Hart district announces new board president, plans to not return to in-person class at the beginning of next semester

The William S. Hart Union High School District office
The William S. Hart Union High School District office

The William S. Hart Union High School District announced Wednesday that, in addition to Cherise Moore being named the new governing board president, the district plans to likely not return to in-person class sessions at the beginning of next semester.

After having to delay the return of students to campus for this semester, the Hart District has said that a return to campus for the start of the January semester appears unlikely, given the current conditions of the pandemic around the community and nation.

“The state’s blueprint requires at least four consecutive weeks in a less restrictive tier; four weeks from Dec. 14, which was this last Monday, takes us to Jan. 11,” said Superintendent Mike Kuhlman. “And since we remain in the most restrictive purple tier on California’s blueprint today, and it’s frankly unlikely that we will be removing ourselves from that anytime soon, we will not be allowed to reopen on Jan. 11.”

Kuhlman said during the meeting that the return to campus for the district’s blended learning model, which would have different cohorts of students on campus or learning online at different times, would follow a similar pattern as the one that occurred in the fall, with the hopeful benchmarks to return being tied to the academic calendar.

Kuhlman emphasized that these dates are tentative and the district will be following the safety guidelines established by the state and local health officials

On Tuesday, Kuhlman had confirmed that the cohort groups of special education students that have been going on campus since October for individualized instruction will be allowed to return to campus at the beginning of next semester, however.

Sports teams, as of Tuesday, would also be allowed to return to their small-group conditioning training in the final week of winter break, as well, Kuhlman said.

Board member transitions
In addition to announcing the plans regarding distance learning, the board formally announced Moore as the new president of the governing board, succeeding Linda Storli, who had served as the president during a year wrought with COVID-19 planning and Saugus High School shooting remembrances.

“It’s been a delight to start this journey together,” said Kuhlman of Storli. “I want to commend you, from among many things as board president, your emphasis on transparency and an effort to ensure that the community is engaged in district business.”

James Webb, a former English teacher within the district and current 7th grade parent of a Hart district student, was sworn onto the board Wednesday after he had ousted longtime incumbent Steve Sturgeon during the November general election.

“He was our man for all seasons, he was one who truly cared; there are so many reasons, for why his talents were generously shared,” said board member Bob Jensen, who had served on the Hart District board the longest with Sturgeon. “He chose a school district named Hart, he served there loyally for 21 years; the best for students was in his heart, and if you knew his accomplishments, you’d shed thankful tears.”

A special video was played during the meeting showing Sturgeon shaking hands with leaders in the community and Hart District students through the years.

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