Morgan Hill Unified School District is getting ready to welcome back students for in-person learning at all 14 schools for the fall semester starting Aug. 12.
All of the district’s TK-12 students will be able to return to the classroom full-time, for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic started in March 2020. Certain public health guidelines and precautions will be in place on all campuses—including mandatory face coverings indoors for students and staff, and requiring those with Covid-19 symptoms to stay home.
For families who worry that their child might still be at risk of Covid-19 illness or spreading the coronavirus to an at-risk household member, MHUSD is offering an independent study program. A new state law, known as AB 130, allows the parents of these children to request that they learn at home.
MHUSD Superintendent Dr. Carmen Garcia said in a July 29 online community meeting, that the independent study is not the same thing as distance learning or Zoom curriculums that students have experienced since the pandemic started.
The independent study program will consist of an online curriculum that each student completes at home, as well as regular one-on-one instruction and live interaction with teachers, according to MHUSD staff. The programs and level of interaction with teachers will vary by grade level.
MHUSD Assistant Superintendent Pilar Vazquez-Vialva said the district will contract with an outside school district or private vendor for Transitional Kindergarten through grade 5 independent study curriculums. Students with special needs may also enroll in an independent study.
Parents interested in enrolling their child in the independent study program should contact their student’s principal or guidance counselor, Vazquez-Vialva said.
About 100 students throughout MHUSD had enrolled in independent study as of Aug. 2, according to district staff.
For those students who choose to return to class Aug. 12 for the 2021-22 school year, the California Department of Public Health is mandating that masks be worn at all times indoors, according to MHUSD staff. The mandate also applies to teachers and faculty. Masks are recommended outdoors, but not required.
Garcia noted the high rates of vaccination in the communities within MHUSD are a promising sign that school can resume safely in-person. She urged those who have not been vaccinated to do so.
“The science behind Covid mitigation is clear in that masks work and vaccination works,” Garcia said. “As we launch the school year, we are keeping the health and safety of our 8,400 students and more than 800 team members at the forefront.”
Those who have Covid-19 or exhibit symptoms will still be prohibited from entering local schools. Parents and staff are asked to check themselves and their children for Covid-19 symptoms (fever, runny nose, sore throat, etc.) each day before leaving home, MHUSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Fawn Myers said.
Additional guidelines and precautions in place at MHUSD schools for the Aug. 12 return to class include:
– Hand washing stations as well as hand sanitizing and disinfecting supplies available throughout campus;
– There are no physical distancing requirements, but classrooms will allow as much individual space as possible;
– Air filter systems have been upgraded at each school;
– All schools offer weekly Covid-19 testing for staff. Testing is available as needed for students;
– All students will be provided free breakfast and lunch, and students are encouraged to eat outdoors;
– Students and drivers must wear masks on buses;
– Visitors are encouraged to call or email before arriving, in order to minimize interactions.
State updates grad requirements
Another new state law, passed on July 1, enables parents of students who were in grades 8-12 during the 2020-21 school year to request that their letter grade for a course be changed to a Pass or No Pass designation on their high school transcript.
The California Department of Education has provided a list of colleges and universities that accept Pass or No Pass grades on transcripts.
Furthermore, students who were enrolled in grades 11 or 12 during the 2020-21 year and are not on track to graduate in four years may be exempt from local graduation requirements, according to MHUSD staff. Those students may be required only to meet the state’s minimum graduation credits and course requirements.
Students and parents may contact their principal or counselor to discuss graduation requirement exemptions.
Anyone interested in requesting a letter grade change can fill out a request form at cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/ps/documents/gradechange20form.pdf and contact their principal or counselor.