The Huntington Beach Union High School District will temporarily return to virtual instruction through the end of the first semester.
All students and staff will continue attending classes, according to the current bell schedule. Some sports and other co-curricular activities will still be held outdoors with social distancing.
On Wednesday, the HBUHSD Board of Trustees gave notice of a special meeting to discuss the recommendation that “all students in the Huntington Beach Union High School District temporarily return to 100% distance learning from Jan. 4 through Jan. 29,” following consultations with “feeder school districts, school nurses and Dr. Clayton Chau, Director of the Orange County Health Care Agency”.
The board ultimately voted to support the measure on Thursday, with Superintendent Clint Harwick notifying students and families in a letter. The decision comes as COVID-19 cases rise across Southern California and the nation as a whole.
During the board’s December meeting, some community members said that they did not want the district to return to completely virtual instruction.
“There’s absolutely no reason why if there are only eight students in a class, a teacher cannot be here and teach to a class safely,” HBUHSD parent Cindy Moore said. “That I can guarantee that these teachers who are saying that this is not safe are going to grocery stores, or they’re having presence delivered from Amazon workers, or they’re going out in public, which is more dangerous than going to stand in a classroom safely distanced from their students.”
Others expressed support for the idea to keep students and teachers safe.
“If students are given the choice to stay at home during these incredibly dangerous times, there should be absolutely no reason that teachers are not given the same right,” Marina High School senior Zachary Price said. “These teachers love their jobs and their students. There’s so much passion [for] teaching students like us. It’s a truly crushing sacrifice to leave their students for 12 weeks.”
The district had previously requested that virtual teachers return to campus by Jan. 5, but at the December board meeting, the Trustees agreed to allow teachers who needed to teach from home until the end of the semester. Now, all teachers will be instructing virtually.