by Carol Leish
Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth, with the approval of Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Leven, decided on July 16, 2020, “That nearly all public and charter schools will not reopen for the 2020-21 school year due to the concerns of coronavirus cases in California. Even though we want nothing more than to bring all students back to class where their educational, social and developmental needs can be met, we can’t do that, in good conscience, now at a time when the coronavirus is surging in our state and in our region.”
Ashley Pope and Carlos Hernandez’s son, Gavin, will be starting the second grade in the fall. “Since he’s an only child,” according to Pope, “I worry about the long-term consequences of keeping him away from his peers for all this time. He’s very social and doesn’t understand why he can’t see his friends or go anywhere that is fun.”
Pope says that she worries how long school will be out. “Gavin’s in a moderate/severe class for most of the day, and is integrated into a typical class for some subjects with an aide to help him. Since he usually gets speech and occupational therapy at school, he’s missing access to those services now.” She also says, ‘There are a lot of kids in which distance learning simply does not work for them, and that there are parents and teachers who are willing to take calculated risks so that they can continue to progress socially, emotionally, and academically. By speaking for the majority of special education students and parents, I feel that students desperately need to return to school as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Julia and Omar Dominguez have two sons Marlin and Dylan. One will be going into seventh grade. The other one will be going into fifth grade. Julia said that she didn’t like the online platform since March for either of her sons. She said that, “The program for middle school (Edgeunity); and, the program for grade school (Canvas) were both too generalized and not personalized. Also, subjects at the middle school level were covered too quickly for my middle-schooler. And, subjects at the elementary school level were not that interesting for my grade-schooler.”
Julia said that, ‘We have decided that I will be homeschooling for both, Marlin and Dylan, through a program through Ojai, which is the Oak Charter School Curriculum. With this program, parents, like me, get to choose how online versus book learning is best for our children. Also, I’ll be able to individualize the lessons.” She said that she’s glad that, ‘The charter school curriculum that I’ll be using does have educational standards to adhere to. I’m also glad that I’ll be able to teach my sons piano and Spanish, and to have flexibility in ways of teaching them.”
Thus, through remote learning or homeschooling for the foreseeable future, with no date being set for when students and teachers will return to the classroom, Ventura is going through a new reality now.
Would you (and your kids) like to tell Carol your thoughts about schools re-opening? If you do contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.