Montebello Unified students headed back to school – and testing for COVID will be required – Whittier Daily News | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

About 23,000 Montebello Unified School District students, who had this week unexpectedly off, are set to return on Tuesday, Jan. 18. But they’ll have to show proof of a negative test result of COVID taken the night before or morning of in order to get on campus.

Superintendent Mark Skvarna, who had ordered a delay in the restart of school after the holiday break, said  students can come back because the district has acquired enough tests this week for every student in the district.

“I didn’t want to postpone school,” Skvarna said in a Thursday telephone interview.

“My opinion is they’re better in school and I want this to be less far less of a traumatic event than it has been,” he said. “We want to get them back into the groove of school. This was a logistic nightmare. I think it’s going to pan out to be fine.”

This week’s testing will be a one-time thing because the district doesn’t have enough tests in the long run, Skvarna said.

The other issue Skvarna talked about on Monday, coming up with enough substitute  teachers is not resolved, he said.

I’m going to do the best I can to come back,” Skvarna said.

“There’s a limit to this,” he said. “I’m going to work to get as many subs as I can. We’ll do the best we can do. If we need to put somebody from the district office over there, we’ll do it.”

David Navar, president of the Montebello Teachers Association, said he had concerns about what the district would do too many teachers called in sick and there weren’t enough substitutes.

Would the district combine classes and how many students go in one? he asked.

But Navar said teachers did appreciate the four days they had to prepare themselves.

“They also feel good about students getting tested,” he said. “They’re trying to keep COVID out of school as best as we can.”

Parent Nadine Garcia, who has two children at Schurr High School, called the week  an emotional roller coaster.” She has mixed feelings about her two children going back.

On the one hand, her children don’t do well in remote learning but she’s worried about them getting sick.

Marlene Ramirez, who has a child at Bella Vista Elementary School, said the district made the right decision this week.

‘This made sure when we do come back, at least we have a baseline of negative tests right from the beginning,” Ramirez said.

Still, it hasn’t been easy for parents like her who work.

“Although it’s been inconvenient for working parents, I still feel like it’s worth it to miss this one week,” she said.


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