On December 1st, in a 4 to 1 decision, the AUHSD Board of Trustees voted to postpone the projected January 11th hybrid learning start date. The major factor that led to their decision was that Orange County had moved into the Purple Tier of the county’s COVID-19 response protocol. This was caused by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the county.
Prior to this vote, the board had already voted to postpone the return of teachers to schools, also due to the elevated cases of COVID-19. The board had been considering the idea of postponement before their decision on December 1st. Despite the AUHSD being surrounded on all sides by districts that have already begun hybrid learning, the Board of Trustees has decided that the level of risk continues to be too great for an in-person return of any capacity.
Making such a decision involves innumerable factors that the board members must take into account, especially the recently approved COVID-19 vaccine. Responding to an email, Assistant Superintendent Jaron Fried commented that, “Many factors were taken into consideration when the Board made their decision…although there was hope and optimism with regards to the vaccine, there are/were still many questions that have yet to be answered with certainty.” Taking into consideration all possible factors is difficult. Fried also stated that, “The Board is trying to balance keeping our students and staff safe while simultaneously ensuring high quality educational services are being delivered…I’m sure this decision ranks amongst one of the more difficult decisions they’ve had to make in recent times.”