The Ripon Unified school board agreed Wednesday to continue distance learning until Sept. 4.
That’s the update for now based on the recommendation earlier this week from San Joaquin County Office of Education Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas.
He and SJC Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park – due to the rise in confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the increased county-wide hospitalizations – agreed that local schools should begin the new school year by providing distance learning-only instruction through the end of August.
“Our ultimate goal is the five-days-a-week return to the classroom,” said RUSD Superintendent Ziggy Robeson following a special session held earlier that day.
Her school board, in following the strong recommendation by SJCOE and others, voted on distance learning for the first few weeks of classroom instructions which begins on Aug. 12.
RUSD had several choices – off-campus or distance learning for those families not comfortable with the regular classroom environment, and the traditional five-day in-school sessions only with added health and safety measures – including a third option.
The blended learning plan – a draft of the AB Plan, a hybrid in-person and off-campus learning model – was mentioned at the special session.
But safety for all is priority of the school district, Robeson said.
“We’re following the county’s recommendation. We want everyone to be safe,” she added.
In a joint statement, SJCOE and SJC Public Health Services said: “Education is an essential service in our community, and it remains our firm belief that our children are best served by a return to as much in-person instruction as possible.
“However, any return to in-person instruction must be guided by the evolving scientific understanding of COVID-19 and facts of its spread in San Joaquin County.”