Educators rushing to get educational materials to students who will be gone for at least 4 week


School districts around the Westside are closing their doors when school lets out on Wednesday and scrambling to put together plans for educating students while they are closed for at least the next four weeks.

District officials are scrambling to deal with the unprecedented closure and making plans in the fly as information changes on a minute-by minute basis.

The Taft City School District was holding an emergency meeting Tuesday morning with new instructions came via email from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. 

"We are getting guidance and new instructions minute by minute," Superintendent Julie Graves told the Board.

One major concern in Taft is meals for students.
Taft Union High School District Superintendent Blanca Cavazos said many students rely on free school breakfasts and lunches.

"This is critical in our community," Cavazos told the Board. "We provide half the meals (they eat each week) for the majority of our students."

The TCSD is going to step up and provide the free breakfasts and lunches for all children under 18.

Starting Thursday, sack breakfasts and lunches will be available outside the cafeteria at each of the District's six school sites between 10:30 a.m and 12:30 p.m.

Meals are for children only.

"If they have four kids in a car, we will give them four breakfasts and lunches," Cafeteria Director Randy Rico said
It will be pickup only with no dining on site.

"They just pick it up and go," Rico said.

Taft Union High School is relying heavily on the laptop computers issued to all students while the TCSD, which also issues computers to all students, is sending packets of school work and educational material home with its 2,400 students.

Both districts are working on plans for students who do not have internet access at home.

Connectivity is an issue at both schools.

A faculty inservice already scheduled at TUHS on Monday was hastily converted into a training session for "a different mode of instruction," TUHS Superintendent Blanca Cavazos told the Board of trustees Monday night."

While most teachers and classified staff will continue working through Friday, most are going to get sent home as the KCSOS recommends districts have only essential personnel in offices.

Still in question is how schools will respond to a requirement from Gov. Gavin Newsom that schools provide "supervision" at school sites for children whose parents can't be around.

The Maricopa Unified School District at first old its parents the school will remain open for parents who wish to send their children but changed that Wednesday following a directive from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

There are currently no plans for that either at TUHS or the TCSD.

TCSD Board member Keith McElmurry said that's a concern to him.

"It seem that they wanted us to be a daycare," he said, and worried that that could expose teachers to the coronavirus.

The supervision issue, like other directives, is still a work in progress, Graves said.

"This is unprecedented and we are trying to navigate through as best we can," she said.