Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District offices (File photo)

In an effort to receive input and share information on three prospective classroom learning models for next school year, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education will hold a series of virtual town hall-style meetings in the coming weeks.

Superintendent Ben Drati said prior to summer vacation that Malibu and Santa Monica students will begin the Fall 2020 semester on August 20, however he and district officials are unsure what school will exactly look like when it returns in the Fall.

“I realize many people want a definitive answer as to what school will look like,” Drati said, sharing the best answer he could give based on the most presently available information is SMMUSD will most likely provide a combination of distance learning and an on-campus experience. “Our goal is to keep our students and staff safe and healthy (physically and mentally) while maintaining excellent teaching and learning.”

In a letter to parents Friday, SMMUSD staff said the district has since developed three possible models for reopening based on health guidelines, parent and staff survey results and the district’s available resources.

But before coming to a decision, SMMUSD would first like to receive feedback from Santa Monica elementary school community members on June 30 at 6 p.m., Santa Monica secondary school community members on July 1 at 6 p.m., and Malibu school community members on July 7 at 6 p.m., according to the letter.

During the upcoming virtual meetings, district staff is expected to present the results of a recent parent and staff survey, while also walking attendees through the rationale and details associated with the three potential models for reopening schools.

The letter states Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati will share the three models in a letter in advance of the meetings, but State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education recently released new guide for school districts who are preparing to return to classes. In the guide, Thurmond and state officials suggest a number of detailed adaptations that schools can make to accommodate students’ return.

Additional details regarding the structure of SMMUSD’s town hall meetings will be shared next week, according to staff. Local residents will have the ability to submit questions ahead of the town hall meetings. And the agendas for these three town hall meetings will be posted on the district’s website along with a Zoom link that will allow residents to access each meeting.

brennon@smdp.com