OPHS students to return to school 4 days per week

After spring break grades 9-12 only will be on campus Monday-Thursday

Grades 9-12 are set to return Monday-Thursday to school beginning April 12. All students who signed up for Hybrid learning are obligated to attend Monday through Thursday. Superintendent Dr. Tony Knight sent out a Student and Parent Square post addressing the new changes. This decision follows the recent change in the CDC’s guidelines regarding in-person learning. 

“CDC now recommends that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings,” the recent CDC press release reads.

By Monday, March 22, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Ventura County Public Health (VCPH) had approved the CDC’s new guidelines. Teachers are still expected to stay 6 feet away from students.

This decision was made possible due to the under-enrollment of high school students in hybrid learning. Only roughly one-third of the student body (424 students) opted for hybrid learning, while the original hybrid learning plan was designed to accommodate half of the student body. 

“Monday the 22nd was the day we were just opening the secondary schools for hybrid,” Knight said. “At the same time that we’re doing that, we’re scrambling around and we’re measuring the classrooms again—going through the whole process again—and looking at our numbers.”

After examining the classroom area and number of students, it was concluded that the K-8 schools would not be able to combine cohorts in compliance with CDC guidelines, but that the high school could.

“We also have bigger problems at the elementary schools. For example, the children already must be monitored by yard supervisors and be watched constantly when they eat,” Knight said.

Classrooms were not the only limitation that the administration had to consider when making the choice to bring in both cohorts concurrently. The CDC’s new guidelines still require that students maintain 6 feet of distancing when outside of the classroom, including during lunch.

“There are not enough tables to keep students 6 feet apart while unmasked and eating. So, we’ve ordered some large marquee tents,” Knight said. “They will be erected on the Great Lawn.”

The students will stay fully virtual during Friday Connect periods.

“The teachers still have their hands full. They’re trying to teach kids at home and kids at school,” Knight said. “Teachers need the extra time for planning and organizing their lessons.”

The announcement emphasized the importance of student safety during this period of change. The students can contact the high school administration if any occurrence prevents their eligibility. 

“We are planning for a normal school year next year, hoping that things continue to improve at their current pace,” the announcement read.