Moorpark Unified School District authorized to resume in-person classes


Moorpark High School resumed in-person learning on Oct. 21, 2020. Students are divided into two cohorts to help social distancing. Photo credit: Adriana Janiga

By Adriana Janiga

After seven months of quarantine and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Moorpark middle schools and Moorpark High School were authorized to begin blended classes.

After developing a COVID-19 reopening plan, in-person learning resumed on Oct. 21, 2020 with students divided into two cohorts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Regardless of what the student’s cohort is, students take half of the classes online at home and spend two and a half hours on campus for in-person learning.

Moorpark Unified School District was the first public school district from Ventura County to be authorized by the state and health officials to reopen while in the red tier in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Although the school district and members of Ventura County encouraged students to attend the blended classes, the decision was not mandatory. Students were able to choose whether to come back, or not, for in-person learning.

During the COVID-19 update press conference, hosted on Nov. 4, 2020, Ventura County Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin mentioned the importance of reopening businesses and schools following the Health Department guidelines. Thus, keeping the economy flowing for the holidays.

“In-person education plays better than distance learning. Kids learn more. Kids who are struggling with school, such as English learners, special needs, they all receive more and better attention than streaming learners,” Levin stated. “It is important not only for math, reading, and writing, but also for social skills and mental health.”

Moorpark Unified School District launched a COVID-19 Dashboard to help track any exposure with the virus and report confirmed cases.

“Moorpark District follows best practices to respond to situations when individuals might have been exposed,” wrote Mesa Verde Middle School Principal, Melissa LaBelle in an October letter.

It has been three weeks since schools resumed in-person classes, LaBelle is excited to have the students back on campus and is satisfied with the transition.

“Everything seems to be going well. We really streamlined the process for getting the students on campus,” LaBelle stated.

Moorpark High School Principal, Carrie Pentis, expressed her gratitude for students, parents and especially the staff.

Teachers have been working hard to continue students’ education during the health emergency.

“I think it is stressful for teachers, not only for the pandemic, but because we are asking them to do something they have not done before: synchronized learning. With students on campus and online… that takes extra time and work,” said Pentis. “I am extremely proud of our staff.”

Each school in the district implemented adjustments according to the Health Department guideline’s requirements. Students are to remain six feet apart, wear a mask at all times and wash their hands before and after classes. Hand wash stations are installed around campuses, hand sanitizer is provided and breaks are no longer than ten minutes.