Coronavirus: San Bernardino schools to remain online when new school year starts

Schools in the city of San Bernardino will remain empty after the school board voted unanimously to go online-only when the new school year starts.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020
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Schools in the city of San Bernardino will remain empty after the school board voted unanimously to go online-only when the new school year starts.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Schools in the city of San Bernardino will remain empty after the school board voted unanimously to go online-only when the new school year starts Aug. 3.

"It was a hard decision on one end to say we know that traditional school, unfortunately, is not going to be there for those that are either entering or transitioning," said Gwen Rodgers, school board president of the San Bernardino City Unified School District. "But when it came to the side of safety it was very easy for me."

Rodgers says while students are out of the classroom, the district is paying for them to have internet at home, and they already have laptops - a decision that was made a long time ago.

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"We had already invested in Google Chromebooks and closing that digital divide was important to us then and is important to us now," Rodgers said.

Distance learning does have its problems. Because teachers weren't allowed to lower the grades of students once the coronavirus pandemic hit, Assistant Superintendent Rachel Monarrez says about 15% of students weren't participating.

This fall, everyone will be graded.

As for when students might actually go back to campus is still not known. No date has been set and details still need to be figured out.

"We're still working through the details, and we'll be doing that with our teacher union," Monarrez says. "But the goal will be that we have students on campus half the time, and the other half they're in a virtual setting."