Saugus school district aims for Aug. 12 start date

The Saugus Union School District office. Dan Watson/The Signal

Saugus Union School District officials are aiming for an Aug. 12 start date for the upcoming school year.

In order to do so, officials plan to offer two educational formats for the 2020-21 school year: a full-time distance learning format or a blended learning format, with some days in school and some days distance learning.

SUSD Superintendent Colleen Hawkins mentioned an Aug. 12 start date in an email to parents last week.

“Unless we are directed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) or other government entity, we will hold to this date,” Hawkins said in the email.

Hawkins said safety was the No. 1 priority, and that if parents decide on the hybrid learning model, social distancing would be practiced, as well as routine hand-washing, appropriate lunch and recess practices and appropriate classroom clearing. Masks and other personal protective equipment would be used, and additional hand sanitizer stations would be added.

“As we finalize each of the specifics of these plans and address the staffing needs they may require, we will provide families with specific information on our health safety practices,” said Hawkins. “We are hopeful that by the first part of July 2020, we will be able to provide stable, specific information regarding social distancing in school, PPE in school, etc.”

The two choices of how a student will engage with their classroom work, whether it be purely distance learning or a mix of in-person and distance learning, will be a parent choice, Hawkins wrote in the email.

The distance learning model will allow students to receive all assignments through an online platform, and students will be able to tune into lessons through livestream or recorded lessons.

The second option, the blended-learning format, will have small groups of students attend school using DPH safety precautions, Hawkins said. The number of days students will spend distance learning or doing in-person learning is still being determined, Hawkins said.

“School will be provided to allow families choice and school will implement appropriate health and safety precautions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hawkins. “By June 1, 2020, we anticipate having additional budget cut information and having additional guidance from DPH and (the California Department of Education) that will allow us to work with stakeholders in finalizing our plans.”

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