CUSD to discuss preparation for return of middle school

Parents drop students off early morning at Castaic Middle School. Gilbert Bernal / The Signal

With elementary school students back on campus, the Castaic Union School District’s board of trustees plans to discuss a return date for middle school students, once it’s allowed in Los Angeles County. 

CUSD officials are set to meet March 11 to discuss having a hybrid in-person and distance learning model for students in grades seventh and eighth, once they’re eligible to return. 

“Parents have the choice to remain on distance learning, if they choose to,” said superintendent Steve Doyle. “This is more challenging because middle school students have more than one teacher. Students are to remain in small stable groups of 60-80 students with three to four teachers. It’s definitely a challenge, but we are trying to work through it.” 

Middle school students are unable to return to campus until Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 adjusted case rate is below 7 cases per 100,000 residents and maintains that rate for a minimum of two consecutive weeks. Once the county meets that threshold, it can move out of the purple, or most restrictive, tier and into the red tier, permitting middle school students to return to campus. 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials announced Monday the county is preparing to meet the threshold and move into the red tier, with the county’s adjusted case rate being 7.2 cases per 100,000 residents earlier this month. 

Public Health officials are requiring school districts to post their COVID-19 safety plan to their website five days before the planned reopening date, which CUSD has had posted in order to comply with the reopening of elementary schools. 

“Our sites, including Castaic Middle School, all had student cohorts coming on campus since the beginning of October, so all the health and safety protocols have been in place,” Doyle said. 

The district recently welcomed back elementary school students with a scattered return after the county’s adjusted case rate dipped below 25 cases per 100,000 residents in February. 

Public Health is also recommending school districts to have a qualified person examine HVAC systems to ensure they function properly. 

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