WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) A Watsonville private school is hoping technology will help get through the health and safety challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic for the upcoming new school year.
Monte Vista Christian School still has to abide by the guidelines put forth by the county and state. But they believe using things like contactless thermometers and video conferencing can allow the school year to continue, even if the pandemic gets worse.
Classrooms come fall at the school will be different, as instruction resumes once again for in-person and on campus learning. At least, that is the goal.
"We've had four task forces and a parent task force that have been working around the clock to try to have our plans ready for school to open in August," said Dr. Mitch Salerno, the head of school at MVCS.
The school is working with companies like Zoom and DTEN to enable a seamless classroom environment using video conferencing, allowing a portion of the students to attend from home while others stay socially-distanced in class with the teacher.
"I think it'll be nice to just be able to engage with everyone and it'll feel like everyone is all together even if people are at home," said Marissa Cortes, a soon to be junior at MVCS.
Right now, the plan is to have as many kids on campus as possible, but it all depends on where we are at in the pandemic come school year.
Administrators have created a multi-level response system based on the severity of the pandemic in our area: Level 1 is normal, pre-COVID campus protocols. Level 4 means campus is closed and everyone is fully remote learning. Level 2 and 3 is a mix.
"Where half the kids could be here one day, half the next day. I think that's our worst case scenario as it looks right now. And then best case, we hope to beat that 50-50, maybe 70-30," said Dr. Salerno.
Another technology the school is utilizing for the fall are contactless thermometers, which will take the temperature of every student before they enter the campus.
"Every person.. students, faculty, employees have to have their temperatures checked," said Dr. Salerno.
You will also see the usual stuff: disinfecting stations, heavy cleaning by janitorial staff as well as encouraging everyone to wash their hands frequently.
For Gretchen Cortes, the parent of two students and who is also a staff member at MVCS, it is a school year to look forward to.
"They had a great experience the way that it was when we were kind of in crisis learning, and now we've had the summer to prepare," said Cortes, who also graduated from the school.
The school hopes to have the final plans out by July 15, which will include whether they will start out in Level 2 or 3. Families can choose whether they want to send their student to the campus or if they prefer remote learning.
Each classroom has already been measured to meet the proper guidelines for desk separation. If masks are required by the county, the school will require them as well.
PREVIOUS ARTICLE: Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville is hoping to reopen for the new school year for in-person classes this fall using several technologies to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the head of the school says they will employ the usual COVID-19 safety procedures like social distancing and frequent hand washing for students and faculty, they will also utilize video conferencing tech that can create a seamless classroom experience if in the case they need to reduce the number of people on campus.
The school has also created a multi-level response system that they will use if the conditions of the pandemic either worsen or get better.
KION's Josh Kristianto will have more details tonight at 10 and 11 p.m.