Coronavirus: Ventura Unified finalizing back-to-school options for parents, students

The Ventura Unified School District is preparing learning plans to present to parents and students as the new academic year approaches.

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Friday, July 10, 2020
Ventura school district prepping robust set of back-to-school options for families
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BACK-TO-SCHOOL SOLUTIONS: Roger Rice, the superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District, compares the complexity of planning for the return of school during a pandemic to solving a Rubik's Cube. But says, they will have options for parents and students.

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- The start of the fall school year is just weeks away in Ventura County. And now the Ventura Unified School District board faces the tough task of deciding how to plan for a return to learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"First and foremost our families really want their kids to go back to school," said Sabrena Rodriguez, the Ventura Unified School District school board president.

The school board has been meeting to finalize plans to make sure it's safe for teachers, staff and students. Literally, to return to the district's campuses.

According to the board, most parents are telling board members they want their children to return to their neighborhood's schools.

"They want the magic and the sparkle that happens in the classroom with a qualified teacher. Those are the people who inspire our kids to learn and can engage them. So they want them in school as much as possible," said Rodriguez.

RELATED: Academic, mental and physical benefits of in-person school outweigh virus risks, pediatrics group says

So how do you do that for high schools, middle schools and elementary schools? One size does not fit all.

"It's extremely complex. I mean if you can think of a Rubik's Cube where one side is the educational needs of the child. Another side is the social-emotional learning needs of the child. One side is transportation, another side is nutrition services, another side is technology and broadband, and they don't all play nice in the sandbox, so it's an extremely complex challenge," said Roger Rice, the superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District.

Some options are already in place, like home schooling. That's been an option for years. Then, there's the online option. The third option is what's being finalized. Some students would spend some time on campus, the rest at home - what they call distance learning.

The 2020-2021 school year will not be the same as in years past.

"That's part of the challenge we're facing is putting together a robust set of options so our families and our kids can make the choices that they need to make. Whether they prefer to be in distance learning or a hybrid situation," said Rice.

Ventura Unified says it'll have its final set of options for parents to choose in a week. School is scheduled to start on Aug. 18th.