At the time, the IUSD didn’t have the proper answers, well, because really no one did.
Back then, though only a couple of months ago, things felt uncertain and, as a result, students and their parents, and school teachers and staff felt uneasy not knowing what the upcoming year might look like.
With the IUSD creating new safety measures and taking extreme precautions with the virus, school in Irvine started on September 24th for students who selected in-person learning, making it one of the county’s first school districts to return to school, and things are going better than everyone imagined.
The IUSD said preparation for the reopening took months of engaging with parents, staff, students, and consulting medical professionals in the process, and even surveying families and staff regarding reopening.
Ultimately, to make sure that every student and their parents were accounted for, the IUSD provided three different options to parents regarding their children’s learning: entirely virtual learning, a standard five-day week at school, and a hybrid model splitting days of the week at school or at home learning online.
The IUSD staff truly worked around the clock planning for the 2020-21 school year, ensuring that the return of in-person teaching followed the California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency guidelines for every single school in the district. In fact, in an effort to ensure that safety was the number one priority, the districted allocated more than $21 million for health and safety measures that include upgrades to school HVAC systems, purchasing air purification units for each classroom, the addition of certified and classified staff to help reduce cohort sizes, free COVID-19 testing for staff, school and facilities upgrades, personal protective equipment, learning environment enhancements, mental health and wellness supports, and special training for staff.
The IUSD also recently rolled out a new public database for reporting confirmed coronavirus cases among its students, teachers, and school staff that lists each school’s total population and the number of reported cases, but to protect the privacy of the individual, does not provide names of the students or staff members infected.
As of right now, a little ver 22,400 students are enrolled in in-person instruction while another 13,000 are enrolled in the virtual learning system.
While it may too early to tell, teachers, students, and their parents seem to be pleased with how the district and the schools have taken on this school year.
Let’s hope that everything continues to go well and that our kids are in school, safe, learning, and, most importantly, having a good time!
For more information on the IUSD’s Opening and Safety Plan, click here.