Mountain View-Los Altos school district to implement a new hybrid plan


Emily McNally

This morning, the Mountain View–Los Altos School District and the District Teachers’ Association released the terms and conditions for the District’s planned return to in-person instruction. The return will operate under safety regulations provided by the State Health Department and CDPH, including face coverings, stable groups, physical distancing, adequate ventilation, hand hygiene, surveillance or screening testing and reporting symptoms and close-contact exposure.

The Mountain View–Los Altos (MVLA) School Board held a meeting on Monday, January 25, to present a possible hybrid return to the Los Altos High School campus. The presented hybrid model consists of four stages: the safe return of staff, a continuation of virtual learning, a safe cohort return prioritized by student need and the transition to a traditional form of learning. Currently, MVLA is sitting between the second and third stages.

Beyond staff returns, the MVLA district has started to send cohorts based on academic, athletic and social-emotional needs.

The state of California issued new COVID-19 guidelines on Monday, January 25, including a protocol for in-person student return to campus: Schools must be in the red tier for at least five days before reopening and submit a valid COVID-19 safety plan to the state.

Staff and students in cohorts must periodically take COVID-19 tests. Under the purple tier, students and staff must be tested every week, and under the red tier, tests must be administered every other week. The protocol under the orange and yellow tier is currently being deliberated, and testing will be accessible for students and staff through an undetermined app. The District Board will release more details soon.

The State of California also established that students and staff must stay solely within their cohorts and may not engage in multiple at once. A cohort may include an academic, athletic, club or social-emotional group. Because of the prospective number of cohorts, the District has asked for parent volunteers to help lead these groups.

“When cohorts have a ratio of 15 students to one adult, it can be very difficult to find adults to help out,” Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer said. “That’s why we’re really grateful for our community support.”

To get another perspective on hybrid return, student representatives from LAHS and MVHS presented the results of a recent school-wide survey regarding student attitudes toward distance learning. The results showed an overall trend that students’ mental health and motivation were in decline due to distance learning, with 70 percent of students saying that they would go back to school in a hybrid model if given the chance.

A majority of the parents at the meeting agreed with the conclusions of the presentation and reinforced the necessity of a hybrid model, citing the increase of failing grades in MVLA due to the distanced format.

Distance Learning Coordinator Teri Faught explained that while the number of failing grades was higher this past semester as opposed to previous ones, the amount of failing grades was almost halved by the end of the first semester due to the various types of support MVLA personnel offered. Faught also pointed out that over 85 percent of Option B students received a C or higher, establishing the program’s legitimacy.

The MVLA School Board is slated to meet on Monday, February 8, to discuss the nuances of the hybrid model and address issues brought up by concerned students and parents.