Melissa Taite

Melissa Taite and daughter Chloey take bikes to the first day of fourth-grade at Aliso School in 2016.

Carpinteria schools will likely remain closed for the rest of the academic year, according to Carpinteria Unified School District (CUSD) Superintendent Diana Rigby. 

On Thursday evening, March 19, Rigby posted a letter to ParentSquare, CUSD’s message board, informing parents that schools will not reopen on March 27, as initially indicated, and might not reopen at all before summer break. 

Rigby’s announcement followed California Governor Gavin Newsom’s statement given Wednesday night that he anticipated few schools would reopen in the coming weeks. "This is a very sobering thing to say," said Newsom, “I don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week… It’s unlikely that many of these schools—few if any—will open before the summer break. Boy, I hope I’m wrong, but I believe that to be the case.”

CUSD serves 2,100 students, with 60 percent—1,200 children—receiving free or reduced-price lunches. Across the state, California has over 10,000 public schools that serve 6.2 million students, all facing the same dilemma as CUSD. 

“I am so sorry that the disruption of the school closure has created many uncertainties and issues for you and your family,” wrote Rigby, as she informed CUSD parents of the indefinite closures. “We are all working hard to adapt to this emergency situation… the health and safety of our school communities remain our top priority… CUSD will remain closed until state and local authorities determine when we can return.”

This week, while schools were closed, Carpinteria High School launched a remote curriculum for students utilizing school-issued computers. Rigby stated that all students, preschool-grade 12 will be given a remote learning program commencing the week after spring break. The proposal is ambitious, since many students—particularly in the lower grades where in-person classes are almost the universal norm—will need to be given access to the internet and computers, along with training for online education. Teachers will also have to adjust quickly to teaching virtually.  

“We have dedicated teachers, administrators and staff who will work hard to ensure that all students have access to computers at home and the internet, and will be able to participate in online learning,” said Rigby, noting that school principals would be reaching out to parents with details on how to receive home laptops and internet access.

For primary students in preschool through second grade, work paper packets will be given out at school sites.

Standardized testing has been canceled for 2019-20, stated Rigby, who also informed parents that the high school principal would be updating students and families on College Board exams, such as, the AP, SAT and ACT. Parents with students in the special education program will be contacted by Karla Curry, CUSD director of special education. 

When school is in session, free lunches will be provided in a drive-through protocol at Aliso and Canalino Elementary schools from noon to 1 p.m.  

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