District will use WestPac Labs for COVID-19 testing

PASO ROBLES — Bauer Speck Elementary School Principal Shanna Ray provided an update Tuesday, Oct. 13, to Paso Robles Joint Unified School District trustees on how her school was doing in distance learning.

Ray shared videos of students presenting their assignments, how a reflection in a mirror works, and a small group of kindergarteners doing a lesson activity on letters.

The update came on the heels of last week’s special meeting when trustees approved the District’s hybrid reopening plan. The District is seeking an elementary school waiver for in-person instruction and is submitting its hybrid plan to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department for review.

SLO County schools remain in distance learning until Public Health officials review their reopening plans.

Hybrid instruction would be a combination of distance and in-person instruction. The District has outlined a phased approach to reopening its schools with elementary grades returning in November and middle and high school campuses students following in January.

SLO County moved into the red Tier 2 last month, allowing schools to reopen as long as they can adhere to state and county guidelines.

There were mixed feelings from the public on whether students should be returning to in-person learning.

Paso Robles High School Associated Student Body President Presley Bodenshot called and expressed that students want to return to in-school learning. Some PRHS students followed in Templeton High School’s footsteps by holding a social distanced school day in the parking lot.

Some teachers and parents called in supporting the decision to reopen schools.

Some teachers and parents expressed concern that if they go back to in-person learning, it will not look or feel the same, and that the District is not prepared. There was a worry that it could be more traumatic for students than their current distance learning.

Many board members expressed the need for students to go back to in-person learning and have also heard from many students that they want to go back to school.

The District stated it is continuously working on bringing students back safely and that there are options for anyone not comfortable returning to school, such as their current distant learning or home school programs.

In other matters, trustees approved an Intro to Business A and B course and curriculum for Liberty and Independence high schools. The course was added within the current contract with Edgenuity at no extra cost for the District.

PRHS will also be getting a new course. The board approved the Automotive Technology Practicum. The auto course will take “students through real-world applications of the automotive industry.” Prerequisite courses needed are Auto Tech A and B.

The District received approval to enter into a one-year laboratory services agreement with WestPac Labs for COVID-19 testing. Test results will be provided within 48-72 hours of specimen receipt and subject to volume control and supply chain limitations. It was noted that four other county school districts are using WestPac Labs.

There will be no charge to employees covered by the District’s health insurance. WestPac Labs will directly bill any Self-Insured Schools of California (SISC).

For any employees not covered by the District’s health insurance, WestPac Labs will directly bill the District $100 for each COVID-19 test and $42.13 for each antibody test.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles