SMUSD School Board to Vote on Reopening Plan

Following many months of preparation, the SMUSD School Board will vote on plans to reopen schools tonight.

Title slide of SMUSD Reopening Plans Slide Deck

Photo by @sanmarcosusd

Photo courtesy of @sanmarcosusd on Instagram

On Friday, Sept. 4, the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) Superintendent Dr. Carmen Garcia held a board meeting introducing the plan for school reopening. This has been a highly-anticipated plan for teachers, students, parents, and others in the community. Collecting questions from the community took place last week and were synthesized in a webinar, sent out to families on Monday, Sept. 14. Tonight, the board will meet to vote on the plan in a virtual meeting, open for anyone to watch on Zoom.
“I like the thought of going back to school once it is safe because it’ll be nice to get back into the swing of things and have a daily routine that isn’t completely online,” Malena Colwell (11) said.
When it is safe for students and staff to come back to campus, there are protocols that will be in place based on CDC guidelines which will be updated as needed. Upon arrival, staff will be required to have their temperature checked. Though this is not required for students it is still recommended that their temperature is taken before coming to school. Students will also need to fill out a pre-screening paper before school everyday which will include a list of various symptoms that are common for COVID-19, an app is being looked into for this purpose.
According to the district’s reopening plans, which can be found on the district’s website, to ensure the staff and students stay healthy, 50 percent of the staff will be tested for COVID-19 every month. Face masks will be required to be worn by all students or staff unless permitted not to during activities such as breakfast and lunch. SMUSD has bought other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face shields, neck gaiters, hand sanitizer, touchless thermometers, desk shields, gloves, and paper bags for students to put their mask in when not in use. Sneeze guards, signs, and markings are being installed and hand washing stations will be rented to be put on campus.
“I will feel safe when we go back to school because I will be social distancing, wearing my face mask, and washing my hands a lot,” Bryan Torres (12) said.
When returning to school, high school students will follow an A group and B group hybrid model, attending on alternate days, and all students will stay home on Mondays. While in class, there will be 18 students and each will have their own plexiglass shield that will travel with them to every class. There will be two lunch periods with two advisory periods to ensure that the designated lunch areas do not overcrowd.
“If everyone is separated by at least one desk then I will feel safe, but if it is just a regular class with no distancing that would be catastrophic,” Kellen McDowell (10) said.
Sports and athletics might also be coming back to practice, with some limits. Parents must sign a waiver for athletes to be able to attend practice. There can only be 12 athletes per coach and for each practice they must have the same athletes. Athletes are still required to wear a mask and social distance during all practices, games, and other sporting events unless permitted not to wear a mask during certain physical activities such as running. The locker room is off-limits and the training room will be limited to only having 1 coach and 2 athletes at the same time.
Tonight, the board is scheduled to vote on the reopening plans. You can virtually attend the meeting by using the link and password below.
Passcode: N49XWN