May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Santa Ana Unified to start year with on-line study only; affect on high school sports not known

The Godinez gymnasium, the home of a number of athletic teams. (File photo Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Officials with the Santa Ana Unified School District said Tuesday the district will move entirely to on-line courses and not have students on campuses to start the year next month out of concern for the “safety and well-being of the entire school community.” 

Officials said in a release the decision came “as the number of COVID-19 cases throughout Santa Ana, and across California and the rest of the country continues to climb at an alarming rate. Thus, a full distance learning model is the safest option for SAUSD students, parents, and staff.” 

“During these challenging times, the safety of our school community continues to be our top priority. While we hope at some point to have our students attend our schools alongside their classmates and teachers, now is not the time,” said Superintendent Jerry Almendarez. “Meanwhile, we are working to develop a rigorous distance learning plan that will allow students to continue their education at home.” 

The board of education last week unanimously approved a plan to resume instruction which would provide options for in-person instruction, virtual learning and hybrid models.

“We want to proceed with extreme caution as we move forward with our efforts to offer a robust education,” said SAUSD Board of Education President Dr. Rigo Rodriguez. 

“Making the decision now to shift to a virtual education model gives the district more time to make sure our teachers are fully prepared, our parents are well informed, and our students have access to devices and internet needed for us to deliver the highest quality service during this time,” he added. 

The district is aiming to resume instruction in August, although a specific date was not mentioned in the statement.

District officials are also planning for in-person instruction to resume when it is determined to be safe by health officials, according to Wednesday’s statement.

District officials are in the process of contacting families to determine the estiminated enrollment for the fall, according to Fermin Leal, chief communications officer for the district.

High school athletics was not addressed in the statement by district officials. Athletics have been on hold throughout the state since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“No decision yet on athletics other than we still are not organizing any camps or practices,” Leal told OC Sports Zone. “I believe the county superintendents are trying to work out a plan that might apply to everyone, although not sure of the status.”

While a number of districts in Orange County began high school athletic camps in June and earlier this month, then postponed them after guidance from health officials, Santa Ana Unified did not begin camps.

High schools in the district that have athletic programs include Segerstrom, Saddleback, Santa Ana, Godinez, Century and Santa Ana Valley.

CIF state and Southern Section officials are planning to make a status update on fall, winter and spring sports on Monday, July 20. It is not known when fall sports will start.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com