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Resources & staff being strained staying on top of COVID-19 protocols amid surge
TUSD distance learning
Distance learning may end sooner than anticipated for Turlock elementary students as the county’s 14-day COVID-19 case rate continues to drop (Photo contributed).

Manteca Unified is switching back to distance learning on Monday.

The hybrid learning model that has been in effect for the past month for most students will resume Monday, Jan. 11. Originally students were to return on Thursday, Jan. 7, after winter break.

Students needing in-person support in small cohorts — those with limited Internet access, individualized education plans, English learners, and those with a higher risk of further learning loss — may continue to meet on campuses next week.

The current in-school AM/PM schedules for transitional kindergarten through sixth grade and the hybrid model of in-person and distance learning for 7th through 12th graders will continue today and Friday.

District Superintendent Clark Burke noted that while schools were managing the situation with COVID-19 protocols, the system was being “strained” with the effort needed to deal with the reality created by a surge of COVID-19 cases in the community. As such not only has the demand on personnel been mounting but it was running the risk of taking away more time from instructional time.

In an electronic letter sent to parents Wednesday, the district noted “we remain dedicated to the needs of our students and staff while balancing the resources of the district.”

The return to school plan was put in place with the understanding that there would need to be backwards movements into distance  learning if the situation changed.

The timing means minimal impacts in terms of not having the advantages in-person learning thanks to the end of the high school semester next Friday and the start of winter break.

Next week at the 7th through 12th grade level was originally set up to have two additional days of 100 percent distance learning due to the finals. The change announced Wednesday will mean just one day of previously  planned in-person learning will be lost next week.

Students in TK through 6th grade will be on distance learning next week unless they are a part of at-risk cohorts.

The two days back the first week of January was originally tacked onto three days of teacher in-service.

The decision to shift back to what is referred as Phase 1.5 of the school reopening plan was made in collaboration with the school board, Manteca Educators Association, and the district administration.

Even though the district has been able to avoid what Ripon Unified had to deal with when a COVID-19 positive student potentially exposed 213 students — or almost a quarter of the student body — as well as six teachers that now need to quarantine, the risk of such a possibility Jan. 11 and beyond is dependent upon what students and their families do away from school.

“We urge you to double down and keep doing the proven things that help minimize risk,” the district stated in the letter to the parents. “Easily remember them as the three W’s: Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your social distance.”

Although it wasn’t mentioned in the letter, the district has pointed out that when they have had cases of COVID-19 reported they have all been contacted away from campuses and usually when families traveled to other areas or participated in large gatherings or events with multiple households. Examples inlcude over Labor Day when several staff member were stricken and more recently over Thanksgiving when there were students as well as faculty impacted.


Record 3,941 active

COVID-19 cases

San Joaquin County now has a record active 3,941 cases of COVID-19.

That is the result of a peak one day record of 657 new cases on Dec. 3, 573 new cases on Dec. 4, 467 new cases on Dec. 5, 469 new cases on Dec. 6, and 489 new cases on Dec. 7. There were 56 new cases reported on Dec. 8.

Cases are considered active for 14 days. Not everyone that tests positive shows symptoms.

 There were two more deaths Wednesday to bring the total to 532.

There have been 30,579 cases in the county out of 760,000 residents since the pandemic was declared in mid-March. Of those, 26,106 have recovered.

Based on rates by 10,000 residents Stockton is the highest hit at 428.17 followed by Lodi at 403.5, Lathrop at 333.92, the unincorporated part of the county at 320.6, Manteca at 315.45, Tracy at 298.86, Escalon at 299.55, and Ripon at 267.42

In straight numbers of cases — recovered and current — Stockton has had 13,638 or 47.2 percent followed by  the unincorporated areas of the county at 5,401, Lodi at 2,761, Tracy at 2,687, Manteca at 2,675, Lathrop at 896, Ripon at 426, and Escalon at 224.

Countywide, hospitalizations from COVID-19 are up 43 percent in the past seven days.

There are now 242 patients hospitalized with COVID occupying 29 percent of the beds. Overall 85 percent of the 830 beds that exist are occupied.

In ICU beds, 57 of the 119 patients have COVID. That is 48 percent of the ICU load.

Doctors Hospital now has 50 of its 73 beds occupied including 18 COVID patients of which five or using ICU beds.

Kaiser Hospital Manteca has 33 beds filled with 16 of them being COVID patients and 5 in the ICU.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email