BEVERLY HILLS, CA — After months of deliberations, the Beverly Hills Unified School District released a detailed reopening plan for the upcoming year.
Schools will be virtual as long as Los Angeles County remains on the state monitoring watchlist, according to a new guideline from Gov. Gavin Newsom. Students and staff will only be able to return on-campus if their county is off the watchlist for 14 consecutive days.
Given the county's soaring infection rate, it appears unlikely Beverly Hills students will be able to return to campus on Aug. 17. The district is therefore offering two distinct options: a de-facto virtual instruction curriculum called Live@BHUSD, and an Independent Learning Center to which families must apply.
In June, the district announced plans to give families the option of either the Independent Learning Center, or return to campus in staggered cohorts. In the new landscape, the latter option has been replaced by Live@BHUSD, a virtual option designed to closely imitate a regular school setting.
According to the reopening plan, classes will be held with live, direct instruction on forums like Seesaw and Google Classroom, and will be held on a schedule that mirrors the student’s usual bell schedule. The report says that “significant improvements have been made from Home Learning 2.0 – [the program used from March to June] – based on student, staff, and parent feedback.”
In a video, Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy said that Live@BHUSD will offer “challenging assignments equivalent to in-person classes,” as well as social-emotional support and specialized lessons for English language learners and students with special needs.
Live@BHUSD students will return to campus once that becomes possible, but students who apply to the ILC commit to at least a semester of virtual-only instruction. The ILC was originally founded pre-COVID for students who benefit from non-traditional learning settings. Elementary school students will work on self-guided lessons and projects, and meet each day with separate ILC teachers for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes (depending on grade level) for their subject.
Students in grades 6-12 will work on a standards-aligned program, and attend a Multiple Student Tutoring session with their peers for 2 hours in math, English, social studies, and science each week. Each Student will also meet for an hour a week with their teachers.
The deadline to apply to the ILC was Monday morning. According to district spokesperson Rebecca Starkins, as of Monday the district has received approximately 530 ILC applications, which represents 15.6 percent of the total district population.
The report also detailed the safety precautions the district will take once students can return on-campus. Following the governor’s guidelines, every day will start off with a symptom check, everyone must maintain 6 feet of distance at all times, regular testing and dedicated contract tracing will take places, and students in 3rdgrade and above will have to wear masks. A school must go home if many cohorts, or more than 5% of the school tests positive, and in Beverly Hills, if one school closes, the whole district will close.