Considerations for school officials like Superintendent Diego Ochoa with the Hollister district go far beyond whether to close schools and for how long.
“I think what’s good for the public to know is that schools are truly one of the only institutions that deal with every single aspect of a person’s life,” Ochoa said.
That means local leaders must consider such issues as the “substantial” number of children who bring medications to school for the schools to hold. The Hollister School District sent out a communication to parents letting them know how they can pick up needed prescriptions. It means schools are preparing for psychologists and mental health therapists to check in with children at home. It means a number of complexities for special education teachers and students.
While the special ed department had been working on site as of Monday, others like teachers were working from home. Administrators and secretaries were in the office, while custodial staff members were on campuses as well.
Ochoa said while the district considers extending the current closure that lasts through Friday, the county is “very luck” to have Superintendent Krystal Lomanto – the countywide superintendent – at the table with state leaders on the issue. In the meantime, the district is preparing tutorials for learning packets being sent home to students.
Then there is the question of the ongoing closure.
“I think the biggest message we have for families is to let them know we’re preparing to have curriculum available and food available through the course of the closure,” Ochoa said. “If it extends for two more weeks, we’ll prepare to have that available.”
Grading of assignments, meanwhile, has been put on hold.
“Grades and evaluations can increase anxiety and stress, and we really don’t want to do that right now as a community,” he said.