They're back: Over 50% of Students at SMMUSD Return to Campus
May 20, 2021
By Jack Simon, Observer Staff Writer
More than half of the students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District have returned to campus for in-person instruction and the percentage is increasing daily, school officials said on Monday.
But SMMUSD parents have until this Friday, May 14, to finalize their decision about in-person or distance learning for their children for the rest of this school year, said Supt Ben Drati in an email to parents.
“Following this date, parents will no longer be able to switch between the two options,” he said.
In his email, Drati mentioned that between 80% and 92% of the elementary students came back to their physical classrooms while 68% to 80% of the middle schoolers returned to campus. The in-person attendance at Samohi and Malibu High was 58% and 46%, respectively, he said.
“With only 16% of California’s kids back at school, we in SMMUSD are thrilled to be welcoming students again to our campuses.” Drati said. “Our in-person attendance numbers continue to rise.”
Drati also noted that the district has established a COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program, available for SMMUSD staff and students who are participating in on-campus programs.
“This is a voluntary program and we are partnering with Valencia Branch Labs to conduct primarily asymptomatic surveillance testing,” he said. “The recommended frequency is once per week for those who choose to participate.”
The testing sites will be at John Adams Middle School on Mondays and Thursdays and Malibu Elementary School on Tuesdays, the superintendent said. The sites will be supervised by the district’s nursing staff.
Drati also mentioned Pfizer vaccine, which was recently approved by the FDA for children 12 to15 years of age.
“This is good news for our middle school and high school families,” he said. “Vaccines are free regardless of insurance or immigration status. You will not be asked about your immigration status when you get a COVID vaccine.”
Drati concluded his email by thanking SMMUSD staff, parents and students for continuing to follow health and safety protocols and their “continued support and for helping us reach our long-awaited return to campuses.”
“We are thrilled to be back on our campuses, while continuing to provide distance learning education to students who are still at home,” he added.