Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board Rearranges the Deck Chairs on the Titanic: Supporting Hybrid Learning Once Los Angeles County Reaches Tier 2, Which Will Not Happen This School Year
The County had over 11,000 cases of COVID in one day yesterday - that is 16 times higher than what is necessary to reach Tier 2
December 27, 2020
On Thursday, December 17, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Board voted on a plan to support a modified hybrid learning model once Los Angeles County reaches a Tier 2 level regarding COVID-19. Parents and teachers arrayed against each other for the contested decision, with parents wanting an in-person learning experience for students and teachers wanting the safety of virtual classrooms.
The School Board's decision to pursue a "Distance Learning Plus" model with students offered two in-person "experiences" per week may lead to no changes for this school year, however, as even such a modest shift into in-person learning would not take place until the county is moved into Tier 2. Currently, and since the beginning of the lockdown, the county is in Tier 1, meaning there are either more than 7 cases per 100,000 residents per day or over 8% test positivity. Tier 2 means a maximum of 7 cases per day. On December 21, the county had a rate of 112 new cases per 100,000 residents. That number would need to be reduced by a factor of 16 (for two weeks) in order for the county to move to the "substantial" level of spread of Tier 2 as opposed to the "widespread" level of Tier 1.
If parents are holding their breath for the vaccine to slow the spread of the coronavirus to the point the county can move to Tier 2, they may be in for suffocation. Dr. Olivia Kasirye of the Sacramento County Public Health office does not anticipate the general public of the state having access to the COVID-19 vaccine until early spring. It will certainly take some time after that to administer the medication to the masses, and contagion is expected to remain a problem even after the public is inoculated. Officials are loath to claim that inoculation can prevent transmission of the COVID-19 disease. And full protection against COVID-19 does not take effect until both doses of the vaccine are given at 6 months apart.
SMMUSD will be lucky if their hybrid learning plan goes into effect in the fall of 2021.