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Board Briefs - March 23, 2021

Here are a few highlights from the most recent board meeting:

Update on return to in-person learning 

Staff provided the board with an update on the return to in-person learning, including a recap of opening day activities. As of this week, in-person learning enrollment is approximately 71 percent of the total enrollment at San Juan Unified. Group A students were welcomed back onto campus on Monday, and Group B will be back on campus this Thursday. Schools were creative in welcoming students back onto campus – from balloon arches to having staff dress up as superheroes. Watch a video highlighting some of these welcoming activities. 

Staff also reviewed several recent updates in guidance from local and state health officials. For athletics, all sports are eligible to play with COVID-19 testing required for some. Band, cheer, drumlines, and choir are allowed with distancing and the use of face coverings. 

Federal, state and local health officials are now recommending a minimum of three feet of space between student chairs (down from six feet). The six-foot guidance still remains in common areas, when masks can’t be worn, and between adult desks. 

Superintendent Kern reviewed the potential impacts of reducing the spacing between student desks to three feet, including example classroom layouts. If the district were to move forward with four days of in-person learning, there would be minimal to no impact on student class and staff assignments. However, if the district were to move to five days of in-person learning a week, there would be a substantial impact on student and staff assignments. Additional impacts of increasing the number of days of in-person learning include school bus transportation routes needing to be updated, as well as schedules needing to be reconfigured for specialty and service providers, such as ELD teachers, special education providers and nurses.

The district is committed to adopting the three-foot of physical distancing within classrooms guidance and increasing to four days of in-person instruction from two. Changes will be implemented as soon as logistics are in place and impacts are addressed with employee groups. Valuing the relationships that have been built between teacher and student, and between student to student, this option would be the least disruptive for all.

Work to implement these changes is underway with announcements expected before the next scheduled board meeting. 

Update on high school graduation requirements and ceremonies

Staff shared that high school graduations will take place in-person, either on high school football fields or other district facilities. Guest attendance details are still being finalized, but a live-streaming option will be available for each ceremony. 

The board also discussed amending the district’s graduation requirements for the Class of 2021. Through an analysis of data and state requirements, district staff is recommending the board consider a reduction of district-required courses and credits for the Class of 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Board action is anticipated at the April 13 board meeting. 

In other news...

  • The board adopted a resolution proclaiming the week of April 10-16 as Week of the Young Child.
  • The board reviewed proposals for new honors science courses for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme as well as instructional materials for a number of high school classes. The board is expected to take action on both the materials and course proposals at their next meeting. 

The next board meeting will be held on April 13 at 6:30 p.m. Visit for details. You can also view videos of prior board meetings on the district’s YouTube channel at