Irvine school district gives parents 4 days to decide whether to send kids back to class or keep them home

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A classroom appears in a file photo. (Credit: Getty Images)

A classroom appears in a file photo. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Irvine Unified School District is giving parents four days to decide what type of education model to enlist their children in amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The district created academic models with virtual, traditional and hybrid options for parents to choose from, giving them from Wednesday to Sunday to make a selection for their children, according to an update posted to their website.

The options come after the Orange County Board of Education voted Monday to approve guidelines for reopening schools in the fall without the widely recommended coronavirus safety protocols, including masks and social distancing. However, each of the county’s 28 districts can decide on how to proceed.

“To be clear, IUSD is not governed by the OC Board of Education and our District will not follow their non-binding recommendations for the 2020-21 school year,” the district said in a statement Tuesday, adding that they are “100% committed” to following guidelines from the California Department of Public Health.

The Irvine district will also require face coverings for staff, students and visitors, despite the O.C. Board saying in its own guidelines that wearing masks is difficult to implement and “may even be harmful.”

The academic models Irvine students are being offered are aligned with state and local guidelines for schools and “designed to meet the interests of our students, staff and families,” the district said.

School principals were to provide information to families with directions on how to decide whether to send their children to in-person, virtual, or hybrid classes.

The options, as listed by the district, include:

Elementary Schools (Transitional kindergarten to 6th grade):

  • IUSD Virtual Academy, hybrid, TK/K and traditional models

Middle and High Schools (Includes 6-8 grade students at K-8 schools):

  • IUSD Virtual Academy, hybrid, and blended program (grades 9-12 only) models

Special Education:

  • Elementary: IUSD Virtual Academy, hybrid and traditional models.
  • Secondary: IUSD Virtual Academy, hybrid and blended learning (9-12). Traditional model is only available for Moderate/Severe programming and Autism Specific Programming
  • Pre-K Early Childhood Learning Center and Irvine Adult Transition Program: IUSD Virtual Academy, hybrid and traditional models.

Neighboring Los Angeles Unified School District, the state’s largest public school system, announced Monday that in-person classes would not resume in the fall as coronavirus infections in the county surge. San Diego Unified, the state’s second-largest school district, followed suit.

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