In a letter to families and the community released on April 19, Windsor Unified School District (WUSD) Superintendent Jeremy Decker stated that the district is moving forward to potentially accommodate the new guidelines for school distancing, that would allow classrooms to move from six feet to three feet in social distancing.
“Over the past week we began to assess how the new guidance could help us to welcome students back for more time in the classroom. On Monday, April 12, the district met with the Windsor District Educators Association Teacher Bargaining Team to discuss modifying our current agreement that was outdated and based upon the old guidance of six feet,” Decker said in a statement. “We both agreed that we want to continue to follow the science, and as three-foot distancing is now the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), we should modify our current MOU language to fit the updated guidance. Be that as it may, this does not mean that we are able to immediately welcome back all students.”
Decker went on to say the different configurations of desks in different classrooms makes coming up with a uniform policy difficult. “For those classrooms with individual desks, we can simply space the desks three feet apart and fit most students back into the classroom. However, about half of our classrooms in the district don’t contain individual desks. These classrooms contain double desks that are four to five feet wide where two students normally sit next to each other. These classrooms are requiring a greater amount of planning,” he said.
Once that planning is complete, the district and teachers will then figure out next steps. “(We will) discuss what we could do to potentially improve the experience for our students with a transition to 3 foot versus 6 foot (schedule, delivery of instruction models, meetings with the needs of ‘roomers’ and ‘zoomers,’ etc.,” Decker said. “Once we have though through classroom setup , potential schedule changes, etc. we will identify our plan for how we will utilize the new guidance to our advantage. “
To summarize the districts plans, “WUSD has adopted three-foot distancing in classrooms versus six-foot distancing in classrooms, but has not moved forward with implementing any changes yet.”
The upcoming planning for the district will include assessing which classrooms can/can't accommodate more students based on size and current furniture; problem solve for those classrooms that are unable to accommodate an increase in students due to classroom size and/or furniture limitations; and design an instructional delivery model utilizing the new guidance.
“I can't believe that I am sending you another email detailing how we are going to go about planning for the new guidance, but here I am doing so,” concluded Decker’s letter. “While I am excited at the thought of getting more students on campus for more days, we want to make sure that we are thoughtful in our planning so we can effectively meet the needs of both students in-person and those who have chosen to not return to in-person instruction for the remainder of the year.”