The Eureka City Schools Board on Thursday voted to make in-person instruction available as an option for all grade levels, preschool through high school, according to Superintendent Fred Van Vleck.
In a message posted to the district’s website and Facebook page Friday morning, Van Vleck said parents will have the option of sending their kids for in-person instruction or continuing with distance learning. Schools in the district offering instruction at the preschool level through eighth grade will reopen their doors on March 1, according to the post, though Eureka High and Zoe Barnum High may have to wait until Humboldt County has been in the Red Tier for 5 days.
Humboldt is currently in the Purple Tier in the state’s COVID-19 protocols, but Van Vleck writes, “We are optimistic that the County will move to the Red Tier on Tuesday, February 23rd, thus potentially allowing the high schools to provide the option for in-person learning on Monday, March 1st.”
Not everyone is pleased with the decision. An educator with the district who asked to remain anonymous, fearing for their job security, told the Outpost in an email, “I am extremely angry with last night’s school board decision to reopen schools before all teachers are vaccinated. In January, they agreed to wait until all teaching staff had cleared their second dose. This was a decision that demonstrated their support for us educators, who have been frankly abused in these distance learning months.”
Here’s Van Vleck’s message in its entirety:
Greetings Eureka City Schools Families,
Last night, on Thursday, February 18th, the Eureka City Schools Board met and determined that in-person instruction will be available as an option for all grade levels, preschool through high school. This means you will have an option for whether or not you would like your student to attend in-person instruction or continue on distance learning.
In-person learning will be available starting Monday, March 1st, for preschool through 8th grade. As of right now, the California Department of Public Health will not allow Eureka High School or Zoe Barnum High School to open for in-person instruction until Humboldt County has been in the Red Tier for 5 days. We are optimistic that the County will move to the Red Tier on Tuesday, February 23rd, thus potentially allowing the high schools to provide the option for in-person learning on Monday, March 1st.
As we transition to the option of in-person learning, there will be much work happening in preparation. Many of the details are not yet available. Your student’s school site will be in contact with you next week to determine whether or not you would like your student to stay on distance learning or attend in-person. Sites will also be reaching out with the schedule details, as there will likely be modifications to start and end times for both in-person and distance learning to accommodate bussing. If you have specific questions, please contact your student’s site.
We will not be able to transport students on our buses at the normal capacity, so if you have the means to get your student to school, please plan to do so. For those who rely on bussing, we will do our best to safely accommodate as many students as possible. More information will be available next week.
As we transition back to in-person learning, please be patient with your student’s teachers, their school site, and the District. We are starting a new way of learning, a combination of in-person and distance learning, that teachers have never done before. We are all but certain to have issues as we learn how to best serve students in two different learning modalities.
As students return to in-person instruction, please be advised, all students must wear a face covering and follow travel advisory and contact quarantines as directed by Humboldt County Public Health.
Please pause and consider your plans for safe interaction with others. Please follow the advice of Humboldt County Public Health to help keep your family and our community safe.
Stay healthy and stay strong.