Bakersfield School District opts for distance learning in the fall

Student Tutor
Posted at 4:48 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 21:26:49-04

The Bakersfield City School District board voted Tuesday night to begin the 2020-21 school year with distance learning at least for the first quarter of the school year.

The BCSD approved the recommendation that was presented to the board. Staff and students will start the fall school year off with distance learning, meaning all class instruction will be done virtually until the end of the first grading period.

The purpose of Tuesday's special meeting was to share the return-to-school plan.

During the virtual meeting, over 1,900 viewers tuned in and several public comments were read and an overwhelming number of parents did share concerns about returning to school in the fall.

During the meeting, the board detailed what they are calling a "Return to School Roadmap" which explained how the district will prepare students, staff, and families when they return to school.

Officials proposed a hybrid approach to classroom schedules, which included a model of physical in-class learning and virtual learning and another schedule with strictly online learning.

The presentation also included preparations for if students were to return. Officials stated they had items such as masks, sanitizers, and soap and they addressed how the district would have isolation rooms for students who have symptoms or developed symptoms while at school.

In a tweet, the Bakersfield Teachers union said: "Board votes to begin the 2020-2021 school year in Distance Learning for at least the 1st Quarter. 5-0 BCSD joins UTLA, San Diego, Oakland, and San Francisco! Way to lead in this County!"

In addition to BCSD, school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, as well as Oakland and San Francisco have opted not to reopen.

This despite warnings from President Donald Trump that he would withhold federal funding for schools that did not reopen in the fall.

Governor Gavin Newsom responded Wednesday by saying he's not worried about those latest tweets from the president and said what needs to be addressed is the safe reopening of schools.

"What we need to address is safely reopening the schools and we need to make that a foundational principal. That to me is non-negotiable," said Newsom. "We have to safely reopen our schools, and we also have to reconcile and that's all non-negotiable and that is we must insist upon learning at the beginning of the school year."