In what was their last currently scheduled meeting before students are expected to return to in-person learning March 29 and April 1, the William S. Hart Union High School District governing board discussed how the return of grades seven to 12 will stay on track.
During the virtual board meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Mike Kuhlman shared with board members the steps the district has taken to get the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s tentative approval to allow all grades to start returning to campuses March 29.
Kuhlman said the district would be implementing a number of new safety and wellness-related changes to campuses, and each site would be providing a special welcome-back ceremony for students. The transition to blended learning is scheduled to take place March 29 and April 1, with students split between the two groups.
Kuhlman emphasized that many of the district’s teachers will be fully vaccinated by the time classrooms are full again, and student resource officers also will be back on campus. District officials are asking families not to make any unnecessary interstate travel during the upcoming spring break.
“Things will not be perfect; we are going to make mistakes; it’s going to be rocky at times,” said Kuhlman during his presentation. “And you know what? That’s OK. I want to encourage both staff and families to take the pressure off — we have absolute confidence in our teachers and our students.
“We’re going to make this a success and we’ll grow and learn from the mistakes that come along the way,” he added.
Kathy Hunter, assistant superintendent of educational services, said in terms of wellness, online services have been made available to staff and families, and information about wellness centers and other on-campus services can be accessed at the district’s website.
Board member Linda Storli, a former Canyon High School history teacher, expressed her support for the teachers and staff returning to work, saying the district should try to ensure there are adequate people on hand at school sites to ensure safety protocols.
Storli then suggested inviting some retired, former educators to return to campuses to monitor on-campus adherence to public health rules.
Other suggestions and questions posed by board members involved graduation and open house, but Kuhlman, while acknowledging staff was open to suggestions on how to best support staff and families, said they would need to assess what resources are available to them as the weeks go on and how they can find creative solutions given their present restraints.
“We’re already looking to do that right now, and one of it may be … hiring some additional (staff),” he said. “But there may be some other things I can share with you.”