Cypress School District prepares for in-person instruction

Cypress classrooms await the return of students.

Although the approximately 4,000 students within the Cypress School District are already back in school with distance learning, Superintendent Anne Silavs says they are making final preparation for in-person instruction.

“Under the circumstances,” said Silavs, “we are as ready as we can be.”
She said the staff and Board of Trustees were busy studying changes made in the state’s reopening plan by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday.

Yet, she said they are still tentatively, is planning a move into classrooms in September.
“Things could change,” she said, and if they do, “we will make the necessary adjustments.”
The Cypress School District is an elementary only system, she said, and parents were offered three options for reopening, including traditional in-class instruction, a hybrid and distance learning only.

Like most systems, the Cypress School District has developed a detailed reopening safety plan that is available on the system’s website, she said.

The plan’s overall priority, said Silavs, protects “the safety our students, teachers and staff,” and it also laid out policies and procedures for each of the three options.
Although the Cypress Board of Trustees has authorized the system to apply for an elementary school waiver, she said, they have not yet filed an application.

“We knew that Orange County was coming off of the watch list,” said Silavs, so there was some reluctance to engage in a massive application process when it would likely be unnecessary to enter the classrooms, she added.

While Orange County’s removal from the watchlist theoretically paves the way for in-school to begin as early as Sept. 7, Silavs said at press time, it was still unclear as to whether or not the governor’s new plan would complicate the move into the classrooms.

However, if indeed it becomes necessary to do so, Silavs said they would indeed file the waiver application to get students back in class.

Anne Silavs

Silavs said, like other educators, they are studying Gov. Newsom’s newly released “California Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” It introduced a four-tiered system with more precise color-coded rankings based on 1) the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and 2) the testing positivity rate.

The blueprint imposes a mandatory 21-day waiting period before counties can move up a tier. Counties must meet the metrics of the next tier for two straight weeks. If a county fails to do so, it will move back down to the previous tier. The state will assess county case and positivity rates on a weekly basis.

Accordingly, “Orange County superintendents are awaiting further interpretation of the state’s new system and its impact on school reopening from Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau,” said Silavs.

Cypress School District’s teachers and administrators are prepared to reopen whenever it is finally allowed, she said.

Meanwhile, Silavs said the district has used COVID relief funding to purchase new software for distance learning, desk shields and other products to enhance safety throughout the system.

According to statistics released by her office, students and their parents are relatively split on how they want to attend school this year.
• Just over 30 percent chose to attend in person, regular schedule.
• Less than a third, 23.56 percent, chose to use the hybrid schedule which includes 2 days in-person and 3 days of distance learning, and
• The remainder, and nearly half, 46.39 percent, chose to attend the entire year in distance learning.
“We were as flexible as possible,” said Silavs, not wanting to “force parents to accept one model over another.”
“We want what is most comfortable for them,” she said.