Palmdale School District — Ocotillo Elementary

Schools in the Palmdale School District, including Ocotillo Elementary School, will be reopening Aug. 5 for in-person instruction. A resolution to authorize the reopening was unanimously approved Friday by the District’s trustees.

PALMDALE — Palmdale School District will return to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year when classes begin Aug. 5.

Palmdale trustees unanimously approved a resolution at a special Friday afternoon meeting to authorize and direct “that all instruction shall be full-time in-person instruction, except as otherwise required by law as of the first day of the 2021-22 school year,” according to the resolution.

All extracurricular activities will restart at a later date.

“We will strictly follow the California Department of Public Health new guidance directing the reopening of K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 school year,” Board President Ralph Velador said in a statement released after the meeting.

The Board’s action took into consideration local, state and federal laws and local public health guidance, California Department of Education guidance, new and developing laws and regulations, among other relevant information, the District said.

“Historically in-class education has proven to be the most effective form of learning for most students because it allows them to develop socially and emotionally while exploring ideas and dynamic social situations among their teachers and peers,” Superintendent Raul Maldonado said in a statement. “And the Board remains committed to the California Department of Public Health issued guidance for the re-opening of schools for the 2021-2022 school and provides ‘the foundational principle of (the) guidance is that all students must have access to safe and full in-person instruction and to as much instructional time as possible.’ ”

The California Department of Public Health requires all adults and students in K-12 settings to wear masks indoors.

“Masks are one of the most effective and simplest safety mitigation layers to prevent in-school transmission of COVID-19 infections and to support full time in-person instruction in K-12 schools,” the department’s guidelines said.

State public health officials will continue to assess conditions on an ongoing basis, and will determine no later than Nov. 1 whether to update mask requirements or recommendations.

California School Employees Association Chapter 296 President Helena Perkins asked during public comments that the Board and Superintendent Maldonado ensure that all stakeholders are invited to the planning and implementation of the plan.

‘We’ve been flying this plan for over a year, the pandemic plan that is, and we can’t run out of gas now,” Perkins said. “We need to make sure that the community, students, faculty, staff, classified (and) certificated all are part of these plans.”

Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association President Andrew Ramirez agreed.

“We hear Palmdale lead,” Ramirez said. “We expect Palmdale to lead through the middle, and part of leading through the middle of course is getting those ideas and that collaboration with those above and below.”

Ramirez added as certificated educators they are expected to perform and do anything that the district promises to the community.

“The community needs to be part of that conversation as well,” Ramirez said. “Safety is key; it’s great that our school District is looking to create positive opportunities for students.”

Ramirez added PETA is looking for collaboration.

“The Palmdale Promise includes the certificated, the teachers, the educators, those that walk into the classroom and clean, those that make sure that students are fed,” Ramirez said. “We want to make sure that everybody is taken into consideration when we talk about opening, reopening plans fully and we look for it to be done safely.”

He added that the union expects to be more involved than they were previously.

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