ELOY — The Santa Cruz Valley Union High School District has yet to set a date for in-person learning and at least one school board member is not happy about it.

Superintendent Orlenda Roberts plans to meet with school staff in the next couple of days to develop a plan with different options on how and when to return to in-person learning.

“Dr. (Orante) Jenkins and I will be meeting with the staff to start the planning for how we will divide the kids up for hybrid and what we will need to do as far as going from virtual to in-person,” Roberts said.

While there was no agenda item about reopening the high school, the board had a brief discussion about the topic before adjourning the meeting on Thursday.

Board member Thomas Gil was very adamant about having all the students return to school at once, stating it would be more work for teachers with different learning options.

“It’s going to be double work,” Gil said. “They’re going to have to teach half the school one day and half the school the next day. There are schools going full-time already. I think we need to be in school.”

Board President Elizabeth Flores brought up the issue by saying that having all students return at once could be risky as other schools have had issues where teachers decide they do not want to return to school because it is unsafe.

“We might not have teachers,” Flores said. “Look at all the other issues on the flip side to that, bringing them all in. There is that issue where teachers are calling in or they’re not able to do class because of the situation, so that’s also a concern.”

Gil expressed his concern that with the current online model, students have two days where they only check in online and then there’s no accountability for whether they actually spend the rest of the day doing schoolwork.

“These are kids, they’re young adults but they still are kids,” Gil said. “If they can play hooky and not get in trouble, they’re going to play hooky. We need to be in school, this isn’t helping any of our kids. They’re going to fall behind; we’ve already fallen behind and we’re still behind. I don’t get how some schools can and we can’t.”

Flores noted that there needs to be some type of plan to address that issue.

Board member Richie Reyes agreed that he thinks kids need to go back to school but he is a little apprehensive as to whether the district can manage that.

“Have we communicated with the teachers on how they feel about returning to school and the additional workload if they do the hybrid or the online?” Reyes said. “Do we have a release after, in the event that a kid becomes positive or a teacher becomes positive, how do we work to solve those problems because I’m not sure we have the resources available for substitutes and where we’ll put the kids at the school?”

The Governing Board plans to have a work session prior to its regular meeting next month to discuss the school’s reopening plan.

During the meeting the board approved having football coach Rishard Davis continue as athletic director for fiscal year 2020-21.


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