For the entire 2020-2021 school year the battle around when and how kids will go to school during the pandemic as been a hot topic. Many factors have fueled the flames of this battle, but in person learning has been the launch point for the fight. In West Ada School District the fight to get kids back into school has led to some extremely odd events in the last six months:
- Delay to the start of the school year.
- School classes held by the quarter system not semester.
- School Board Chair Ed Klopenstien resigns as chair yet remains on the board.
- The first 3 months of education came with multiple changes in attendance.
- West Ada teachers union organized a sick out and shut down school for days.
- Parents rights groups organized multiple parent support groups.
- Entire School Board fought against a parent led recall.
- Board members Smylie and Newhof resign from the board rather than face a recall election.
- West Ada Superintendent announces her resignation.
- Board uses iffy tactics to pick new board members.
- Board President Amy Johnson admits the board broke open meeting laws.
The main issue for most parents was the lack of an education their kids were getting. Things have gotten so bad that thousands of West Ada students have been pulled from the West Ada School District. It’s not just your normal kids going to their home school either kids that go to popular schools that have specific focuses where they win their spot by a lottery or audition have been pulled from the district, not enrolled in the virtual academy but pulled out many to never return. Most of this comes from the boards lack of ability to stick to a plan that doesn’t destroy West Ada students ability to learn.
Pains of moving back and forth
The constant moving from virtual schoolhouse to class and back again has been a nightmare that parents and kids can’t keep up with. The issues goes beyond keeping up with ever changing schedules when kids move back and forth their work doesn’t seem to be moving with them so kids are playing catchup.
There does seem to be some movement when it comes to the return to in person learning 5 days a week for K-12 students. We have heard rumors prior to today but board trustee Rene Ozuna seems to have broken the silence on social media. for the last couple weeks schools have been is a frenzy to get documentation ironed out and make sure that kids who are leaving for good or virtual school house.
So What Is The Plan
It appears that the plan the district wants to go with is to return to full five days in person K-12 grades at the beginning of the 4th quarter which according to the district calendar would be April 9th to June 10th. Trustee Ozuna says that this is the plan because staff have not gotten vaccinated yet and that she wants to wait until the staff have had both doses of the vaccine then a 2 week waiting period so that it can become effective. Trustee Ozuna did not say how much of the staff she expects to get vaccinated.
What does concern many parents is that the union could drag out getting the vaccine to make it near impossible to return middle and high school students to full in person learning this school year. West Ada Education Association has been having planning meetings with staff at schools to plan out how they are going to deal with yet another attempt to force teachers to return kids to the classroom.