Natomas School Board Approves Later Start Date

Image of board meeting room where chairs and people are spread out.

The special meeting held Tuesday was the Natomas Unified school board’s first in-person meeting since March 11. / Photo

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Image of standing temperature machine with light up screen.

A free-standing/touchless temperature machine is located at the entrance of the school district’s Education Center for those who forget to take their temperature before leaving home to attend in-person school board meetings. / Photo

The Natomas Unified school board on Tuesday unanimously voted to delay the start of the school year by two weeks.

As approved, the first day of the 2020-21 school for students at the district’s traditional campuses and dependent charter school Leroy Greene Academy is now Thursday, August 27.

The special meeting held Tuesday, July 14, was the first in-person school board meeting since March 11, according to board president Lisa Kaplan.

No staff report was presented to the school board about delaying the start of school, but the agenda cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason to do so. According to the agenda, the extra time will allow the Natomas Unified district extra time to hire more staff and implement additional safety measures meant to reduce the risk of exposure to and transmission of the virus.

School board member Scott Dosick said he was hopeful the two additional weeks would be used to come up with solutions for the new school year.

“We are faced with extraordinary times,” said school board member Micah Grant, adding that he thought learning options being offered by the district are reasonable. “I think this is the time to all have on the same jersey.”

School board member Sue Heredia said the board and community need to come together for the students.

“Our chidlren only have one chance to be second graders or third graders and if we fail them, that is not something we can live with,” Heredia said.

The Natomas school district has yet to finalize new start dates with the labor union which represents teachers. Negotiations with the Natomas Teachers Association are set to resume today, July 15.

Representatives from the teachers union and California 3rd District PTA are both scheduled to speak during tonight’s Natomas Community Association meeting which will be held online, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The three independent charter schools located within Natomas Unified each have governing boards separate from the school district. At press time, all three expected to resume classes as planned — NP3 schools on August 3 and Natomas Charter and Westlake Charter schools on August 12.

The first day of school for students at Twin Rivers Unified School District campuses in Natomas is August 18, including Regency Park Elementary, Hazel Strauch Elementary, Garden Valley Elementary, Rio Tierra High School and Smythe Academy.

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Image of five board members sitting at dias spaced apart from each other.

School board members sat at least six feet apart from each other during their first in-person meeting in four months. / Photo

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