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Chico Unified continues with in-person learning despite tier changes

Despite Butte County moving into the state's most restrictive tier, public health says schools that are already open can remain open. Parents made their voices heard.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020 12:08 AM
Updated: Nov 19, 2020 10:22 AM

CHICO, Calif. - The Chico Unified School Board decided to continue with in-person learning, despite purple tier restrictions in Butte County. The district decided to stay with in-person learning after hearing from frustrated parents.

Butte County saw 35 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday for a total of 3,526 confirmed.

Public Health says schools that are already open for in-person learning can remain that way, even in the state's most restrictive tier.

"Please please, don't take our tiny two hours of education away from our children," said a concerned Chico parent through the phone who went by Rebecca.

"My six-year-old on the other hand you were lucky if you got him on the zoom meeting for more than a minute to two minutes at the max," said Matthew Christopherson, a parent that is against virtual learning.

"It got to the point where you would say the word school and he would sit in the back of my van and just ball his eyes out," he said, "because he missed his friends, he missed his teachers."

RELATED: Chico Unified School District to discuss possible change in learning model

"Hardest thing would be getting her focused and not having to sit there all day with her to find her pages and to do basically all the work right along with her," said Tera Mattis while holding her daughter's hand.

Butte County Community Health Director Monica Soderstrom joined the board meeting through Zoom and explained why it was up to the board whether classes go virtual or not.

"It was determined that if a school opened while they were in the red tier or lower, so orange or yellow," said Soderstrom, "and then later their county went into the purple tier, they would remain open if they so chose to do so."

School Board Member Linda Hovey made her decision early, and a decision that rubbed off on the majority of the board.

"I am leaning towards staying the course. I would ask anyone to try and change my mind, but that is currently how I feel," she said.

"What do you want, do you want to stay in school or do you want to go online?" asked Action News Reporter Esteban Reynoso to Mattis' daughter. "I want to stay in school," her daughter responded.

The school board's decision to remain with the AM/PM model means classes will remain the same until the last day of the semester on Dec. 18.

The next school board meeting will be held on Dec. 2, where the board will make decisions about the spring semester in 2021.

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Aside from the haze and smoke, we've had beautiful weather in northern California today, and it will be just as nice tomorrow. A storm is coming our way, however, and we'll have very unsettled weather this weekend.
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