Dr Gudiel Crosthwaite is the Superintendent of the Lynwood Unified School District and Immediate Past-President of the Lynwood Rotary Club. He discussed how school districts are planning to address educational, health, and safety concerns and a severe budget impact as classrooms start to re-open in a post-COVID-19 world. Many US school leaders are sharing ideas on operating schools in a hybrid model of part distance-learning and part social-distancing in classrooms.
Lynwood Unified has 15,000 students in 12 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 3 high schools, & preschool & adult programs. Starting in elementary schools, they start to focus students’ attention on potential career pathways, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and getting younger students involved in computer coding through games and robots, including an iPad initiative.
Many families are having food insecurity as a result of layoffs, unemployment, homelessness, and illness. Lynwood Rotary and other organizations are operating a food pantry with 600 meals/week, and some of them are delivered to homes by volunteers to minimize the risk of pandemic viral spread.
During the pandemic, the schools are taking extra safety precautions, including masks, social distancing, and school COVID kits with hand sanitizer, masks, shields, gloves, thermometers, and disinfectant wipes. The District offers a full distance learning program to all students, while providing an individualized alternative program and schedule for families who need unique support. Each family faces unique challenges at this time, so the District is trying within safety precautions to meet those needs.