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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Schools open from a distance


Last updated 8/15/2020 at 5:49am | View PDF

The schools in the Richland School District opened their doors, at least figuratively, on Aug. 6, beginning a first semester that will have the students learning from a distance, as they did at the end of the last semester.

The district had planned for students to attending in person on an alternating basis, with one group going to school on Mondays and Tuesdays and another group going on Thursdays and Fridays, with the students distance learning the rest of the week.

But according to interim Superintendent Rosa Romero, that plan was halted after Governor Newsom on July 17 put further restrictions on school districts.

“The governor said that a county had to be off of the watch list for 14 consecutive days, have mask requirements in place, which we did, and physical distancing practices in place. We did what we have control over, but unfortunately, Kern County didn’t qualify for in person learning,” Romero said.

Distance learning was a challenge last year for the educators and the families, Romero said. With more time to prepare, however, the district is better equipped and prepared for the session, she added. They had an opportunity to collaborate with staff and provide a robust and structured program with clear guidelines that schools must follow.

Romero said that in addition to providing internet and connectivity to all students, the programs’ content is aligned to grade level standards. Even though they are not in the same room, students will have daily and frequent live interactions with teachers and their peers.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided free of charge, with various pickup locations and times scheduled.

Meals will be delivered at Smith’s Corner Monday through Friday from 12 to 12:30 p.m., La Colonia from 12:45 to 1:15 p.m., and the corner of Fresno Avenue and Alamo Lane from 12 to 12:30 p.m. The school sites in Shafter will each be providing meals Monday through Friday from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Meals provided are for students who are enrolled in the Richland School District. Parents or guardians picking up meals must have each student’s meal ID card or school ID. Students do not have to be in the vehicle to pick up the meals, but their ID cards must be presented.

To assist in the students’ success in the Distance Learning Program, parents are invited to attend a Parent Workshop Class that will provide valuable information such as how to get your child connected to the internet. Parents will also learn how to log into Canvas, the program that is being used for the learning; how to communicate with their child’s teacher; and how to check on their child’s progress, as well as how to view current and even missing assignments.

According to Romero, this year’s distance learning program will have daily attendance taken, and will have grades and report cards assigned. Weekly student engagement will also be monitored to make sure the students are participating in and getting the most out of their distance learning program.

Next week the Shafter Press will shadow a session in the distance learning program. We will be giving the view of the teacher as he or she conducts the session, and the following week we will be delving into the experience of the students.


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