Hybrid plan will be presented to trustees on Oct. 22

TEMPLETON — Templeton Unified School District trustees made it clear with a 5-0 vote Thursday night it will begin hybrid instruction at all grades on Nov. 30.

What was not clear to parents and TUSD staff is precisely how that will look, and the majority of questions and concerns from staff and residents during public comment centered on this.

TUSD Superintendent Aaron Asplund did not provide specific details on a hybrid plan but said it would be brought back for board approval on Oct. 22.

Some people questioned beginning hybrid at all of the schools on the same day. The District had previously stated it would bring middle school and high school students back in January at the beginning of the second semester.

The consensus from TUSD’s board for changing course was that they needed to do it sooner rather than later.

If Templeton Middle School and Templeton High School begin hybrid learning on Nov. 30, students would be in this model for two weeks and take finals in the third week before going on their winter break.

School districts in much larger neighboring cities, Atascadero and Paso Robles, are starting hybrid learning for secondary schools in January to allow for less disruption for the teachers and students due to extensively revising the master schedule so close to the end of the semester.

Asplund explained staff would be revising their reopening plan from July 16, that, as of Thursday night, was still posted on TUSD’s homepage — https://tusd-ca.schoolloop.com/.

The reopening plan from July had two hybrid options that were a combination of distance and in-person learning. 

• Option 1 — Students are on campus for morning or afternoon sessions five days a week.

• Option 2 — Students are on campus for a portion of Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday and alternate Mondays.

Both options would include socially distanced in-person learning with restricted gathering sizes per county, state and CDC guidelines combined with an enhanced online learning component. 

Asplund outlined “hybrid reopening milestones” and their associated tasks and dates. The District is targeting Oct. 15 to relaunch its reopening webpage that will be updated with information as it becomes available.

According to the spreadsheet, the reopening plan was currently being revised for a second time and is expected to be completed on Oct. 16. It will be presented to trustees for approval at the Oct. 22 school board meeting along with a K-5 waiver application for in-person learning.

If trustees approve the reopening plan, it would be sent to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department for review and approval between Oct. 23 and Nov. 10.

Parents and guardians would have from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1 to register their students in hybrid, distance learning or independent study. 

Concurrently, the District will negotiate with its teachers and classified unions. Asplund said they were already in discussions and set a completion date of Nov. 5. Over the next month, the classrooms will be reconfigured and needed technology will be installed.

All schools in San Luis Obispo County opened the 2020-21 school year in distance learning after landing on the state’s monitoring list and being subsequently placed in the most restrictive tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

San Luis Obispo County moved into Tier 2 of the Blueprint on Sept. 22. According to the Blueprint, once a county had been out of Tier 1 for two weeks, schools within that county can begin moving to in-person instruction.

Oct. 6 marked two weeks out of Tier 1 for SLO County and that same day, Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein announced SLO County schools could begin submitting their plans.

Schools that open during this time are not required to close if SLO County moves back to the purple Tier 1 — which is the first and most restrictive tier.

Also, trustees approved small group or pod in-person instruction for English Language Learners, special education, at-risk learners, CTE lab-based courses, and other co- and extra-curricular activities at TMS and THS. This will begin in the coming weeks.

Getting through this together, Atascadero