Poway school board votes to consider in-person learning before year’s end

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POWAY, Calif. — Poway Unified School District announced last week it would hold virtual instruction through the end of 2020, but board members voted unanimously Thursday to consider in-person instruction before the year ends.

Many parents had concerns and spoke out about wanting the option for in-person learning if public health conditions allow. The consideration will still look a little different depending on the grade level. 

The start of the school year for Poway Unified was already pushed to September in hopes of in-person instruction being a possibility. More than 70% of teachers wanted to return to campus and more than 60% of parents agreed.

“There’s loud voices on both ends but at the same time we have to do what makes sense for the students. You don’t want them switching partway through a quarter or through a trimester,” said Nicole DiCarlo, a teacher at Del Sur Elementary. “Maybe that doesn’t affect an elementary school teacher as much, but it starts to affect middle and high schoolers a lot differently.”

DiCarlo echoed the district’s decision Thursday night, which is to wait until the end of the first grading period for grades six through 12 before possibly transitioning back to campus.

The district will, however, try to bring elementary school students back as soon as possible.

Marti and Rob Corr, the parents of a third grader, say they’re on board even if an outbreak sends kids back into quarantine for a few weeks.

“We still feel it’s worth it. We’ll take the disruption. We would rather have him try and have them learn for a little while and then get sent home, then to just bag it,” Rob Corr said.

Meanwhile, Sharon Glassey has an incoming 6th grader and her distance learning concerns are tied to the vital programs for her daughter’s special educational needs.

“In-class learning she receives speech therapy three times a week, she receives occupational therapy twice a week, she has a one-on-one aid and a very small class size. The online learning system has not worked well for my daughter,” Glassey said.

The district was also considering applying for a waiver through the state which would allow for some elementary schools to return on campus. The board decided to postpone that decision to their September meeting until they could gather more information.

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