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KION Article on Schools provide modified in-person programs to bridge digital divide (click on title to learn more)

September 18, 2020: CASTROVILLE, Calif. (KION) While most students are still learning from home in Monterey County, a small number are going to campus to engage in distance learning.

"We have students that we've identified that may not have electricity in their homes. We want make sure they have access to all services," said Noemy Loveless with North Monterey County Unified School District.

North Monterey County Unified School District opening some classrooms for high needs students. Loveless said this includes students in special education programs, those who identify as homeless or are in foster care.


"Full distance learning was not working for those students. They needed to be brought onto campus to be supervised when attending classes online," said Kari Yeater, North Monterey County Unified School District Superintendent.

Guidance from the California Department of Public Health allows schools to bring in students in groups of 14 or less and staff no more than two adult supervisors. The groups are referred to as a "cohort." The exception was created specifically for kids who could be at high-risk of falling behind during distance learning.

"We're doing at the door screenings. We ask house screenings questions of our families as they drop off their students. We take our students temperatures on a daily basis," said Loveless.

This week, Monterey County gave schools the "go ahead" to submit a waiver to bring more kids back to campus.

North Monterey County Unified School District plans to talk about the possibility of applying for a waiver at an upcoming board meeting.

"Our priorty right now is looking at those students, on a weekly basis, that aren't doing well in distance learning and getting those kids in essential childcare or supervised," said Yeater.