ATASCADERO — Atascadero Unified School District Board of Trustees met on Tuesday as the District began the 2020-2021 school year in full distance learning on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Prior to the meeting, the District sent out a survey to all parents and teachers within the community to establish a baseline as to what the majority of those working in AUSD schools or sending their children to schools feel about the board’s decisions thus far.

The District will look to re-administer the survey in the coming weeks with more questions to access how they are doing and what parents and staff want going forward, but as of now, the results were varied.

“I recommend we use this as a baseline,” said AUSD Superintendent Tom Butler. “We don’t need to make any final determinations from this now, but it is good to help inform the future decisions we will need to make as a Board.”

The survey that was sent out had only two questions. The first asked parents to identify the age of their child (children). The second asked parents to select which educational format they wanted to see their child experience given the current COVID-19 status in the state and community. The survey was also sent to staff, both classified and certificated.

In each of the three levels, elementary school, middle school, and high school, full distance learning was the top choice among the 966 parents that responded with the highest percentage coming from parents with high school-aged children at 41.3 percent. Traditional in-person schooling finished with the second-most votes for high school, with 33 percent of parents in support of it, while only 25.7 percent voted for a blended model.

Middle school parents favored full distance learning, 39.3 percent, followed by 31.1 percent selecting the blended model and 29.4 percent choosing traditional in-person instruction.

Elementary parents voted almost identically to the high school with 40.5 choosing distance, 33.3 selecting traditional, and only 26 percent for the blended model.

While the parents were more split on their decision, more than half of the teachers indicated full distance learning with less than 20 percent selecting traditional in-person instruction from both the certified and classified staff members.

Following the survey updates, Butler announced that ACE Academy, the District’s independent learning program was up to 470 students and working to accommodate more. AUSD school board meetings can be viewed on the District’s YouTube channel.

Getting through this together, Atascadero