Dr. Drati, superintendent

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is likely to begin next school year with a distance-learning format, school officials announced Tuesday.

In an attempt to follow recent state and local health recommendations amidst a surge of Los Angeles County Covid-19 cases, district staff will recommend that SMMUSD adopt a model that calls for students to learn from the safety of their homes, a letter sent out to parents Tuesday by Superintendent Ben Drati reads.

“SMMUSD staff want to reopen in-person as soon as possible and had been preparing to recommend an in-person option (similar to) Model B, the hybrid model that includes both in-person and distance learning,” Drati said. “However, the steady upsurge in coronavirus cases in our region combined with the advice of public health experts has led us to the conclusion that distance learning is the most prudent model to start the 2020-2021 school year.”

The school board will discuss and take action on the distance learning plan during this Thursday’s school board meeting, which will also feature a presentation detailing the results of the recent staff and parent surveys.

“We understand that distance learning may present a challenge to many families,” Tuesday’s letter reads. “We will address these concerns in the upcoming school board meeting and during the next month and beyond, along with how we plan to deliver distance learning to our students in a consistent and effective manner.” The district also intends to send out a follow-up letter on Friday once the board of education has made a final decision.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...