WSCUHSD approves COVID-19 Safety Plans to reopen in hybrid model in mid-April

By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, Sonoma West Times & News, April 6, 2021

On March 30, the West Sonoma County Union High School District board approved the COVID-19 Safety Plans (CSPs) required for each of the district’s three schools to reopen in a hybrid model in less than two weeks. The trustees also authorized facilities director Jennie Bruneman to purchase roughly 450 laptops for the incoming freshmen this fall to use for their four years in the district.

All schools will offer COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis, though not required, according to Beal. The principals of each school presented unique aspects of their CSPs and the dates of upcoming webinars for families to review the reopening process.

Principal Shauna Ferdinandson said Analy High School would host a webinar April 8 at 5 p.m., that will be recorded and posted to their website. She said the webinar would include pictures of designated school entrances and review how families can get the ParentSquare app, used to report any symptoms of infectious illness.

According to Bruneman, district families will use the ParentSquare app available through their Aeries account’s information system for either parents or students to fill out the questionnaire.

It’s available as a mobile app, although students can access ParentSquare through their Chromebooks if they do not have another device, she said. According to Trustee Angie Lewis, the app is fairly user-friendly, adding her younger children use it for school.

Principal Matt Dunkle said El Molino High School would host its webinar April 7 at 6 p.m., while Principal Allie Greene said Laguna High School’s webinar is planned for April 12, though she did not say what time.

Families will receive ParentSquare communication in their preferred language as marked in their Aeries accounts that offer at least 42 languages overall, Bruneman said.

Superintendent Toni Beal said the trustees need to post the plans onto the schools’ websites and make them available to parents at least five days before the April 12 target reopening date. in the county.

According to the March 30 agenda, a CSP is composed of two parts – the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) and the COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist. According to the agenda, the board already approved the district’s CPP, and the superintendent sought approval for the site-specific CSPs that night.

“I think kids are going to be so excited to be back that they’re going to do whatever it is they need to do and they have to, to toe the mark and be able to get back in the classroom,” said Vice Board President Jeanne Fernandes after Ferdinandson’s brief presentation.

Principals share unique reopening details per school

Both Analy and El Molino principals noted that their CSPs share much in common, although some details are site-specific. Links to each school’s CSP information is available through the March 30 agenda here: https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/SB_Meetings/ViewMeeting.aspx?S=36030891&MID=6300

According to their safety plans, the two comprehensive high schools will divide their student bodies into A and B stable groups, with only half their student populations allowed on campus per day.

The safety plans for Analy, El Molino and Laguna require students or their parents — and school staff — to fill out a ParentSquare app survey on any symptoms of infectious illness from home before heading to campus. Their plans also advise students and families to arrive 20 minutes early to avoid crowding at entrances.

Analy and El Molino students that pass their temperature checks and health screenings upon arrival will receive a wristband of a different color each day, per their CSPs, “and that will be a signal for students and staff and everybody else to know that, okay, this student has come through the right channels,” Ferdinandson said.

Full-time distance-learning remains available to students. El Molino’s CSP information said all in-person classes would be projected to the stable group not attending classes on campus and Analy’s information specified classes would be available through Zoom.

Analy will have three different stations for students to enter and exit campus, Ferdinandson said. The first will be located at the front of the school, the second beside the school’s large gym and the third will be situated by the student parking lot, she said.

The principal said individuals have already been scheduled to staff the entrances and exits and students will present their ParentSquare symptom surveys on their smartphones or fill out paper copies that will be available.

Ferdinandson thanked the custodial staff for their work. “We have all the markings on all of the doors, the floors have been marked with six foot reminders and also with directional arrows where we have deemed directional arrows being needed so students know how to leave the classroom,” she said.

One community member said the arrangement seemed to have students move through the Analy campus like a herd of cattle and asked how much of the safety plan was required by the state compared to the district.

Ferdinandson said the school was following all state and county reopening guidelines and that Analy recently welcomed back its small cohorts in the same way and received positive feedback from families and teachers.

Next, the El Molino principal said Ferdinandson covered much of the safety plan details, but the Forestville campus would have two entrances and exits instead of three. Further, Dunkle said El Molino would not use directional markers because the campus does not have indoor hallways.

Robin Leone thanked Dunkle during public comment for mentioning how open the El Molino campus is, saying this makes the campus safer “and it’s really one of those things I wish the board would take into consideration when deciding where to crowd 1,700 students long-term.”

Laguna High School is limited to one entrance, Greene said, but that she was otherwise looking forward to greeting each student heading in alongside the school’s office manager. According to Laguna’s CSP information, students would enter campus through the front of the school for health screening.

She said fewer than 40 students said they would be returning to in-person learning, so all of them would be allowed to attend the campus each day. Laguna students will attend two classes in-person per day and the other two over Zoom, she said.

Greene also announced 18 Laguna students graduated from the program that day.

Leah Woody, who works in the College & Career Center for both El Molino and Laguna, expressed praise for the graduates and the school’s teachers and staff. She said the number of FAFSA and junior college applications completed was much higher than in previous years.

Board greenlights laptop purchases for incoming freshman

The board of trustees approved the NASPO ValuePoint purchase agreement with Trafera LLC so Bruneman could purchase about 450 laptops and supporting equipment and services from Trafera for incoming freshmen.

“There will be defrayed costs at the end of their four years and they will be able to purchase them for a dollar if not given to them for free,” she said.

Bruneman said the district did not want to repurpose seniors’ laptops because it wanted the devices to last four years, at which point they tend to “peter out,” according to Bruneman. “So those Chromebooks from the seniors returning them will go into the classrooms to supplement any forgotten devices,” she said.

This article was produced by Sonoma West Times & News, the hometown newspaper of Sebastopol and west county since 1889. See more news at sonomawest.com