On Dec. 22, the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) held a Special Board of Education meeting unanimously voting to approve the Pandemic Response MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) Addendum #5 Return 2 Learn: Small Group Cohorts TK-12 and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (including 3-year calendar) with the Beverly Hills Education Association (BHEA). Both agreements are pending the approval of BHEA membership. However, as the county sees record high COVID-19 cases, BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy stated that there is no correlation between the timing of the MOU and the safe reopening of the District.
Per Los Angeles County and the state of California, the return to physical classrooms and in-person learning will be dictated by conditions in the community. When school does reopen, all students returning to the physical classroom will be in a hybrid model as opposed to full-time in-person instruction. The Health Order from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) imposes a six-foot physical distance requirement, which means that not all students can return to the classroom at the same time.
“During my installation as president of the school board, I listed at least five challenges that I knew I would have to deal with,” President of the Board, Rachelle Marcus, told the Courier. “The first was achieving an MOU for the return to school plan with hybrid classes. It is a strong plan allowing for the greatest amount of teacher contact for all students and I am looking forward to the time when it is implemented. The other was negotiating a three-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with the BHEA. The collaborative effort on the part of both teams bodes well for the Board’s future relationship with the teachers. It was also amazing that the CBA was agreed to six months before the present contract expired. The previous Board, under the leadership of Dr. Bregy, Isabel Hacker and the administrative team, worked countless hours on both of these contracts and I am thrilled that the new Board quickly approved them with a 5-0 vote. We can now turn our efforts to the Strategic Plan, which was adopted this year, and make it the ‘living document’ that it was intended to be.”
BHUSD has been awarded the TK-2 Waiver, allowing the District’s youngest learners to be the first students to physically return to campus when the county is at an Adjusted Case Rate of 10 or below.
Elementary students will transition back to physical school five days per week for instruction in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. They will attend physical school with their classroom teacher for two hours and 20 minutes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Each Wednesday, students will be in-person for 1.5 hours. The remainder of each school day will be designated for independent learning with once-a-week virtual instruction from Physical Education, Art, MakerSpace, Vocal Music, and Science Lab teachers.
Students in grades 6-12 will transition back to campus two days a week in two cohorts, attending in person on Monday and Tuesday, or Thursday and Friday. Both cohorts will be virtual on Wednesdays to allow for equitable instruction and deep cleaning.
Classroom instruction will be live streamed to the cohort at home. Students in the cohort not on campus will be expected to log into the instruction via Zoom while the teacher delivers the lesson. Teachers will deliver labs, assessments, and individual support for the students in the physical classroom.
“I want to start by sincerely thanking you for your endless patience and support throughout this ongoing Pandemic,” Bregy wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to BHUSD families. “We know how hard you have been working at home during the Zoom classes, from managing multiple platforms to navigating technology issues, we understand this has been tough. Whether you are a parent, guardian, or student you have all been juggling so many challenges and I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it has been. You might be a working parent or a student with parents working on the front lines, whatever your circumstances, this Pandemic has impacted each and every one of you.”