Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) has been waiting for Stanislaus County to be put in the Red Tier so that they can begin returning secondary students to school campuses with a phased in approach. The district is hopeful that students will return to Riverbank High School (RHS), Adelante Continuation High School, and Cardozo Middle School later this month. Stanislaus County has been in the purple tier with a risk level of “widespread” for quite some time but this can change at any time.
The return to school for high school and middle school students would not be five days a week. The modified schedule would be a hybrid model similar to what the elementary students are currently doing in ‘Cohorts.’ They alternate in-person instruction two days a week and all students learn virtually on Wednesdays. The food services will remain served as “grab and go bags” for safety purposes and the nutrition services posts a monthly menu on the website.
RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella noted that, “several districts in the county are looking at ways to combine the elementary school cohorts to expand in-person teaching. Using the most recent guidance, we are checking to see if we can do this safely. Once we determine the feasibility of this we will be informing families.”
Part of getting ready to return to campus is getting teachers and other school personnel vaccinated.
There was a vaccine clinic held at the Ray Fauria Gym on the Riverbank High School campus this past Monday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for people throughout the district to receive vaccinations. Through collaboration between RUSD and Golden Valley Health Centers (GVHC) they were able to get approximately 60 people vaccinated at the clinic held on the RHS campus.
“I was particularly interested in working with GVHC so that we might strengthen our partnership while providing a convenient location for our employees to go to where they would not have to drive or wait in lines,” stated Facella.
The clinic was open to RUSD employees that wanted to get vaccinated that signed up prior to the administering on Monday. Participants filled out the paperwork, received their shot, and then had to wait in the gym for 15 minutes before they could leave.
“Everybody from GVHC every step of the way was willing to help us and willing to work with us,” said Facella regarding the success of the clinic on campus. “It was great. It was a combination of us working together. We are very grateful to GVHC.”
Adelante High School Principal Ed Vaca attended the clinic and was very enthusiastic about receiving the vaccine and a sticker. RUSD Translator Elodia Puga received her first shot that she expressed did not hurt at all and will be receiving the second shot a few weeks from now. Cardozo Middle School Principal Kevin Bizzini also received his first shot this past Monday.
“I experienced no adverse reactions at all,” added Bizzini. “I likened the shot to my annual flu shot; I barely felt the injection. My next shot is in three weeks. I am hopeful RUSD can facilitate another clinic here at the RHS gym. It was extremely convenient for our employees.”
And for Bizzini, it is one step closer to getting students back in classes. He did note that even when campuses are able to re-open, it’s likely some parents will keep their children at home.
“For a small percentage of students, we are offering RUSD’s Virtual Instruction Program (VIP). These students will attend classes 100 percent virtually,” Bizzini explained. “The VIP model will support the district’s effort to accommodate families that are still uncomfortable with attending in-person instruction.”
Once the county is designated in the red tier grades 6-12 will be allowed to begin the modified instruction on campus.
“Distance Learning has been a challenge for everyone involved, but the prospect of having on-campus instruction has seemed to bring the best out of our students,” Bizzini shared. “My staff and I are enthusiastic about getting students back in their seats. We understand that we will only be a 50 percent capacity each day, but face time is gold right now.”
Bizzini noted that CMS is currently in the annual English Learner Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC).
“We have been very encouraged by the level of participation by our students and our completion rate,” stated Bizzini. “We believed that getting students to come to campus to take an assessment would be a daunting challenge. As of today, we have had 89 percent of our 188 students complete the test. I could not be prouder of our students; they have been very responsible toward the goal of passing the assessments and gaining reclassified status. It has also been an encouraging vision into how well we will be able to facilitate the upcoming California Assessments of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).”