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Hayward Unified will return to in-person instruction after a week of remote learning, warnings

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) — The Hayward Unified community can expect a so-called “soft entry” as the district wraps up its remote learning week due to COVID-19.

District leaders warned against going virtual; it’s an option that could have cost them millions, daily.

When students return on the 18th, new safety measures will include shortened school days to allow students and staff access to afternoon COVID-19 testing offered by the district.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Hayward Unified School District Risks $2.5 Million in Funds a Day by Temporarily Going Virtual

Superintendent Dr Matt Wayne explained: “We’re doing takeout just to minimize lunchtime interactions, we’ve moved staff meetings virtually. We’re testing athleticism, limiting spectators. Limiting students – don’t not have student performance, postpone study trips.

The district school board met Friday night to decide whether it would extend remote learning and continue to risk a potential daily funding loss of $2.5 million each day campuses remain closed.

“Before we reached this omicron stage of the pandemic, they were already facing tough budget decisions,” Michelle Smith McDonald of the Alameda County Office of Education told ABC7 News ahead of Friday’s meeting. “It certainly doesn’t make it any easier if that happens.”

VIDEO: CA official explains what state can do to keep schools open despite omicron push

Smith McDonald said nearly every other district in the county continued to offer in-person classes.

“The state has given schools two tracks,” she added. “In-Person Instruction or Parental Choice of Independent Study.”

The independent study is for parents who remain reluctant to send their children back to school for in-person learning. The option requires parents to sign a contract with the district, allowing the student to complete schoolwork and follow the curriculum adopted by the district with little supervision.

RELATED: East Bay Parents, Teachers Upset Over Omicron’s Surge Handling, But In-Person Learning Continues

This is different from distance learning, where school campuses were closed and teachers taught a course online. Remote learning is no longer an option for districts in California.

Friday’s meeting drew mixed reactions about Tuesday’s return.

A woman who identified herself as a teacher in the district told the council, “What you are talking about is not enough, it is not.”

“Help us with the children,” a father with children in the district told the council. “And online is not good for our children.”

SEE ALSO: Doctor says it’s ‘inevitable’ for children to get COVID at school

The council voted three to two, in favor of returning in person.

Before the official vote, Administrator Ken Rawdon told his colleagues, “It’s not perfect, but right now we’re also trying to do everything we can to cooperate with the state and our county.”

To visit the Hayward Unified website, click here.

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