School community meeting to take place before winter break

Julie Reichle

Barricades indicate Piedmont Middle School is closed

In an email sent to PUSD families on Nov. 30, Superintendent Randy Booker revised the timeline for a community meeting regarding the reopening of the middle and high schools. The meeting was originally scheduled to be held this week, but has now been pushed back to some time “prior to the start of winter break.”

In this week’s email, Booker said the district was planning to bring students back into a hybrid-in-person teaching environment as soon as the Alameda County Public Health Department allowed for the change. (The County moved back to the most restrictive purple tier in mid-November due to rising COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations. )

The email also revealed that parent pushback caused the district to abandon the controversial proposal to use the Edgenuity platform for distance learners, saying “due to your feedback, we will not be moving forward with an online virtual academy program as the option for families who choose to continue with distance learning. As a result, distance learning students will receive instruction by a certificated teacher.”

The email also said the district would pilot the use of cameras in the classroom in order to enable a “concurrent classroom” model — simultaneously teaching students in the classroom and at home. The district and some teachers have resisted the use of cameras in the classroom since the pandemic forced the shutdown of schools in the spring, citing concerns around privacy and the difficulties of using the technology to reach two sets of students at the same time. Many parents, however, have voiced their support for integrating cameras into a hybrid model, especially at the higher grade levels.

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