Santa Ana COVID: SAUSD Board of Education approves school reopening plan

The Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education approved a plan for reopening schools in the fall.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education approved a plan Tuesday for reopening schools in the fall.

Parents will have the option of having their children take classes all online or a hybrid of online and in-class education.

After-school pickups will also be assigned gates by grade. The flow of traffic on campus will be more controlled.

The fall term for Santa Ana Unified starts Aug. 10.

Lupe Gomez, the principal of Pio Pico Elementary School, said the plan means there could be two cohorts of 250 each for her school. That's 12 to 15 students per classroom.

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As states grapple with how to safely start the upcoming school year, the American Academy of Pediatrics is pushing for students to be physically present in classrooms rather than continue in remote learning for the sake of their well-being.

"They would potentially come to school two days a week, and then they're doing online three days a week and then we're just flip flopping those cohorts," Gomez said.

Middle and high school students will get the option of going to class once a week. The director of communications for the school district, Fermin Leal, said that would allow for only about a quarter of students on campus each day.

"There'll be four cohorts, so the population would be divided into four and every cohort would come in one day a week and then one day a week would be for teacher professional development," Leal said.

Younger students will have to adapt to more solitary play on the blacktop.

"We're going to be putting decals... It'll say like, 'hop, jump, turn around, spin,' and it'll be six feet apart," Gomez said. "So for recess or break or physical education, our teachers would be able to then take the students out for a walk, for a run, but continuing with that six feet distancing."

Staff asks parents for their patience and opinions.

"We're going to come out with a better plan if their voices are being heard and understood," Gomez said.

The school district said as it prepared to bring back 45,000 students in 56 schools on Aug. 10, administrators shouldn't forget the densely populated city had the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Orange County.

"Everything we do, we kind of look through that lens also, that we're just in a unique situation as a district and as a city," Leal said.
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