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Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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If Santa Clara County’s Covid-19 numbers continue on a downward path, all Gilroy schools will reopen on Aug. 18.

The Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education on May 6 unanimously approved a plan for a five-day-a-week in-person schedule beginning on the first day of the 2021-22 school year.

It also approved a contingency plan in case Gilroy sees a surge of Covid-19 cases and shutdown orders return. That plan would continue the current hybrid model for elementary students, while middle and high schoolers would transition to a distance learning model or enroll in the Virtual Learning Academy.

Deborah Padilla, GUSD’s director of curriculum and instruction for secondary school, said families could also choose the Virtual Learning Academy instead of a full return to the classroom. The program offers online instruction through learning provider Edmentum.

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade can access courses at any time from an internet-connected device, working at their own pace in core curriculum such as math, science and English.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has targeted June 15 as the date for California’s economy to fully reopen, doing away with the current four-tiered, color-coded reopening system.

Trustee Enrique Diaz said the plan should have a Covid-19 case rate number that prompts when the district turns to its contingency.

Board President Mark Good said that is up to state and county officials.

“We’re kind of at the mercy of the state and county health departments to tell us what we can and cannot do,” he said. 

The district, meanwhile, is under the threat of litigation after an attorney representing a group of parents urged officials to reopen secondary schools before the end of the current school year on June 4.

GUSD spokesperson Melanie Corona said the district does not comment on threats of litigation. The district has forwarded the letter to its legal counsel for review.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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