For months, Bear Valley Unified School District officials have worked to provide education in the COVID-19 era. Well before the school year ended, albeit a distance learning year, administrators were devising options for the 2020-21 school year. The options have been discussed, revised, discussed and revised again.

School is set to start for Bear Valley Unified on Aug. 3. A final decision as to what that will look like is not set in stone. And it’s possible the decision won’t find finality until the last possible moment due to the ever changing landscape when it comes to COVID-19 and schools reopening.

Speaking on July 10, Bear Valley superintendent Mary Suzuki told The Grizzly the plan could change at any time. The goal is to make sure students, teachers and staff are safe. On July 14, Suzuki sent out a letter to staff, parents and the community regarding recent changes. On July 13, Governor Gavin Newsom put the dimmer switch on the state’s re-opening. In light of that, Suzuki said the district is looking at hybrid and distance learning models.

On July 15, at 5:30 p.m. the school board will hear an update from Suzuki regarding COVID-19 and the options for re-opening. The basic options remain the same: Return full time, hybrid schedules or full distance learning. Based on Suzuki’s letter July 14, the focus seems to be on hybrid and distance learning.

While it’s not necessary for the board to formally vote on a concept for reopening, the board gave its consensus in early June to return students to the classroom full-time, 100 percent. At the time, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Big Bear was under 10. By July 14, there are 28 cases, with 19 occurring in the last 30 days.

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(2) comments

Littlerose29

I think that we should reopen the schools with social distancing if possible science states say kids are the very low risk of getting covid 19 and while are children are out they are feeling the affects of mental health issues there congnitive and non cognitive learnig they need interaction with peers and teachers

Kris Parde

I want kids to return to school. Distance Learning worked, but my family prefers in-school learning. My kids are in high school. They've been out and about working all summer and exposed to everything. They wear their masks and do a lot of hand washing, and they practice social distancing to the extent possible. I have continued working, albeit, I was able to telecommute for two months of the distance learning last term, and hence able to monitor my kids' participation. However, once restrictions were lifted, I returned to my job to include a daily commute off the hill with exposure everywhere, and my kids stopped sheltering at home. We are not isolating. As long as we have teachers willing and able to teach, get the kids back in class. If teachers oppose teaching in class out of their concerns of getting Covid, I will bow to the reality that without the teachers being on-board, "Distance Learning it is. I just hope the zoom meetings are daily and per class schedule. (Some teachers did not zoom teach, and others usurped time without concern that they overlapped with other zoom meetings, and most didn't follow the class schedule.)

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