Capistrano Unified begins plans to reopen schools for in-person instruction

By Ryan Burris

Editors Note: August 28, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.

After the Capistrano Unified School District announced their reopening plan, Governor Newsom later announced that the COVID-19 State Monitoring List was being replaced by a new plan with revised criteria. The new plan is called a “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” linked here.

District officials do not know how this new criteria impacts the Capistrano Unified reopening schools timeline. The district is working with contacts in Sacramento, the Orange County Department of Education, and the Orange County Healthcare Agency to identify impacts. The district hopes to have clarity early next week.

Original Story: August 28, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.

Capistrano Unified School District students started the 2020-21 school year virtually (online) due to safety standards brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orange County was recently removed from California’s “Watch List.” After removal from the list, the state mandates a 14 calendar day waiting period before schools may open their campuses.

(For more information on the watch list, visit the Orange County Watch List COVID-19 Dashboard.)

The District’s Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on September 2, 2020, to discuss and vote  on a specific timetable for students to return to classrooms and campuses for in-person/hybrid instruction.

The district’s priority is to reopen campuses safely for their 47,000 students and 5,000 staff and teachers, and to minimize any chance of future disruption. To do so, district officials are recommending a phased-in opening that would begin September 14, 2020. The purpose of a phased reopening is to make the process as smooth as possible.

  • Monday, September 14: Campuses will open for special education programs and services for students in preschool, elementary, middle, high school, and Adult Transition Program.
  • Monday, September 21: Campuses will open for Elementary school students in Program A (100% on campus) and Program B (50/50 hybrid).
  • Tuesday, September 22:  Middle school campuses will open for students enrolled in Program A (50/50 hybrid).
  • Tuesday, September 29: High School campuses will open for students in Program A (50/50 hybrid). 

Health and Safety Information

All students and staff members will be required to wear face coverings while in classrooms, upon entering and exiting campus, while on school grounds (except when eating or drinking), and while on a school bus. Social distancing and other health and safety protocols will also be observed by students and staff.

Program Change Information

Students who are currently enrolled in the 100% online program for both elementary and secondary schools will remain in their online program even when the “in person” programs return to campus. However, the District recognizes that some families who are currently enrolled in the elementary 100% on-campus program or one of the hybrid programs, may wish to change programs to continue 100% online learning.

In order to provide families with additional flexibility, please note the following:

Elementary School

  • Students may leave Program A (100% On Campus with Extended Learning) or Program B (Hybrid) and move to Program C (Online) until Friday, September 4. If you are interested in making this change you must contact your school office or principal by 2 pm on September 4.
  • Please note that families who opt-out of Program A or B and move to 100% online learning can only request to return back to A or B at the trimester break. Moving from 100% online to Programs A and B at the trimester change is not guaranteed and will depend upon available space. Click HERE for more information regarding the programs. 

Middle and High School

  • Students may leave Program A (Hybrid) and move to Program B (Online) until Friday, September 4. If you are interested in making this change you must contact your school office or principal by 2 pm on September 4. Click HERE for more information regarding the programs.

For More Information

Visit the district’s Reopening Schools webpage for more information on program options and the Reopening Schools plan.

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