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Manhattan Beach Schools to Return Five Days Per Week on April 19

Mar 31, 2021 09:50PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Students line up outside Manhattan Beach Middle School on Monday, the first day of in-person schooling for 7th and 8th graders.

It's official: Manhattan Beach schools - at all grade levels - will begin offering in-person learning  five days per week, starting on April 19.

Manhattan Beach Unified School District Superintendent Mike Matthews made the announcement to parents in an email on Wednesday, and later at the MBUSD board meeting on Wednesday night.

"This is rich, folks. This is such a gigantic improvement from two days a week, two-and-a-half hours per day," said Matthews at the board meeting. "I know there will be those who want it all, and I'm all for it, but [for now] this is great."

When students return from spring break on Monday, April 12, those who have chosen to return in person will follow a hybrid schedule as outlined here. The five-days-per-week in-person schedule will begin on Monday, April 19.

Distance learning will remain an option for the remainder of the school year. Elementary students who have chosen to stay in distance learning will remain with their distance learning teacher. Middle and high school students in distance learning will learn through simulcasted/concurrent sessions.


Elementary Students Will Have In-School Lunch Once a Week

Beginning April 19, the in-person elementary school students will attend school five mornings per week. Students will be divided into four groups. On each of Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, one of the four groups will stay for a socially distanced lunch and then receive an hour of small-group enrichment and support.


Middle and High School Students Will Have Block Schedules

Middle and high school in-person students will be returning on a block schedule. Students will have periods 1, 3, and 5 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and periods 2, 4, and 6 on Tuesday and Thursday. Then in the following week, the periods would switch (periods 2, 4, and 6 on M/W/F and 1, 3, and 5 on T/Th). The schedule would continue alternating each week.

Middle school students would have 65-minute periods and high school students would have 75-minute periods.

Worth noting: All in-person plans include the new 3-foot separation rule between students (with 6 feet of separation provided for teachers).

 

At the high school, 52 percent of students have opted to return in person; while at the middle school, 84 percent of students have said they will return in person. The district has cautioned that because of large class sizes at MBMS and the high percentage of students who have selected in-person, there may need to be adjustments to make sure students are properly spaced in the classrooms.

Additionally, there will be no changes from distance learning into in-person learning allowed until at least April 26, if spots are available.


Thanking All Stakeholders


At the meeting, Matthews and his executive team thanked all stakeholders for what has been more than a year-long process to bring students and staff back safely. 

He expressed gratitude to staff, teachers, parents, and students; as well as external groups such as MBEF, BCHD, the teacher and staff unions MBUTA and CSEA, the county and state departments of health, and civic leaders. 

To parents, he had a special message. "What you have done at home is tremendous, and you never expected to do it," he said, noting that many parents have additional challenges such as working from home and having younger children to manage. "I’m grateful to all of you."

To students he said, "You have been through it all. You will have stories to tell your children and your grandchildren about being educated during COVID."

Also noted at the meeting: Matthews said that given current advice from the health department, it appears that an in-person graduation for seniors could be held in three or four shifts. "Last year we did it in 600 shifts," he noted, "but it was still way better than doing nothing at all."


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