The Kern High School District had its first cohort of students return for in-person instruction Wednesday.
This first cohort consists of students with moderate to severe disabilities. Only 16 people are allowed in each cohort, including teachers. Staff and students are not allowed to mix with other groups on campus. Lunch and breakfast will be prepackaged.
“Modeling for students on proper behavior and proper etiquette is huge,” said Rudy Rosales, a KHSD special education teacher. “We can’t just give them a book and say, ‘here, okay read this.’ We have to actually show them and role play. So it’s a huge benefit when they get back in the class. and we are able to do that.”
The district said its schools are taking measures to make sure students are safe by frequently deep cleaning classrooms, restrooms and other areas students frequent.
For students who ride the bus, there will be one student in every other seat. The district asks for students to be screened at home with their temperature, then when the bus arrives at school, they’ll be screened with a touchless thermometer.
Some parents are ready for their children to go back, trusting the guidelines the school has put in place to keep the kids safe.
“For myself, I am happy the kids will be going back to school,” said Shawn Brown, who’s daughter will be going back to school on Nov. 9. “I trust that the school districts will implement the safest environment they possibly can. It’s up to us as parents to also teach our kids about social distancing and washing their hands.”
Although students will be back in class, things will not be back to normal. Because of the safety precautions, students will not be able to switch rooms for their different classes. According to Erin Brisco-Clarke, the KHSD spokeswoman, students will still be on Zoom with an advisor or teacher in the classroom. The students will swap classes on their zoom calls, however, will remain in the one classroom. The advisor will be there to assist students if they need help but will not be their teacher for all their classes.
“I’m upset as my daughter is special needs, and she will not be getting any special attention,” said Brown of the Zoom in-person instruction. “With them going back to school for the high school kids, this simply means instead of sitting at the kitchen table doing zoom, they will sit at the school and do zoom. It is not a classroom setting they are going into, but more of a library for them to sit with headphones on for 5 hours then go home.”
The KHSD has a plan for students to return in three cohorts.