Board OKs plan for limited in-person classes by April

Schools start opening up in April.


Leigh High School parent Lani Albert and her daughter, Aly, protest outside of the district office Thursday.

Jiyoon Choi and Alan Schaeffer, Staff writer

At its first in-person board meeting since schools shut down last March, the district board unanimously approved a plan to move high-priority students back to the classroom in small cohorts 8 to 10 students for in-person learning, skipping over its phase two plan of providing just in-person tutorials.

An April 12 reopening date, after spring break, was established to accommodate for the complete immunization of teachers receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Principal Cheryl Lawton has already introduced a plan for phase three, targeting specifically academically struggling freshmen, English learners and students with disabilities. Each school site was tasked with providing a rollout specific to their school and needs.

Lawton said one in eight freshman students was already at risk of not graduating, with 55 earning D or F grades in four or more of their classes last semester. Additionally, to accommodate for in-person learning, teachers who taught the same classes during the same period would team up. For example, one teacher teaching a small cohort of 10 students in-person, with the other teaching the rest of their students online.

Outside the district office, parents and some of their children protested for a more complete reopening of the school by April 12, with signs voicing their opposition to “Zoom school.”

Lani Albert, a Leigh High School parent, was among them.

“My son has started saying that school doesn’t even matter anymore. And he used to be a straight-A student,” she said.

Teachers have said that they are working hard, if not harder, to make learning equitable in a Zoom environment, despite calls from parents that they are not doing enough.

In a public comment, Del Mar High School science teacher James Lucas said he was able to host more than 50 students for a recent physics review session one evening. He said that it’s dangerous for the district and teachers to be on opposing sides.

“It’s a zero sum game pitting parents and the district against teachers, and it has no winners,” he said.

We will have a more complete explainer of what school will look like next week.