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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

San Gabriel Unified prepares for possible reopening with ‘Return 2 Learn’ plan

    By Halle Fukawa | Editor in Chief

       During the week of Sept. 13, the San Gabriel Unified School District implemented the beginning of Phase 2 of the 2020-2021 SGUSD Safety and Return to Learn Plan. Despite the fluctuating numbers of infected Covid-19 patients in the Los Angeles area, SGUSD intends to move forward with the plan as the Los Angeles Department of Public Health permits. 

       The Return to Learn plan consists of four phases. Phase 1 is the Virtual Academy, which is entirely online, and is where all schools in the district currently are. 

       Phase 2 will only bring back students in need of in-person instruction and support, which includes special education students, English-language Learners, and the elementary school students. These students would spend two days of the week learning in classrooms on campus, and spend the other three days learning virtually.

       Following this, Phase 3 is planned to bring back all students, who wish to return, for two days each week. 

       Phase 4 is a complete return of all students for on-campus instruction. 

       “We are hoping that [Phase 3] will be [confirmed] within the next few months, but it’s unclear at this point,” stated Superintendent Jim Symonds. “Students and teachers will be required to wear masks, social distancing will be required, and other safety measures need to be in place.”

       According to the “2020-2021 SGUSD Safety and Return to Learn Plan” on the SGUSD website, all decisions and future safety protocols are and will be based on the guidelines released by the California Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Education, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

       Due to the constantly changing reports on Covid-19 from these sources, the Return 2 Learn plan is also prone to changes. 

       “Any plan that is created has to be flexible and adaptable, so the work never ends,” stated Gabrielino Principal Sharron Heinrich. “It has been daunting trying to figure out how to bring 1,652 students back to school safely. The questions and needs are endless, but we will address every single one to ensure our community is safe to return.”

       Principal Heinrich explained that the two committees in charge of discussing the plan are the Distance Learning 2.0 Committee, which consists of teachers and administrators who develop ways in which the Virtual Academy will operate, and the SGUSD Reopening Task Force, made up of parents, teachers, students, administration, and other community members. The latter created the Return 2 Learn plan. 

       “I think the Hybrid model will be safe and I am planning on sending my children to in-person classes,” stated Cyndi Chiou, member of the Task Force’s Parent Advisory Group. “I am confident that once the State and County Health Departments say it’s safe to transition, our district will do their best to […] keep students, teachers, and staff safe on campus.”

       Chiou also stated that parents who wish to stay informed should join virtual meetings held by parent groups like the PTSA and the Parents as Partners Workshop series. 

         “I really do want to go back,” stated senior Eric Zhang. “I think that going back to school [in-person] would really help bring back the energy and motivation I need as a senior […] taking away the interactive labs and my last year with my friends is the worst combo.”

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    San Gabriel Unified prepares for possible reopening with ‘Return 2 Learn’ plan