Manhattan Beach Schools Approve Re-Opening EDP, With Contingencies
Aug 13, 2020 10:02AM
By Jeanne Fratello
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District's Board of Education voted on Wednesday night to reopen the Extended Day Program (EDP) for children age 3 through grade 5, contingent upon approval by Los Angeles County.
If all is approved, the proposed re-opening date would be Monday, September 14.
The program would likely run from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., five days per week. It would be limited to ten students per classroom, who would remain in the same cohort as much as possible. During regular school hours, the program would focus on giving support for distance learning.
MBUSD Superintendent Mike Matthews said that the increased staffing and salary requirements for a full-day program, plus the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional cleaning protocols, would mean that the cost of the EDP program would be "at least 100 percent higher" than before.
"I think this will be a more 'school-like' EDP," said Matthews. "It will be a reliable place where kids can go and do distance learning, and something parents can use if they need to go to work."
The board plans to put out a survey this week to determine interest and headcount for EDP, with possible preference given to children of MBUSD employees and children of essential workers.
A Wrinkle in the Preschool Plan?
The EDP plan was extended to include children ages 3 and 4 because of a potential wrinkle in the preschool reopening.
Although the board approved the reopening of the preschool last month, a new wrinkle has possibly called into question the district's ability to reopen the program.
Manhattan Beach and other school districts that operate public (as opposed to private) preschool programs are now seeking clarification from Los Angeles County on whether special education students in this age group fall under Early Childhood Education guidelines, or under TK-12 guidelines.
If the special education preschool students fall under the TK-12 guidelines, it possibly creates a conflict for the district's ability to reopen the preschool. (Private preschools that have been reopening do not receive funding for and are not required to provide special services for children with special needs. Thus their programs fall entirely under the county's Early Childhood Education guidelines.)
Matthews said that the district was still seeking clarification on this question but was hoping to get the issue resolved as soon as possible.
In the meantime, to provide a backup for parents who need the childcare for their preschool aged children, the board gave its approval for EDP to extend services to children ages 3 and 4 who might otherwise have gone to the preschool program.
The board also issued a revised set of guidelines for the preschool reopening, cutting down the class size to a maximum of 12 students rather than 16.
Similar to EDP, because of the increased costs of running the program, the district expects the cost of the preschool program to increase by at least 100 percent.
The district is continuing to seek answers on the public preschool and special needs question, with the hope of getting a verdict this week.
Matthews added that the district would also be surveying parents this week to assess the demand for preschool spots given the new limitations and additional costs.