By Karen Everett Watson

Staff Writer

The Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD) Board conducted its regular meeting via Zoom teleconferencing last Wednesday, March 25. This allowed the board to meet without a traditional gathering. Twenty-eight community members attended by teleconferencing or phone participation.

Superintendent Karen Schauer praised GJUESD employees, union leaders, families, community agencies and the Board of Trustees for working together with extraordinary commitment, ongoing communication efforts and important actions to serve children and families during school closures due to COVID-19.

She underscored the importance of doing the best we can to ensure that equity, inclusion and access are considered throughout the school closure period that involves distance learning and/or paper learning packets for children.

According to Director of Business Services Lois Yount, more than 2,000 meals are being provided to students across the school district, accessible at every school location.

Director of Curriculum Claudia Del Toro Anguiano reported on the distance learning through online resources and paper activity packets. Students are also using Chromebooks to keep on top of their lessons. Director of Educational Services Donna Mayo Whitlock said that special education teachers are working together with regular education teachers to ensure all students are learning at home.

Yount also reported on the district being granted a facilities hardship grant of $2,103,476 through the Office of Public School Construction. The grant will fund modernization projects needed at school facilities.

Due to the declining enrollment, the rising costs and the latest Governor’s Budget proposal, the board decided to reduce the positions of one technology assistant, one campus monitor and cut hours for the warehouse/delivery driver. These cuts come after the February decision to cut up to eight temporary teachers and three assistant principals.

Schauer said school closures are extended up to May 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in a letter to parents and employees sent on March 27.

“An executive order from the governor was followed with guidance from the California Department of Education that includes guidelines for distance learning, school meals, childcare and continuing to pay employees,” Schauer said.

Schauer encouraged parents to follow social distancing and preventative hygiene practices, including washing hands, using hand sanitizer, disinfecting surfaces, not going out if sick and staying at least six feet away from others, with no formal gatherings.