Moraga schools prepares for some students' return with hybrid learning

The Moraga School District is preparing for the return of some students to the classroom on Monday, making it one of the first public school districts in Contra Costa County to transition to hybrid learning.

On Monday, Kindergarten through second grade students will be broken up into two groups and attend school in-person every other week, learning at home in the morning and going to campus for in-person instruction in the afternoon.

On Thursday, Camino Pablo Elementary held an open house for parents to see the safety measures that have been implemented. It’s one of three open houses the district has held at its schools in the last three weeks, according to Superintendent Bruce Burns. Burns said a district survey showed parents were split on whether to return to schools before or after the holidays.

“Safety was our number one priority and I would not have made a recommendation to reopen schools to our governing board unless I was highly confident that we could open under safe conditions,” Burns said.

MSD spent approximately $25,000 on installing new air purification systems in classes, purchasing fans, high grade filters, masks, face shields, gowns, hand sanitizer, and other PPE to ensure each classroom was prepared at its four schools. Burns credits the implementation of the safety procedures to the MSD COVID-19 safety taskforce that was created in the summer to address the safe return to schools, and a large donation from the Moraga Education Foundation.

A spokesperson for the Moraga Education Foundation said the organization works off donations to fill the gap from state funds and the actual costs of educating children in Moraga. MEF and was able to grant $1.6 million to the district for a variety of areas. The $25,000 the district spent on PPE and new safety measures was thanks to the grant money.

Burns said third through fifth grade students will return to schools in December followed by sixth through eighth grade students in January. Families who wish to have their children stay at home can choose to do so for the remainder of the school year.

He also said protocols are in place in case a student or staff member is exposed to COVID-19, which are in accordance with rules from Contra Costa County Health Services.