Special education students in the Chino Valley school district will be the first student groups to return to school for in-person instruction following a school board vote of 3-2 on Thursday.
The board unanimously approved reopening schools for school-based sports conditioning and band and cheer practices.
A third item requesting that the district submit a waiver to the state to allow TK-6 grade classrooms to open failed to receive a majority of support from the school board.
Board members James Na and Andrew Cruz voted in favor of all three items, which were added to the Oct. 15 agenda upon request of Mr. Cruz.
Before casting her vote in favor of the special education classes, board member Irene Hernandez-Blair asked Chino Valley Superintendent Norm Enfield if there would be equity for all special education students if the measure passed.
Dr. Enfield said special ed classes are not standardized across the district and the district will evaluate each one for adherence to state guidelines. He said he would prefer that all qualifying special education classes in the district were operational five days a week.
The superintendent said he has recommended that schools stay closed until all of San Bernardino County plus cities served by the Chino Valley school district are in the Red Tier for two consecutive weeks, and he continues with that recommendation.
Meanwhile, the school district has been preparing to reopen schools and through CARES Act funding, has ordered 30,000 desk shields for distribution to every school.
District parent Kevin Butscher, leader of the parents’ group Chino Valley Special Needs Network, along with other special education parents have been petitioning the school board since last summer to allow special education classes, which are typically small size classes, on campuses.
After the board voted on Thursday, Mr. Butscher told the Champion, “I’m so thankful to the school board for listening to special needs parents and caregivers."
"This is huge for my daughter because she will now receive all the support, services and assessments that she needs to learn and succeed.”
Superintendent Enfield said special education parents who opted for distance learning at the beginning of the school year, may continue with that model.
There was no timeline given for implementation of the two programs that were approved by the school board.
Chino Valley school district spokeswoman Imee Perius said
a child development program at the Chino Valley Adult School campus and Fun Club programs at Liberty, Newman, Rhodes, and Hidden Trails elementary schools have been open since Sept. 8 for returning families who were previously enrolled.
Currently, parents who are not enrolled may call to be added to an interest list.
Hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Parents pay a fee of $560 a month for full time, five days a week, $450 a month for full time, four days a week, and $340 a month for full time, three days a week.
Information: 628.1201, ext. 8917 or email Leah_Begue@chino.k12.ca.us.