Maxwell Unified School District will begin in-person learning for students in kindergarten through sixth grade starting Monday.
“We are excited to be able to offer the choice to our families and give families the opportunity to decide which form of instruction is beneficial to the individual family,” said Summer Shadley, superintendent of the district.
Shadley said the district has been working collaboratively with Colusa County Public Health for the past few months to secure a waiver that allows them to reopen despite Colusa County’s purple tier status that prohibits in-person learning to resume under Governor Gavin Newsom’s tiered reopening plan.
“Getting the waiver was definitely a process and the on again, off again status we were in for quite some time was frustrating for all involved,” said Shadley. “We’d make a plan, get ready to implement and the governor would change it just as we were ready to go. However, through perseverance and collaboration the district worked together with its stakeholders to make the choice of returning to in-person instruction a reality for students in K-6.”
According to Shadley, 80 percent of families surveyed within the district wanted to send their students back to in-person instruction.
“The challenge we are facing is that the teachers on our campuses who are delivering in-person instruction are the same teachers who are also delivering distance learning,” said Shadley. “This is why we have to offer a shortened day for our in-person learning to provide teachers time to meet the needs of our students continuing distance learning.”
Shadley said the district will be following the CDPH guidelines upon the reopening to ensure the safety of both students and staff, including requiring all students in grades third through sixth to wear masks or personal protective equipment while in class and on the bus, removing non-essential furniture to allow for social distancing between students while seated, hand sanitizer station in every classroom and frequent hand washing.
Students in transitional Kindergarten through second grade will not be required to wear masks or PPE while in school.
“The social and emotional needs of our students have escalated tremendously during this time,” said Shadley. “Giving students an opportunity to return to a ‘regular’ schedule with their peers is a step in the right direction.”
Shadley said she would like to see the waiver process available for seventh through 12th grade students as well and that is something MUSD is pushing for at the state level.