TCSD Board votes to open with distance learning

Staff Writer
Taft Midway Driller
Board member Mike McCormick asks about music instruction by distance learning at Taft City School District meeting

The Taft City School District Board of Education, with little comment, voted unanimously to open the 20202-21 school year with distance learning.

It was following Supt. Julie Graves recommendation, which was dictated by Gov. Gavin Newsom's order that all schools in California counties on the state COVID-19 watchlist stay in distance learning.

A county must be off the watchlist for 14 days before schools can start in-person education of some sort.

The TCSD starts school on Aug. 17.

Graves said teachers will be on campus to teach, Graves said, and there will be child care for the teacher's school age children.

But the teachers aren't exactly eager to return to school in the current conditions.

Taft Elementary Teachers Association representative Amanda Carter told the board at a meeting a week earlier the teachers want to work from home to avoid the COVID-19 virus.

They fear catching the coronavirus and spreading it through their families.

Having all teachers return to campus to teach will increase the chances of spreading the virus through their families, Carter said.

"We will continue to provide high quality education from home," she said at the July 22 meeting.

Despite that, the Board approved the proposal presented by Graves that "...includes the delivery of instruction to be directed by teachers from classrooms within the District to ensure the rigor of the curriculum..."

Board member Mike McCormick said he hopes the District will be able to continue to provide music instruction, especially in music theory, through distance learning.

Board member Stacey Falgout also asked how student ill be tested to see if they are learning to standards.

Unlike the Taft Union High School District, which on Aug. 3 voted to go with distance learning through the end of the first quarter, the TCSD will remain in the distance mode "for the foreseeable future."

"When it is safe the District is prepared to transition to a hybrid learning model consisting of students attending school in person and continuing distance learning from home as well," wrote Graves in the recommendation the board adopted.