TRUS goes back to school in a pandemic

Welcome to First Grade! Jami Beck (seated right), first-grade teacher at Three Rivers Union School, introduces student Madison Daniska to her new best friend: a Chromebook. Parents Kari (seated) and Kyle Daniska (standing) pay strict attention because they’ll be helping with homework.


Students will return to the classroom when COVID-19 cases decrease

Governor Newsom’s guidelines are specific: Get the numbers of new coronavirus infections down or don’t expect to return to in-person learning anytime soon. TRUS goes back to

Have you seen the numbers for Tulare County lately? New positive cases are averaging nearly 200 per day, which are the highest new daily case totals to date since the first local case was reported in early March.

It means that for the forseeable future, public schools in Tulare County will remain under one type of distanced learning or another. Senate Bill 98 clearly spells out what is expected from each student in terms of minutes spent in the classroom (the Google classroom, that is) and how each teacher must record accountability. TRUS goes back to

The first week of school (last week) was spent in a succession of parent, teacher, and student meetings to dole out Chromebooks and go over the basics so that the student, parents, and teacher come right out the gate on the same page. The State is giving all districts until September 1 then they will be held accountable. 

SB 98 requires the transitional-kindergarten and kindergarten students to work 180 minutes daily; Grades 1 through 3 need to put in 230 minutes; grades 4 through 8 need 240 minutes. Three Rivers School has chosen a hybid curriculum that relies on both screen time on the Chromebook (every student gets a computer) and the more traditional worksheet assignments. TRUS goes back to

While on the Chromebook, teachers can see the student during the online sessions. If they don’t see them, they are instructed to call the home of the student to see if everything is okay. 

“There is so much uncertainty right now, and already we are seeing there are good days and there will be days when there are unforeseen technology issues,” said Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent.  “Of course, we must rely on teacher judgment that everything is ironed out by September 1.”

There’s an obvious concern about what is too much screen time, especially for the youngest learners. Like so much of this distance learning, time will tell. Some parents are choosing not to join in until a return to in-person learning in the classroom. That is keeping the current enrollment at 117; the 2019-2020 school year ended (during the beginning of the pandemic) right around 124.

Rural districts also face a connectivity problem because some homes don’t have internet access. SB 98 mandates that each student be connected. Sherwood said the lack of connectivity affects about a dozen families. So far, two students have elected to do their screen time in the school library, which is set up with socially distanced work stations for nine students. TRUS goes back to

The district is negotiating with the three local providers — AT&T, Spectrum, and Hughes Net to get as many students connected at home as possible. 

Sign of the times: Masks or face coverings are required of anyone who is on the campus of Three Rivers School.

2 thoughts on “TRUS goes back to school in a pandemic

  • August 21, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    In these uncertain times, we as the community need to think of ways to help enrich the days of the students,parents, teachers and the administrator….I am thinking… so encourage us all to do the same to think of ways to make this just a bit easier for all……

  • August 21, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    As a resident, now, of Long Beach, Ca, I was so interested in how your article laid out so clearly the new online school plans. My own grandchildren finished last year in online school. The 13 year old felt that over the weeks he grew to enjoy it. The two younger So miss their friends in the classroom setting. As a family, they do breakfast together with all pitching in. Parents like the additional, relaxed family time, but suspect there are moments they’d like to flush kids down the toilet.
    Our teachers were not trained to teach online, so I feel for them. This has to be hard on many.
    And I know that so many families are struggling,and desperately worried. As my years go by, I find myself unwilling to ‘look beyond’ this nation’s endemic racism, inequitable education, neighborhoods, opportunities, I read that a child that does not learn the concepts of letters and words by 4-6 years will never be able to read well enough to get an advanced degree should she want to.
    Well I’m rambling in the lateness of the hour. Thank you 3RiversNews for news that draws me in and sparks my interest.


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