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Secondary (grades 7-12) School Reopening is Delayed
Posted 10/8/20


Friday, October 9, 2020 is a Student Instructional Day

At a special board meeting on October 8, 2020, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education took action to delay the secondary school (grades 7-12) transition to hybrid in-person instruction no later than December 17, 2020. This change will not impact elementary schools, students currently receiving Special Day Class services (TK-12), or the Cloud Campus. 

Due to this delay, Friday, October 9, 2020 will once again be a student instructional day for all secondary students.

The District’s recommendation to delay the transition was made with input and support from all secondary site principals. While we have every intention to reopen our doors for students in a hybrid learning model and schools were making final preparations to implement health and safety measures, some significant complexities and challenges recently surfaced regarding the implementation of the hybrid model at secondary schools.

 One complexity at the secondary level is the need to create two balanced cohorts to reduce the number of students in the classroom at one time without impacting students and their courses. Imbalanced cohorts created challenges that would not allow us to meet the social distancing requirements in many classrooms. Due to varying class sizes in secondary classes, there is difficulty in evenly dividing cohorts, while maintaining social distance.

 Multiple instructional areas also surfaced, which prompted a deeper discussion on the benefits and disadvantages of moving to a hybrid structure at this time. One example is that the current hybrid model provides less teacher-student interaction than the current Distance Learning model. This additional time will allow staff an opportunity to adjust secondary hybrid plans that will seek to:

  • Design models to increase student and teacher learning interactions

  • Improve models of learning while students are at home

  • Design structures for additional student support

  • Provide additional targeted and intentional professional development

Collectively, principals, teachers and District administration are committed to use this time to make adjustments that better addresses the needs of students in a hybrid model. 

Secondary schools also require teachers and other certificated staff to have credentialing in specific subject areas, and due to a number of secondary teachers recently noting an inability to work in an in-person setting, we have a need to hire qualified teachers to fill these vacancies. While we are working with teachers to make accommodations as best as possible, there is still a need to fill vacancies for the transition to hybrid instruction. Hiring and filling vacancies in this environment has become increasingly difficult, as there is a countywide shortage of qualified teachers and available substitute teachers. 

We apologize for the change and recognize the impact on parents, families, students, and staff. These are difficult decisions that we have to make, but are always done with the best interests of our students and staff in mind. Thank you for your continued understanding and flexibility during this pandemic. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress.