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CUSD board to decide between online or on campus school

by Mick Rhodes | mickrhodes@claremont-courier.com

The Claremont Unified School District Board of Education tomorrow will decide whether to reverse course when it votes on a recommendation “to open the 2020-2021 school year in Phase One of CUSD's ‘COVID-19 2020-21 Return To School Continuum Plan,’ and to remain in this phase until further notice.”

If it passes, all students will either attend online school or be homeschooled when classes begin September 2.

The CUSD Special Board Meeting takes place over Zoom at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 15. A link to the agenda is here: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/claremont/Board.nsf/Public

To participate in the virtual meeting go here:

www.us02web.zoom.us/j/82567538891?pwd=U1B5Vk9QL281SFhEdVkydGtNazBPdz09.

Or, check CUSD’s website at: www.cusd.claremont.edu.

The move comes just one week after the board voted unanimously to implement a “blended learning program” for 2020-2021, and to open up each of its 10 campuses for in-person learning beginning September 2.

So what’s changed in a week?

CUSD Superintendent Jim Elsasser said Monday that “recent developments,” including the spike in COVID cases, associated hospitalizations and community spread, caused the board to reconsider its recent decision.

“As the day has unfolded and we’ve continued to watch the increase in COVID cases, we have decided to hold a special board meeting to discuss the recommendation to start the 2020-21 school year in phase one, which is which consists of distance learning only,” Mr. Elsasser said.

If the plan is approved, CUSD kids will have two options when school starts September 2: Claremont Online Remote Learning, or CORE; or Claremont Home Alternative Mastery Program, or CHAMP.

There are two sub-options within CORE: One utilizes CUSD teachers as overseers of a student’s studies, the other an outside contractor, “Edgenuity.”

CHAMP is essentially homeschooling, with parents or caregivers overseeing a CUSD curriculum.

Campuses will remain closed until which time the board votes to implement its phase two guidelines.

“For a lot of the kids they wanted to come back to a hybrid program and so we’re going to start out in phase one with distance learning,” Mr. Elsasser said. “But at some point we’ll move to phase two, and those that are comfortable will then come back to class following protocols associated with phase two.”

The district posted a graphic explaining its four phase plans here:

www.go.boarddocs.com/ca/claremont/Board.nsf/files/BRAJ9W4BCAEB/$file/2020-2021%20Return%20to%20School%20Continuum%20Plan.pdf.

Look for a more complete story in Friday’s edition.

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