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MBUSD Board Votes to Delay In-Person Return

Dec 31, 2020 04:26PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District has voted to delay the return of certain on-campus cohorts due to new quarantine advisories that went into effect over the winter break.

In-person learning for TK-2 and special needs cohorts will now resume on Wednesday, January 13 (instead of Tuesday, January 5). 

The motion was approved on a 4-1 vote, with board member Cathey Graves as the dissenting vote.

According to the new motion:
  • EDP will resume on Tuesday, January 5
  • Preschool childcare will resume on Tuesday, January 5
  • All TK-2 and High Need Hybrid students will resume distance learning on Tuesday, January 5
  • TK-2 in-person instruction will resume Wednesday, January 13, with the following schedule: TK-2 Cohort A students will attend in-person on Wednesday, January 13, campuses will be closed on Thursday, January 14, and TK-2 Cohort B students will attend in-person on Friday, January 15
  • High Need Hybrid in-person instruction will begin on Wednesday, January 13, and Friday, January 15 (with no in-person instruction on Thursday, January 14), and then these programs will return to their regular in-person schedules beginning on January 19. 
  • Athletic conditioning will resume on Wednesday, January 13
  • Any students or employees who are traveling outside of the Southern California area must return home and begin self-quarantine by January 3 in order to be able to participate in in-person instruction on January 13.
The board acted to make the change due to new advisories that had come out since the winter break began. 

That new information included guidance from LACDPH about travel outside of Southern California and possible impact on staffing, and a recommendation from Beach Cities Health District to consider delaying reopening for two weeks.

"Like many other decisions during this difficult time, this is frustrating news for some, and welcome news for others," said Superintendent Mike Matthews in a message to parents. "I appreciate the board’s readiness to respond thoughtfully to new information as it arrives, and I support the board’s decision."

Planned Expansion of In-Person Learning To Move Forward


The board also agreed to move forward with its planned timeline for expanding the number of days for the TK-2 cohorts to return to school. As approved, the TK-2 in-person instruction will shift to the AA/BB model (two mornings a week on campus for students and four mornings for teachers) beginning the week of January 19 according to the following groupings:
  • Monday and Tuesday mornings Cohort A on campus for learning
  • Wednesday synchronous and asynchronous at-home learning
  • Thursday and Friday mornings Cohort B on campus for learning
The district will strive for a February 1 transition to an AM/PM model.

The board's unusual New Year's Eve meeting resulted in a wide-ranging discussion that reflected the challenges that the district has encountered since the beginning of the pandemic. Board members emphasized the need to keep students and employees safe, while maintaining a responsibility to ensure that students are getting the best possible education under the circumstances.

Additionally, some board members bristled at the suggestion that the board had ignored concerns from one side or another.

"Every single one of us is ripped up trying to make these decisions," said board member Jennifer Cochran. "None of us are doctors - and even the doctors don't agree. This is a no-win situation across the nation. Everyone who is making these decisions is getting criticized on one side or another. For us as trustees. it is our responsibility to use public funds as best as we can to educate our students. None of us come by these decisions lightly at all."



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