Secondary level students will now return under hybrid plan on Jan. 5

TEMPLETON — Templeton Unified School District trustees pushed back the reopening of school for middle and high school for hybrid learning to Jan. 5 at Thursday’s meeting.

The school board reversed course after hearing from 36 people — mostly students, teachers and parents — via email or Zoom, the vast majority saying the previously approved Nov. 30 start for hybrid learning was rushed.

Trustees agreed.

“I don’t think we got the time right,” said trustee Nelson Yamagata before voting to reopen TMS and THS on Jan. 5. “We are jumping the gun here. It’s not a natural breakpoint. I’m sorry.”

Trustees had unanimously voted to reopen all TUSD schools on Nov. 30 at their Oct. 8 board meeting and apply for an elementary school in-person waiver.

The board voted on Thursday, Oct. 22, to not alter the return date for its elementary schools, and approved its elementary school waiver and reopening plan. Both will be sent to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department for review. The elementary schools are still slated to reopen Nov. 30.

If Templeton Middle School and Templeton High School began hybrid learning on Nov. 30, students would be in that model for two weeks and then take finals in the third week before going on their winter break.

Jan. 5 is the start of the second half of the school year and many felt it would be less chaotic for students and staff to start on this date.

All schools in San Luis Obispo County opened the 2020-21 school year in distance learning after landing on the state’s monitoring list and subsequently placed in the most restrictive tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

San Luis Obispo County moved into Tier 2 of the Blueprint on Sept. 22. According to the Blueprint, once a county had been out of Tier 1 for two weeks, schools within that county can begin moving to in-person instruction.

Oct. 6 marked two weeks out of Tier 1 for SLO County and that same day, Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein announced SLO County schools could begin submitting their plans.

Schools that open during this time are not required to close if SLO County moves back to the purple Tier 1 — which is the first and most restrictive tier.

TUSD released its reopening plan to the public a little more than 24 hours before Thursday’s board meeting. Several people commented on the plan, saying it did not provide enough detail. District staff said the plan would be fleshed out in time for parents to make an informed decision.

Parents can choose between hybrid, distance or alternative learning options for their students.

Hybrid learning combines face-to-face instruction with online learning. In the context of coronavirus school reopenings, a hybrid model reduces the number of students on campus by moving some of the course delivery online.

TUSD’s hybrid plan for TK-2 is to have kids on campus for four half days — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. There will be two cohorts of students, one will be on campus in the morning and the other will be on campus in the afternoon.

Grades 3-5 will be divided into two cohorts — A and B. A will be on campus Monday and Thursday mornings. B will be on campus on Tuesday and Friday mornings. This schedule was proposed for middle and high school.

Wednesdays will be completely distance learning for all grade levels.

Cohorts will be determined by alphabetical order.

For more information, on TUSD’s reopening plan, visit online https://tusd-ca.schoolloop.com/.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles