and certificated staff and administration, is intentional and thoughtfully designed to provide flexibility.”

Rodriguez added that current plans allow PVUSD to return to a hybrid or in-person learning model as soon as public health conditions are optimal. The district is continuing to create a back-to-class plan during the “emergency brake,” Rodriguez said. 

“Under the current circumstances, meaningful distance learning is what we must do to continue to ensure the safety of our students, staff and community,” Rodriguez stated.

Under the purple tier, school districts can still offer in-person instruction to “small, stable cohorts” of students with the highest need, according to a letter signed by superintendents of the county’s 12 school districts.

This includes special education students and those who are not participating in current distance learning classes.

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