The San Benito County Office of Education continues to host weekly collaboratives with all eleven school districts, charter and private schools, and our local Public Health.
Dr. David Ghilarducci, San Benito County Public Health Officer, is working closely with the collaborative to publish a Reopening of San Benito County TK-12 Schools document. The document is being designed to assist in planning for a safer reopening of schools in San Benito County.
The County of San Benito Public Health Department decision, in collaboration with school districts, to reopen school campuses for in-person instruction and to keep them open will depend on a number of factors. The San Benito County is on the watch list and may need to move forward with a Distance Learning model. Each school district is deliberating and planning for an improved distance learning model, as we move forward. The decision to implement distance learning is likely to take place in the next two weeks.
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond put out a news release today stating: “Everyone shares the desire to reopen schools and agrees that the best place for children to learn and thrive is in the classroom connected with caring teachers and staff. We also understand that schools are more than a place of learning: They provide critical necessities like meals, relationships with caring adults, and support for working parents, but we can only open schools if it is safe to do so. As the largest educational agency in the country, our stance has been consistent during this pandemic: Science, data, and safety must guide any decision about reopening a school. The health and safety of our students and staff is too important to risk.”
We understand how difficult the pandemic has been on our community and we thank you for your patience and support. The safety of our staff and students is our number one priority.
State Update: Budget Bill is Signed!
The agreed-upon budget relies on a mix of different reductions along with a more optimistic economic outlook. Schools are being held at a current funding level (no Cost of Living Adjustment) with an unprecedented amount of inter-year deferrals that are partially triggered if federal funding comes through. The new budget relies heavily on deferrals, which will delay billions of dollars in funding, pushing back payments to districts and the county office, into the following school year. This can create cash flow issues. The budget situation requires our district and the county office to remain vigilant and conservative in our planning.
An important component of the budget deal is language in the education trailer bill that pertains to new accountability requirements for distance learning. The bill calls for schools to adopt Learning Continuity Plans that address how schools will meet instructional minutes requirements through a combination of in-person instruction and distance learning.
Krystal Lomanto, County Superintendent of Schools