Education / Schools

San Benito High School set to reopen April 19

Students returning to campus on hybrid schedule.

San Benito High School is targeting April 19 for its return to a hybrid schedule offering in-person and online instruction. The Board of Trustees on March 23 voted 4-0 in support of reopening. Trustee Steve DeLay was absent. 

The hybrid model includes morning and afternoon sessions, with student cohorts receiving on-campus instruction from 9-10:15 a.m. and 1:45-3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays are remote learning days for all students. Parents also have the option to keep their students on a full distance learning schedule.

At the March 23 meeting, Trustee John Corrigan asked how the district planned to help freshman students transition to in-person learning as they have not yet set foot on campus. Without providing specifics, Principal Adrian Ramirez said some ideas have been thrown around.

“Really what we’re doing right now is vetting out what we can do based upon the guidelines and protocols,” Ramirez said. “But we definitely know we have to try to do something to make this as motivating and exciting as we can, especially for our freshman.”

SBHS conducted a parent survey in which 52.9% of parents wanted students to return to campus, 41% did not, and 6.1% did not respond as of April 4. Ramirez said the district would continue to reach out to parents to get as many responses as possible. 

When the school reopens for in-person instruction, the campus will have seven designated entrances and exits, as well as assigned parking lots, according to the meeting agenda packet.

Reopening is dependent on factors including San Benito County maintaining its red tier status on California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and vaccination rates among staff. The county advanced to the red tier on March 14.

“So long as we remain in red or below, we’re looking to reopen the hybrid instructional for the final six-week period of the second semester,” Director of Human Resources Cindi Krokower said at the meeting. “We’re very excited as we begin looking in this direction.”

Krokower said as of March 23, all interested district employees had been vaccinated or scheduled to be vaccinated with the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including 77% of classified staff. Additionally, 91% of certified staff, 75% of unrepresented/office staff, 80% of unrepresented/supervisors and 92% of administrative staff have received the vaccine or are scheduled to be inoculated.

Some staff members declined to be vaccinated, Krokower said, including 17% of classified staff, 8% of certified staff, 25% of unrepresented/office staff, 20% of unrepresented/supervisors and none of the administrative staff. There are other staff members pending medical approval for the vaccine. 

Krokower said all vaccinated staff are expected to receive their second doses around April 10.

“Very good news as well,” she said.

As SBHS moves to a hybrid model, Ramirez said a big focus will be placed on the social-emotional wellness of students.

“This will be the first time students will be on campus on a regular basis in quite some time, over a year,” Ramirez said. “While content is important, one of our main focuses is establishing those productive routines for our students that they will need, especially as we move on and progress.”


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is BenitoLink Co-Editor and Content Manager. He joined BenitoLink as reporter intern and was soon brought on staff as a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is a USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.