The District Announces Plan to Return to Hybrid Schedule by March

Ania Keenan, Online News Editor

As COVID-19 numbers drop across Contra Costa County, the Acalanes Union High School District Governing Board convened Feb. 3 and rolled out their updated Racial Equity Plan for the 2020-2021 school year as well as announced a transition plan to return to a hybrid model by early March.

The finalized District Racial Equity Plan expands on changes already put in place during the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year. With the start of the 2020-21 fall semester in distance learning, students were sorted into academy cohorts in which they participated in a series of “Diversity and Equity” lessons. In accordance with the updated plan, students should expect those lessons to continue throughout the remainder of the second semester and into the start of the next school year. Additionally, the board announced plans to examine core curriculum for areas of growth regarding equity and to re-evaluate district hiring policies. 

“At the base if the curriculum that we are teaching is not coming from the right place then we are not establishing a workable base,” board member Nancy Kendzierski said. 

Student social media use was also a topic of much discussion amongst the members. The new plan hopes to limit posting of racist or biased content by students, by using sport participation, or other non-mandatory activities as incentives to keep online activities unbiased. 

“We can create an atmosphere when students think ahead before they post [on social media] that there is definitely a limit to what we can do when something goes viral on social media, we would consult with our legal counsel about what the best way to deal with the individual student would be,” associate superintendent Amy McNamura said.  

Next on the agenda was the possibility to reopen district schools within the spring semester. Given the fact that AUHSD has not been opened previously during the 2020-2021 school year, the district would not be allowed to open until Contra Costa Country has recorded five days in the Red Tier for coronavirus cases. Current projections place Contra Costa in line to register within the Red Tier by Feb. 23. Given the sharp decline in case rates, the district has set a tentative start date for hybrid models on March 3. Prior to students returning to school the district will allot a four day period between Feb. 23 to 26 to prepare campuses, staff and conduct in-person student orientation. During this time students will participate in exclusively asynchronous learning with brief check-ins with teachers over Zoom, as well as a complete safety module on canvas to confirm on-campus-protocols.   

“I’m definitely excited to get back to in person school since it’s a better learning environment and it’ll be nice to interact with people, but I’m not too convinced that everybody will follow COVID protocols as close as they should be which is concerning,” junior Andrew Sidlauskas said.