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COVID: More East Bay Parents Opt for Independent Study as COVID Cases Rise

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- Hundreds of families that enrolled their children for in-person classes this fall are now pulling them back home for independent study in the Mount Diablo Unified School District. This hesitation comes as COVID case numbers climb all across the country.

"As of approximately August 11, we had about 150 families signed up to receive independent study. As schools opened back up, as COVID numbers started rising in the county and throughout the state, we've had more families opt for independent study. So as of now, we have approximately 500 students in this program," Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark said.

In a letter to the district, he explained this phenomenon has caused the elementary schools to be overstaffed and the independent study program to be understaffed. As a result, the district is now reassigning several elementary school teachers by taking them out of the classrooms and having them facilitate the independent study program.

"Our program in the past used to have approximately 100 students in the program, sometimes a little less. Now that it's grown, we've had to shift teachers over there to meet the need," he said. "We understand that this is a stressful process. It does happen every year scattered throughout the district, so we try to do it as early as possible."

A handful of teachers were involuntarily transferred, according to Clark.

"I think that making the teachers go where they're needed makes sense," parent Jenny Hudson said.

However, some parents are concerned a teacher change would further disrupt their child's instruction. The superintendent disagrees with their skepticism.

"If you've lost a teacher you're going to get another teacher that cares about your student that is going to nurture your student especially during these challenging times," he said.

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