Courtesy of the Hollister School District:
The Hollister School District Board of Trustees met on December 8, 2020 to consider reopening campuses. At a special meeting held on the district’s youtube channel, the Board voted to extend distance learning beyond January 4, 2021. Several board members expressed their desire to maintain the health and safety of all children and employees at their top concern.
The Board of Trustees voted to reexamine the COVID data at their January 26, 2021 Regular Board meeting. They will evaluate COVID positive test rates, COVID new case rates, and COVID vaccination availability.
At present, San Benito County is under a Stay at Home Order issued on December 3, 2020 by the State of California. The order is based on Intensive Care Unit data and requires regions to have more than a 15% availability of beds. San Benito County is considered part of the San Joaquin region in which there are only 5% available beds in ICUs as of December 8, 2020.
One key consideration for the decision to remain on distance learning was the prevalence of COVID cases within the student population. In November, the district was made aware of 10 students testing positive for Covid, affecting 10 different classrooms at 6 different school sites. According to COVID guidelines, this would have caused a disruption in learning for 160 students as they returned to DL. Since the closed classrooms affected schools in over 50% of the district, all schools would have had to close and ALL students in the district would have returned to DL.
In July 2020, the Hollister School District is Board of Trustees voted to commence the 2020-2021 school year with full distance learning. Once the decision to commence with 100% distance learning was made, the district embarked on implementing improved technology, more WiFi access for students, training for staff, and more online curriculum.
On August 11, 2020 the Board of Trustees held a Special Board meeting in which the issue of when schools might reopen for in-person learning was discussed. Superintendent Diego Ochoa presented the Board with a proposal that called for distance learning to continue until at least November 6, 2020. The proposal called for the district to hold Special Board meetings on October 13, 2020 and December 8, 2020 to consider reopening for in-person instruction. If the Board were to approve reopening for in-person instruction, it would take effect 4 weeks after the decision is made. This is to allow parents to make arrangements for day care and work. On October 13, 2020, the Board held the first of these Special Board meetings to reconsider reopening for in-person instruction. The Board voted at that time to extend distance learning.For more information, contact Superintendent Diego Ochoa at [email protected].