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Hart District Approves Temporary Restrictions To In-Person Learning

The governing board for the William S. Hart Union High School District approved the implementation of temporary restrictions to the in-person instruction of small cohorts of students due to the current COVID-19 surge in Los Angeles County.

During a special meeting Wednesday evening, the Hart District’s Governing Board met to “consider the question of whether additional temporary restrictions to in-person instruction are called for.”

“On January seventh, the Office of Education called 80 Superintendents of L.A. County,” said Hart District Superintendent Mike Kuhlman. “We were addressed by Dr. Robert Gilchick, he went through all the data about how dire the situation in L.A. County is with COVID hospitalizations and deaths… There was a recommendation to reduce the number of people on our campuses.”

Since December, Los Angeles County’s ICU availability has been bottomed out at zero percent according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health (LADPH).

“One staff member has passed away associated to COVID,” Kuhlman added.

In light of the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, the school board staff recommended that small, on-campus cohorts, school-sanctioned athletics conditioning, and the PSAT test be evaluated.

Proposed by board member Linda Storli, the on-campus cohorts are to temporarily cease, until Feb. 8. This decision was passed with a 4-1 vote.

The athletics conditioning is to be reevaluated at each of the upcoming board meetings, with the athletics coaches to be surveyed anonymously about their comfort level. This decision was passed with a 3-2 vote.

The PSAT test, originally scheduled for January 26, was also canceled by a unanimous vote.

See Related: Hart District Provides Update On Start Of Spring Semester

The special meeting came less than a week after Kuhlman, sent out an email to families within the district outlining what the start of the spring semester will look like.

“As you are all aware, we are in the midst of a surge in COVID transmissions throughout the Southern California community,” Kuhlman wrote in an email Friday. “We’ve been monitoring this situation closely over the holiday break to ensure that we adhere closely to the requirements of State and County health orders.”

At the time, Kuhlman said that district officials would provide support to small cohorts of students throughout the district at the start of the spring semester, which began Monday.

“It’s worth noting that this course of action is consistent with the plans for our four feeder Districts who are all scheduled to continue in-person with their neediest students,” Kuhlman wrote.

The superintendent also announced that district officials have decided to temporarily halt all in-person athletic conditioning as recommended by Dr. Barbara Ferrer and Dr. Gilchick of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“I understand the pressure our public health officials are under in their efforts to keep people safe,” Kuhlman said. “Having said that, I would have preferred if this recommendation could have been shared with us earlier than the last day of winter break.”

District officials came to this decision following a teleconference with Gilchick the day before the email was sent, which Kuhlman and over 80 other superintendents across the county participated in.

“Dr. Gilchick shared that they are recommending that districts take action to limit in-person activity on campus to those students who need specialized support,” Kuhlman wrote. “Examples would include Special Education students, homeless/foster students and English Learners.”

With reported cases of COVID-19 increasing across the county, Hart District officials have allowed “increased flexibility” for their staff to work from home when possible.

“This accommodation was not made because we believe it is inherently unsafe to step foot onto our sites, but rather as an added measure to increase social distancing and to reduce the total number of people personally interacting on a daily basis,” Kuhlman wrote.

Kuhlman concluded his email Friday by asking families to continue wearing facial coverings, maintaining social distancing, and washing their hands frequently.

“Doing so will help us dampen this surge and hasten our ability to return to school safely with students in classrooms,” Kuhlman wrote.

Ed. Note: David Melnarik contributed to this report.

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Hart District Approves Temporary Restrictions To In-Person Learning

2 comments

  1. We already know that the Hart District are cowards and won’t open the schools, this isn’t a revelation to anyone.

  2. Wait one moment here. I noticed they say “a small cohort of students” and the “neediest” students…why didn’t they mention ESL students that are being allowed to meet in classroom as it has been mentioned in previous articles? .
    Why are ESL students considered part of the “neediest” group?
    Not ok. Too PC. Not acceptable. Not fair to the larger percentage of students who have no choice but ‘attend’ school online.
    ALL students are ‘needy students’, as socialization is extremely important for all kids, especially in the school setting.
    All students are needy students.
    IMHO, of course.

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About Michael Brown

Michael Brown has lived in Santa Clarita his whole life. Graduating from Saugus High School in 2016, he continued to stay local by attending The Master’s University, where he achieved a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. Michael joined KHTS in January of 2018 as a news intern, and has since gone on to become the News Director for the KHTS Newsroom. Since joining KHTS, Michael has covered many breaking news stories (both on scene and on air), interviewed dozens of prominent state and federal political figures, and interacted with hundreds of residents from Santa Clarita. When he is not working, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, as well as reading any comic book he can get his hands on.