PAUSD to offer remote learning option for 2021–2022 school year

STORY BY MELODY XU, PHOTOS BY ARYA NASIKKAR

The Palo Alto Unified School District will offer students a fully remote learning program for the 2021–2022 school year.

While all students are expected to attend in-person instruction in the fall, PAUSD’s new Remote Independent Study (RIS) program — introduced to district parents and guardians in a July 20 email — is intended for students and families who believe their health would be compromised in returning to campus.

The program will consist of “weekly synchronous instruction” for its high school participants. According to the email, these students “may likely not be taught by a PAUSD teacher,” as PAUSD plans to make use of a third-party education provider. 

Otherwise offered programs like language immersion will not be available to RIS students, and high school Advanced Placement and honors courses “may be limited or non-existent.” The district is still reviewing whether or not RIS students will be prohibited from school affiliated extracurriculars like athletics.

If necessary, RIS students will be allowed to return to a district school within five days of their request to do so.

“Every effort will be made to return students to the home school pending space availability,” the district wrote in the email. “If space is not available, the student will be considered for another school selected by the district.”

As for in-person students in the fall, a mask requirement will take place indoors regardless of vaccination status, per the California Department of Public Health. However, face coverings will not be required outdoors, and social distancing will not be enforced on campus.

As a preliminary gauge of community interest of the RIS program, a non-binding interest form was sent out to the community. A final version will be sent within the next two weeks.

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