Irvine Unified to Begin Hybrid In-Person Instruction September 24


Jenny Won

Though hybrid learning will allow students to return to campus, most elements of a traditional school day will be modified to account for safety procedures such as cohorts, social distancing and minimization of shared surfaces. The adjusted cohort schedule will make enforcement of such procedures more management for students and staff.

Jenny Won, Opinion Editor

Assuming that current downward trends of coronavirus spread continue, Irvine Unified students enrolled in the hybrid model will resume in-person instruction Sept. 24-25, depending on their cohort assignment. 

The schedule for the week of Sept. 21 will be staff development days with no student instruction on Monday and Tuesday, a day of digital instruction only on Wednesday, in-person instruction for Cohort A on Thursday and in-person instruction for Cohort B on Friday. On the days each cohort is not at school in-person, students will still be expected to attend digital instruction and complete coursework.

Cohorts divide students into one of two roughly equal sized groups in order to ensure that no more than 50 percent of students will be on campus at a time, according to email communication from principal John Pehrson. Students with last names A-Le will be in Cohort A, and students with last names Li-Z will be in Cohort B.

In a typical school week, hybrid students will attend school two days a week: Cohort A on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Cohort B on Wednesdays and Fridays for their odd and even classes respectively. Mondays will be reserved for at-home digital instruction. Specific scheduling information for individual students will be made available to families as reopening approaches, according to email communication from Portola Counseling. 

In accordance with the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 monitoring guidelines, Orange County must remain in its current “red” tier for two weeks in order to be cleared for on-campus instruction. Schools will close again if cases rise. 

To maximize safety, group activities will be completely restricted, and masks and social distancing will be strictly enforced by trained staff members, according to the IUSD COVID-19 Resource Page.

“Enhanced cleaning tools and disinfectants are purchased and stocked, and new cleaning protocols are established to ensure that all high-touch surfaces and areas are cleaned each day,” Pehrson said. “Each classroom’s HVAC system has also been thoroughly serviced and recalibrated to pull in fresh air from outside in compliance with CDC guidelines.”

Hybrid and special education traditional model students will follow the aforementioned schedule, while blended model students will only attend in-person instruction for Portola classes and continue to attend digital instruction at home for Irvine Virtual Academy classes. IVA students will remain in digital instruction.

“We look forward to getting everyone back on campus,” Pehrson said in an email communication on Sept. 1. “We think this will add so much to our sense of community and while it may be accompanied by some anxiety, we are ready to take on that next step toward a more typical school experience.”