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Some schools return to in-person learning in Santa Cruz County

Monte Vista Christian prepping for fall reopen with help of technology
Monte Vista Christian prepping for fall reopen with help of technology

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) Testing capacity has drastically improved in Santa Cruz County, which is now allowing the option for schools to open in-person with lots of restrictions.

A total of 16 schools, including Monte Vista Christian and Green Valley Christian School, opened this week.

Monte Vista welcomed most of their more than 700 students back to campus, however are still giving students the option to work from home.

“We’re working with zoom so our classrooms, so it's pretty good technology that allows our teachers to teach simultaneously whether students are here or at home,” Head of School Mitch Salerno said.

The public school districts in the county tell KION they plan on continuing with distance learning for the remainder of the calendar year.

However, at some school districts small groups of students are back on campus.

“One thing we found when doing distance learning in the spring is we had a group of students who were non-participating, and not engaged in their learning,” Pajaro Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rodriguez said.

These are students struggling because they live in an area with no internet access, or don’t have a home where they can focus on distance learning. On campus students are broken up into groups with a maximum of 16 students creating their own bubble for students and staff.

“We have about a hundred spaces left and so we assume those spaces will eventually get filled up, but what we’re finding is students and parents are much more supported this year than last,” Rodriguez said.

The next group to return to school at PVUSD is special needs students.

Those schools that have opened campus back up will likely be able to stay open for the remainder of the year.

“Even if we move back to the widespread category, the schools that have opened up do not have to close," County Office of Education Superintendent Dr. Faris Sabbah said. "However, if there is a situation where there is an outbreak of students or staff getting sick at a school site, that could prompt the Public Health Officer or the school themselves to close.”

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Drew Andre

Drew Andre is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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