By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
The Palisades Charter High School Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Saturday, March 14, to discuss school closures due to growing concerns surrounding COVID-19.
“Everyone in the room is aware that the Los Angeles Unified School District has announced a two-week closure,” Principal Dr. Pamela Magee shared at the meeting.
Magee added that the school had been monitoring potential campus closures for as long as it’s been a known concern.
“So the good thing is we have had the advantage that we were starting to talk to our teachers about what our plans would be in the event something like this might happen,” Magee said, sharing that it’s been an “incredibly collaborative time.”
The Board of Trustees passed a motion to close the doors and on-site classes at Pali High in line with the Los Angeles Unified School District guidelines for two weeks.
The motion refers to the executive director’s determination that it is necessary to protect student and/or staff health and safety, and the executive director will seek the board’s authority for any closure longer than 28 days.
Pali High students were advised to take Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, off to prepare for online attendance and participation starting Wednesday, March 18, according to an online bulletin. Students will then continue their classes through online learning.
Monica Iannessa, director of academic achievement, made a presentation to the board about continuity of learning during school closures.
The students will have to check-in online and will do this all through Schoology, a virtual learning management program, according to the board discussion.
“Our teachers decided to just focus on Schoology—that’s where our students mainly live, that’s where they live for updates, activity information, assignments,” Iannessa said.
Earlier in the meeting, Palisadian community member Daphne Gronich spoke during public comments.
She acknowledged there is “no right answer for anything,” but shared concerns about students who may not have access to the internet and might fall behind.
Pali High took an additional day March 13 as a pupil free day so faculty could put a learning plan in place. That day will be made up for the students at the end of the school year.
“I think teachers really used that time well,” Magee said.
Pali High is going to try to continue with Individual Education Program assessments. The board also discussed that a big concern is helping students to feel as connected as possible, letting them know the teachers are available and providing resources.
The board also passed a second motion for the election committee to be converted to a board member-only committee for the time the school is closed, due to the potential inability to hold a public meeting, which may change in the future. The public can still participate and send emails.
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