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Whittier Union not ready to close campuses for rest of the year

WHITTIER — State education officials and Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that schools will likely stay closed through the academic year but Whittier officials are not ready to make that leap.

Schools in the Whittier Union High School District are currently slated to reopen May 5.

“We understand the recommendations being made by the county and state. However, as a District, we have aligned our decisions with public health guidance to take a measured approach, extending dismissal incrementally to provide the flexibility for our students to return to school – but only if it is safe,” Superintendent Martin Plourde wrote in a letter to parents.

“This approach is in response to feedback from parents across the District who have asked that our schools be prepared for students to return to our campuses, engage in regular academic activities, and celebrate milestones together, such as commencement, as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We are doing our best to anticipate the challenges that come with this public health crisis and will continue to update our timetables as needed, based on guidance from public health officials. It goes without saying that the safety of our students comes first.

“In the meantime, I am heartened by the great work and resilience I am seeing from our students! In all of our schools our students are pushing their instructional program forward, checking in daily, turning in assignments, and finding innovative ways of connecting that are safe and appropriate.

“As teachers, we will continue to strengthen our distance learning programs, ensuring continuity through remote tools, blending online learning programs and printed materials, and supporting students’ determination to finish the year strong.

“We are also planning for alternative options for graduation activities.

“Graduation is a significant time of year; we are giving great thought to how to harness the transformational spirit of commencement and deliver a ceremony that our students deserve. Again, we are still in the planning stages, but we want you to know that it is a priority for us because we know it is so meaningful for our students.”

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