Alexander Martinez assisted passing out free student meals during a daily distribution at Finley Elementary School in Holtville on March 24. Martinez handed out the meals to local residents who drove up to pick up the meals from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | CORISSA IBARRA PHOTO
IMPERIAL COUNTY — As county schools temporarily cease in-classroom instruction amid the flu pandemic, studies continue with online programs that vary by district, a March 20 review showed.
Holtville High School, students are using Google Classroom, a streamlined tool
that helps teachers manage coursework. With Google, educators can create
classes, distribute assignments, grade and send feedback, explained Principal Anthony
students Chromebooks and that’s how they’re turning in assignments,” said
Arevalo. “Keith Smith, our history/government teacher, started streaming
content (in real time). Other teachers are also streaming live at various times
of the day.”
also anticipates resuming classes April 20 but that will be in consultation
with the state, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the county
Department of Public Health, he noted.
excited our teachers got the curriculum up quickly and students continue to
learn and we’re proud of how they’re performing so well under difficult
circumstances,” Arevalo added.
districts in Imperial County ceased classes on March 16.
learning is keeping students engaged online, explained Jon LeDoux, El Centro
Elementary School district superintendent. Its students in grades three through
eight were provided with Chromebooks uploaded with instructional programs to
take home during the indefinite break.
we do not have supervision of the students and because we do not know where
students are during closure, we are not requiring they turn in assignments. It
is up to parents to determine what the student completes at home,” said
students lacking Internet access at home there are two options, noted LeDoux.
Spectrum Internet services will provide free access for students in their
business area. Also, the district has some Mi-Fi hot spots that can provide
schools continued to provide meal service to sustain students.
Unified School District meal program has two sites, one at Finley Elementary
and the other at the high school.
cafeteria servers report everything is running smoothly,” said Arevalo.
“This morning, a student during a livestreaming class told us, ‘Thank you
for providing this’ and we very much appreciated it.”
doing very well. The first day 809 students were served,” said LeDoux of
El Centro Elementary. “By the third day, we were at 2,800 and we believe
that number will continue to rise. We typically serve 4,500 students daily. The
funding is guaranteed so we have no concerns with overwhelming capacity. We
have enough food to serve as many students necessary as long as we need, as our
stocks are replenished on a regular basis.”
between food workers and parents picking up meals at school sites is carefully
controlled. Employees are well trained regarding food handling with all meals
served to those in cars while servers wear gloves and there is minimal
interaction with participants, LeDoux assured.
Still in Flux
is still providing guidance on whether school closures will be extended, and the
district expects an announcement in the next few weeks.
state has announced due to the nature of the crisis, missed school days will
not be made up,” said LeDoux. “The school year will be shortened
based on when the schools reopen.”
As to the
question if school could be canceled for the remainder of the year, he
explained they are closed until April 20 but any decision beyond that will be
made in the coming weeks.
teachers are very concerned about the education of their students,” said
LeDoux. “Some teachers are using virtual workshops, using teleconferencing
with their students to offer enrichment lessons. Everyone is anxious to get
school (classrooms) started as soon as it is safe to do so. We understand why
we are closed and agree it is the best possible action to support efforts to
stop COVID-19 from spreading.”
Semester May Extend for Some
daunting prospect of prolonging the spring term is a stark reality for Imperial
Valley College students.
are hopeful most students will be able to complete their courses online by the
end of spring 2020 and graduate on time,” said Martha Garcia,
not cancel the spring semester and will offer most of its instruction and
services online. Unlike the elementary schools, assignments and exams must be
completed virtually. Still, there are some courses requiring in-person
instruction, such as the Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy and
conceded IVC may need to extend the spring semester for some courses into the summer
students’ courses will extend into the summer session because it is required
they complete labs face-to-face,” she said.
learning is complicated because even at college level there are some who have
no Internet access at home.
college recognizes this need and has offered to lend computers and Mi-Fi
hotspots,” said Garcia. “We have a limited supply yet about 70
students have taken advantage of this service.”
the primary and secondary schools, IVC also implemented a grab and go model of
meal distribution for the underserved.
IVC we are truly concerned about the food- and housing-insecure students,”
said Garcia. “A drive through was arranged March 16 and about 60 students
drove to a campus parking lot and students picked up bags of food, hygiene kits,
including toiletries and a towel, along with school supplies and laptops.”
there are no more contingency plans being developed but Garcia said she recognizes
it is a fluid situation.
appreciate everyone’s patience as college leadership works to ensure a safe and
healthy learning environment for our students, employees and community,”
requested a progress report from Calexico Unified School District as well.
Alejandra Limon, a district public information officer, replied in an email the
inquiry was received and would be shared with the district executives who would
prepare a response. However, none was received by deadline.