SAN JOSE – AUGUST 11: Samantha Schmidt, 10, left, listens to their teacher Jacqueline Speidel, right, speak during an online class hosted via video conference on their first day of school in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. Like many students across the nation, San Jose Unified School District students began their classes from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Randy Vazquez/ Bay Area News Group)
Nearly a year after Bay Area schools shuttered in response to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, San Jose’s largest school district has set a target date of April 21 to reopen its schools for all grade levels.
The target date is contingent on the county moving into the orange tier of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening framework and on school staff getting fully vaccinated, according to a district newsletter released Friday evening. Starting Sunday, educators across Santa Clara County are eligible to begin booking appointments to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
“We made a commitment to our community that we would offer in-person learning when the county was in the orange tier or when our teachers had the opportunity to complete the vaccine process,” Superintendent Nancy Albarrán said in a statement late Friday. “We also committed to provide as much advance notice as possible so our families and employees would have time to make childcare and other arrangements needed to return in person.”
San Jose Unified, which serves nearly 29,000 students across the city, welcomed back approximately 2,000 students to school campuses this week for in-person support and supervision. Students who are in special-education classes, who have dealt with chronic-absenteeism and foster children and homeless were prioritized for those in-person placements.
In November 2020, San Jose Unified parents filled out a form deciding whether they would like their child or children to return to in-person classes or continue distance learning through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. Given the new target gate, the district is providing families with the opportunity to change their preference, though it will be contingent on limited in-person capacity due to health and safety requirements, the district said.
A change from in-person to distance learning will commit a student to remain in distance-learning for the remainder of this school year. Requests for a change from distance learning to in-person will be based on the in-person capacity in the student’s classes.
Check back for updates.