OUSD spells out learning options for school year that starts Aug. 19


At the July 22 Ojai Unified School District board meeting, Superintendent Tiffany Morse explains how school will start Aug. 19 in Phase 1 and how it will start in Phase 2, perhaps as early as Oct. 1, depending on Public Health guidelines as they relate to COVID-19.


The governor announced that all public and private schools must start the new school year with distance learning due to Ventura County being on the state's COVID-19 watch list.

Because school and childcare operate under different Public Health rules, Ojai Unified School District is considering on-campus childcare options when the new school year begins.


Families that want their children to participate in the childcare options are asked to fill out an OUSD form online:


At its July 22 meeting, the OUSD school board discussed options for learning when the new school year begins with a “soft opening” on Aug. 19.

OUSD is holding 10 virtual town hall meetings — including one in Spanish — Aug. 3-7 to answer parents’ and students’ questions about students’ learning options. The meeting times are listed at the end of this article. Parents may sign up to participate in the meetings at:

Those who do not have Internet access may call OUSD at 805-640-4300, ext. 3, to learn how to participate.

Students will have several options for learning when the new school year starts.

The school year will begin with distance learning through at least Oct. 1 and will be extended, as needed, on a month-by-month basis, OUSD Superintendent Tiffany Morse told the board.

At the July 28 Ventura County Board of Supervisors' meeting, Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said:

"As far as school waivers go, I have received a number of requests for schools to have an exception made for them" to have in-person classes. He said the requests are driven by the state of urgency many feel. However, he said he is telling those requesting waivers to be allowed to open school for in-person classes that, "due to the surge, I am not considering waiver requests at this time because the rules with waivers are set by the state."

OUSD learning options include:

Distance learning 

— Distance learning will have a classroom teacher for students who want to stay with their traditional class and plan to re-enter school in person when schools can reopen and when students feel it is safe for them to attend in person. They will use traditional curriculum assigned and monitored by their teachers using an online learning platform called Canvas.

The distance-learning protocols for the new school year were described as being different from the spring model.

The fall planned distance learning is described as:

• Teacher-led instruction

• Purposeful

• Thorough training for instructional staff

• Focused on grade-level standards

• Scheduled school day, with flexibility

• Traditional grades

• Daily attendance

Morse said that, essentially, all students will start the school year doing distance learning. Students who do not feel comfortable to returning to campus when it is allowed will be able to continue distance learning.

Summit School

— According to OUSD website, Summit School is full and students wanting to attend can be put on a wait list ( ).

Summit School for students in kindergarten to 12th grade is described by OUSD as a non-classroom-based personalized learning school with customized curriculum, such as Saxon Math, Edgenuity, Headrush (project-based learning), and Zearn. Students can participate in an enrichment program or electives offered through the online curriculum Edgenuity, or Nordhoff High School or Matilija Middle School, if space is available. Last school year, OUSD officials said it pays approximately $360 a month for each Summit-enrolled student to attend two days for free at the onsite enrichment program.

(Edgenuity is approved a-g curriculum, which means students who utilize it will be eligible to apply  to schools in the University of California or California State University systems.) 

Matilija Online and Nordhoff Online

— Matilija Online and Nordhoff Online are for students who want a more flexible schedule. Matilija Middle School is the OUSD middle school for grades 6 to 8. Nordhoff Online is for Nordhoff High School students.

Matilija Online and Nordhoff Online are not the same as the regular distance-learning option. As the superintendent explained to the school board: “With Matilija Online and Nordhoff Online, you're not staying with your class and you're not staying with your teacher. You’re enrolled in a completely separate program that is almost entirely online, if not entirely online, so you are using Edgenuity, and then whatever the program selected at Matilija is, so you can complete your program kind of at your own pace; whereas, in the distance learning model, the teacher is providing Canvas and they're providing lessons and they're grading the classmates. lessons and you’re really staying on track and on pace with your classmates.

“Matilija Online and Nordhoff Online are really more true independent study programs."

At Matilija Online and Nordhoff Online, a teacher will be assigned to monitor progress face to face or virtually. Check in is required daily, but may be adjusted, based on student performance. Students may choose to take up to two classes with OUSD teachers and participate in sports or activities.

The online learning program for Nordhoff Online is Edgenuity, which is approved a-g curriculum, which means students who utilize it will be eligible to apply  to schools in the University of California or California State University systems. 

To apply for free or reduce-price school meals and possibly be eligible for subsidized OUSD child care:

Log in at  or fill out the paper application that has been mailed to OUSD families in English and Spanish, and return it in the self-addressed, stamped envelope that was sent. 

Coordinators will be hired to manage the program.

For students who participate in the childcare program, Morse told the school board:

“They'll have a staff member who's helping them with whatever assignments that they have and they would obviously have Wi-Fi on our campus and then this is potentially where we could connect with some of our outside groups who provide great programming for our students, such as Food For Thought and others. 

“Many people ask, if you can have kids on campus for childcare, why can't you have them on campus for school? And the answer is that there are completely different sets of regulations from the California Department of Public Health for childcare and for school; and even if the childcare is on a school campus run by a school district, … they have different regulations than we do for regular school, so that's why we can do that.”

OUSD is providing online forms for families to request childcare assistance and help with technology, such as having Chromebooks, hotspots for Internet access, and answers to tech questions.

 Form to request technology assistance

Families that need assistance with technology are asked to flll out an OUSD form online:

OUSD virtual town halls Aug. 3-7 

The OUSD virtual town hall meetings to be held Aug. 3 to 7 are divided by transitional kindergarten/kindergarten/first grades; elementary grades; middle school; and high school. People can sign up to participate online for a limited number of spots at:

The meetings will be held:

Monday, Aug. 3.

• Elementary grades distance learning: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

• Transitional kindergarten/kindergarten/first grade: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 4:

• Elementary distance learning: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

• Middle school distance learning: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 5:

• Nordhoff High School: 5 to 6 p.m.

• Elementary distance learning: 6 to 7 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 6: 

• Español Town Hall, 6 to 7 p.m.

 • Matilija and Nordhoff distance learning, 7 to 8 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 7:

• Transitional kindergarten/kindergarten/first grade: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

• Nordhoff High School: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

 The school board July 22 discussion on the start of school may be viewed at:

The starting school plan, presented to the school board, may be viewed in English at:

It may be viewed in Spanish at:



Transportation will not be provided for the phase one distance learning model; and transportation for when campuses reopen for school has yet to be determined, Morse said.

 Student meals

When the new school year begins, student meals will be available to be picked up from school sites, as occurred when campuses closed. The meals will be available onsite when campuses are allowed to reopen for school.

  OUSD also has a help form for families that are requesting assistance:

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 The Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted a budget that provided $5.3 billion in additional funding to support learning, and set requirements to ensure schools provide rigorous and grade-appropriate instruction. Under newly enacted state law, school districts are required to provide:

—Targeted supports and interventions for English learners and special education students.

— Devices and connectivity so that every child can participate in distance learning.

— Daily live interaction for every child with teachers and other students.
— Class assignments that are challenging and equivalent to in-person instruction.
The full guidance from the California Department of Public Health can be found here:


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