The Los Altos School District (LASD) will begin a physical return to campuses on Monday, September 21.
The District will implement an “opt-in” program, where students and parents may decide whether they want to participate in a hybrid model or continue full distance learning. In the hybrid model, students will spend three days on campus and two days participating in distance learning. This model will be followed throughout the year, and students will be given the option to switch programs every six weeks. Both programs will maintain a similar curriculum.
Students will be kept in small cohorts throughout the day and will be expected to remain in these cohorts at all times in order to minimize contact with outside groups and prevent large scale spreading events.
“The cohorts are sort of the key — the masks prevent spread from person to person and the cohorts prevent the sort of superspreader event where one case becomes 50 cases,” Board President Brian Johnson said. “That shouldn’t be able to happen in our schools.”
After a two-week period when the District will notify parents of the decision and prepare classrooms for in person learning, LASD will begin by sending special-needs students back to campus, as the District believes they benefit from in-person learning the most.
The District will open the program to additional students based on ascending grade level, beginning with the youngest students going up to students in the third grade. No further plans have been officially stated, though Johnson did say he hopes to bring back all elementary school students within six months. The plan may evolve over time, but students are currently expected to wear masks and social distance within the classroom as much as possible, but will be given breaks where they can take off their masks outside.
On a broader level, the District will be taking numerous precautions to maintain the safety of students. LASD plans to hire additional custodians in order to more thoroughly clean each classroom daily. All students and staff members will be tested for the novel coronavirus before coming onto campus. Additionally, students will be immediately sent home if they report being symptomatic; if a student or staff member tests positive for the virus, the District will conduct contact tracing in order to identify all those affected and will take the necessary precautions.