Big Bear News – Big Bear Lake, CA – As school districts across the nation prepare for the start of the new school year, the Bear Valley Unified School District Board and administrators discussed options at last night’s regular board meeting. With the maximum number of 100 attendees on Zoom, Board President Cathy Herrick read eleven emails of public comment ranging in support of 100% of students returning to school in person to the continuation of Distance Learning for the safety of students, staff and parents on August 3rd. Earlier this week on July 14th, Superintendent Mary Suzuki issued a statement to the community that, due to new restrictions from Governor Newsom, BVUSD’s Reopening Plan would focus on the options for hybrid or distance learning models. Additionally, with the new orders, face coverings would now be required for staff and students at the start of the school year. At last night’s meeting, four instructional models to re-open schools were discussed including full-time attendance for all, hybrid, full-time Distance Learning and full-time Bear Valley Virtual Academy. Although there are pros and cons to each model, Superintendent Suzuiki recommended starting the school year in a hybrid situation, increasing sanitation at all sites with additional staffing and transitioning to Distance Learning if the data spikes. The hybrid model allows for every other day classroom time for improved safety with smaller class sizes and limited contacts but, it is not necessarily the best option for working families. Additional restrictive funding, in excess of $2 million dollars, is now available to the District for COVID relief spending for student learning support systems, professional development and student nutrition. It was stressed that plans moving forward must be flexible as the COVID case load increases in Big Bear with limited testing available and ever changing State and County guidelines. Yesterday’s count of positive coronavirus cases for the Valley increased by 9 bringing the number up to 37 total cases. With the August 3rd school start date less than 3 weeks away, the Board will hold a Special Board meeting sometime next week to further assess reopening schools.