Trustees hear updates on WHS building projects, COVID-related guidelines

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The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to accept the completion of the Winters High School Administration Building project at the Sept. 3 Winters Joint Unified School District school board meeting.

In lieu of a ribbon cutting ceremony, Mary Fitzpatrick, Senior Project Manager with Van Pelt Construction Services, showed Trustees a slideshow of the different stages of the project up to the almost finished interior. 

Staff are now working out of the building as last minute furniture and blinds are installed.

The next project already in progress is the 12 classroom building, which will replace the current main WHS building.

Assistant Superintendent Sandra Ayón gave an update on distance learning within the district.

Students began the school year through distance learning on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Each school’s website has a link for distance learning resources, as well as a COVID-19 resource tab available on the Winters JUSD website.

She also presented the 2020-21 draft for the Winters JUSD Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCAP).

Ayón noted that at the time there wasn’t anything new from what had already been presented to trusteed over the summer, but now was the time to make any additions or adjustments.

The LCAP is a three-year document that details the goals, actions, services, and expenditures to address state priorities and support student achievement. While it is approved annually by the Board of Trustees with input from students, parents, staff, and the community of Winters; this year’s process has faced challenges with constant changes in guidelines and expectations handed down from the state regarding educational standards during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trustee Rob Warren asked if Winters JUSD would be looking into applying for a waiver recently granted to Woodland Christian School which allows students in Transitional Kindergarten through sixth grade to attend school in person.

Superintendent Diana Jiménez said the application is approved or denied by the Yolo County Department of Health. However, the waiver process itself involved a lengthy process that needed to be approved through multiple stakeholders and organizations. In addition, it also included addressing multiple points including safety.

She said most private schools are able to provide the required social distancing guidelines in the classroom due to smaller class sizes. She said if Trustees were interested the school district could look more into the waiver process details that would allow students in TK through sixth grade to return to in-class learning.

Ayón explained that currently there were only able to provide students with 1 on 1 assessments, which is state mandated to be a part of the IEP process. She said although they didn’t do that in the spring, they would be doing it now that they have all the right supports in place.

She said the district’s next step is to look into the guidelines to allow small groups of students and staff to meet in person to provide strategic interventions. She said while it wouldn’t replace the whole day of learning, it would help to address students who were experiencing the most learning loss.

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