Chico Unified School Board votes to delay full in-person instruction

Butte County is now in the orange tier of the state's reopening plan, but a decision by the Chico Unified School Board means students will not return back to normal just yet.

Posted: Oct 22, 2020 8:59 AM
Updated: Oct 22, 2020 9:09 AM

CHICO, Calif. - Butte County is now in the orange tier of the state's reopening plan, but a decision by the Chico Unified School Board means students will not return back to normal just yet.

The Chico Unified School Board met Wednesday evening and members voted to wait until the Spring semester for full in-person instruction.

The five-member board voted unanimously to hold off on a full reopening of schools - until January 2021. Currently the school district has students go to class in an am/pm model.

A key reason for this decision? The upcoming holidays.

Some board members cited the worry of coronavirus cases rising during that time.

RELATED: Track Covid-19 cases across the North State

Matt Tennis, a candidate for the Chico Unified School Board was the only person to speak in the meeting. Tennis was not in agreement with the board's direction.

"Governor Gavin Newsom and Mark Galley, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, they think it's ok for us to be back in class now full time at a regular schedule with safety precautions," said Tennis.

He later asked the board "who's more conservative? The Chico Unified School board of trustees!"

After the remarks from Tennis, a tense statement came from Elizabeth Griffin, the president of the board of trustees.

"Do you want us to disregard all public health recommendations and send kids back?" Griffin asked Tennis, adding "we're not going to act irresponsibly just because you keep coming here making noise."

State guidelines say if schools re-opened while the county was in the red tier, they are not required to return to virtual learning. Based on that, board members voted if Butte County slips back into the purple tier, they would hold an emergency meeting.

At that point, board members would decide whether to continue with in-person instruction or go back to online learning. This would all be held within seven days of the county being moved to the purple tier.

RELATED: Understand the State's color-coded Covid system

Other action items in the meeting - board members gave the green light to allow sports teams to practice with safety measures in place.

Incidentally, board members also voted to approve funds from Measure K for projects involving Chico Country Day School and Inspire School of the Arts.

A recent survey in the meeting showed that only 40% of teachers agreed to return to the classroom if the county is in the state's red Tier. While 60% of teachers were in disagreement.

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