Return to Campus FAQ

Updated 3/15/21

On March 13 we marked the one-year anniversary of the day that students across the state moved to distance learning. While our Ojai Unified schools didn't close, school as we knew it certainly ceased to exist for the last year. 

It’s all taken an unthinkable toll on our students, our families, and our educators — a social, emotional, and academic ordeal that has left us all struggling to cope with the trauma and disruption. I can assure you that while our response has not been perfect, our entire team has given their hearts, and much of their personal time, to serving our kids and families over the last year. We are continuing to build our capacity every week to bring kids back to the greatest extent possible, and like you, we cannot wait to put this last year behind us and return to our healthy, thriving school community. These frequently asked questions are intended to provide an update about where we are on that journey. 

Take Care,
Dr. Tiffany Morse, Superintendent 

Why is my middle school student only coming on campus every other week? 

When we brought secondary students back to campus on February 23, Ventura County was still in the purple tier. Secondary students are not allowed to return to campus until Ventura County is in the red tier. 

Although Ventura County is still in the purple tier, we are operating under the small cohort guidance, which effectively limits the number of cohorts teachers can see in a day. 

This schedule was intended to allow students to have some time on campus while we prepared for a full hybrid schedule. The full hybrid schedule is currently not allowed while we are still in the purple tier. 

We were the second public high school in Ventura County to bring students on campus, and Ojai Unified is the only district using the small cohort guidance to bring secondary students on campus. 

We have been able to collapse cohorts and all students at MMS will have the option of coming on campus every week

Why is my high school student only coming once every three weeks? 

All high school students can attend classes on campus once per week for each period (period 1 in one week, period 2 the next week, etc.)

Under the small cohort guidance model, we have to limit the mixing of cohorts.

Because we cannot open in a hybrid schedule at this time, we prioritized maintaining the quality and time for distance learning. 

We have been able to collapse cohorts and many students at NHS now have the option of coming on campus multiple times per week. 

When will the district move to a hybrid schedule? 

  • Secondary students will return to a full hybrid schedule on April 12. 

  • This is the week after spring break. 

  • We elected to not disrupt student’s schedules the last two weeks of the quarter before spring break, when many will be taking finals. 

What will the hybrid schedule be? 

  • We are currently negotiating the hybrid schedule with the Ojai Federation of Teachers (OFT). 

  • In accordance with AB 86, we are committed to bringing students back to the “maximum extent possible.”

  • Unfortunately, we cannot disclose the content of negotiations until they are finalized. 

  • This is in no way intended to not be transparent, but simply the standard process for negotiations. 

Why are some elementary classes coming back in person four days per week and some aren’t?

  • Our plan is for all elementary classes will be back in person four days per week by next week (March 22). 

What is happening with next year’s schedule?

  • In accordance with AB 86, we are committed to bringing students back to the “maximum extent possible.”

  • We are committed to bringing all elementary students back full days, five days per week. 

  • We are still working on options for the schedule for middle and high school. 

  • Our goal is to bring students back 5 days per week, but the exact schedule will largely be guided by social distancing requirements. 

Why isn’t the district providing more information? 

  • We provide as much information as we have available. 

  • In some cases, we are still in negotiations and cannot disclose details until they are finalized. 

  • In other cases, we are still working on the details and will provide more information as we have it finalized.  

What about COVID money? 

  • The chart below shows how we have spent our COVID money to date ($1.8 million). 

  • Our priority for spending new COVID funding will be to hire teachers and support staff so that we can bring students back to the maximum extent possible. 

  • To date, we have been able to fulfill all teacher requests.

What about furniture?

  • We have been planning to do a full classroom refresh across the district. This includes buying new furniture. We will be piloting new furniture this spring in order to allow teachers to determine what will best meet the needs of students. 

  • In the meantime, we are utilizing extra desks to replace double desks in elementary classrooms for the remainder of this year.