District presents school reopening plan


Grace Goverman, News Editor

On July 14, the LOSD School Board held a work session to discuss the current plan to reopen schools for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Superintendent Dr. Lora de la Cruz opened and closed the meeting with an emphasis on student and staff safety in the reopening of schools and the importance of individual effort in preventing the virus’ spread. “The key to reopening schools… is having cases under control… it’s critical for us to adhere to the three W’s,” she said, referring to the advice of public health agencies to, “Wear your mask, Wait six feet apart, and Wash your hands with soap and water.” 

Cruz also mitigated expectations for plans to return, saying “We are [under] no illusion that this plan is perfect for everyone… However, we are excited to come to a place where we can share this idea [with the community for review]… School is going to look very different this year.” To add to the complications with the pandemic, she also noted that the district currently faces “$5.1 million in cuts” from the previous year.  


The current proposed plan for returning next year 

The current proposed model for middle and high school, known as Proposal D, includes a mixture of in-class and online teaching. Each day, students would attend four classes. Depending on their grade level, they would either attend two morning classes in-person followed by online classes at home, or receive morning instruction online followed by afternoon in-person instruction. For the in-person classes, students would be placed into small groups, or cohorts, of less than 20 students that would stay in the same classroom for both in-person classes. Rather than students switching classrooms for each period, teachers would change classrooms while students remain with their cohort. Classes would be 80 minutes long. After the two in-person classes, the students would go home for two online classes. The first class would start at 8:10 a.m. and the last class would end at 3:35 p.m. 

Students would still be taking the same classes they forecasted for, barring any usual scheduling issues. Students would take their first four classes during quarter one and quarter three, and then their last four classes during second and fourth quarter. Yearlong courses would be taught in the time of a semester. Students in the Pathways program would receive individualized plans. 


For students unable to return in person 

For families uncomfortable with sending their student to school, LOSD will have a completely online model labeled “LOSD Online Academy.” LOSD is working with Fuel Education to provide an online learning service. Students would attend the online school at home under the supervision of an adult. Fuel provides some AP classes, including, according to the Fuel Education Online School course list, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP English Language and Composition, and both AP economics courses. While Spanish immersion teaching would not be available for elementary students in the Spanish immersion program, Spanish courses are available. LOSD would continue communication with the student through progress updates and would be able to provide additional support as needed. The presentation stated that Fuel Education has abilities to accommodate students with additional needs for support outlets, such as with 504s and IEPs, with closed-captioning, extended time on tests and delayed due dates on assignments. 


In the event of an outbreak 

In the event of an outbreak of COVID-19, curriculum would change to a fully remote model somewhat resembling the final quarter of the 2019-2020 school year. The presentation stated that, should a fully online model be needed, that the staff will have had planning time and, thus, the program would be better than last year’s final quarter.


Returning to full in-school teaching

There is currently no concrete timeline for returning to a pre-pandemic model. The presenters of the current plan noted that fully returning to class may have to wait until fall of 2021 or until a reliable vaccine is created.


Despite the changes, some students are hopeful for the upcoming school year. 

Eliza Wadell, a rising senior and the LOHS student representative on the School Board, said, “like any plan it’s obviously not perfect, but given the circumstances, I like that the School Board seems to be doing everything in their power to keep students safe while also providing them with a good education…. There will probably still be some issues in my opinion, especially for younger children. For example, those who need extra help learning to read. Especially, if we go to full-online, but it seems… that everyone on the school board is paying attention to these issues and trying to come up with solutions.”

Similarly, ASB President Clark Jones is preparing to shift school activities online. “While school’s going to look a lot different… Under this plan, everyone will attend in-person class every day and… just being in the school makes all the difference. Although many of our past traditions are likely canceled, I have no doubt that we’ll find ways to forge new ones. ASB’s already had a few meetings and we’ll definitely have many more looking at ways to adapt to this new year. Assemblies, the Senate, and many other activities will likely go online. It’s going to be a lot harder, but we’ll work with what we have… Working within the state guidelines and new school structure, we’ll continue our promises that we’ve made. Creativity and communication will be vital. Next year is going to be special, but whether it’s negative or positive is up to us as a student body.”