Newhall School District postpones return to school despite having waivers

Photo courtesy of the Newhall School District.

The Newhall School District decided during its Tuesday night board meeting to postpone the district’s blended learning students from returning to campuses, despite having waivers for their TK-2 classes.

During the meeting, the five trustees voted unanimously to pause their 146 dual-language immersion students from returning to campus starting Jan. 19, with a target date of return established for Feb. 16.

The vote also approved allowing special education cohorts to continue visiting campuses — which have seen staff and students following the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines — but board members also agreed to suspend a return to campus for the blended learning model students indefinitely.

The board plans to revisit the discussion on implementing a blended learning model, and using their waivers for the TK-2 grade classes, at later board meetings, said Superintendent Jeff Pelzel.

“There were a lot of people at the meeting commenting, but it was a good discussion for the Board,” said Pelzel in reference to how the decision eventually came about.

The blended learning model for the district, which would have had different groupings of students coming onto campus at different times, was scheduled to begin Jan. 19.

Pelzel said the state did not require the district to make this decision, but after reviewing a letter from Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, that was sent out last Friday, as well as speaking with their legal counsel, the district decided to put the blended learning model on pause for most students.

“We will continue to revisit it at each meeting, seeing what the latest information is from Dr. Ferrer, what does the COVID positivity rate look like, what does the ICU capacity rate look like, all of that,” said Pelzel. “We don’t want to impact systems outside of school in a negative way.”

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