Independence High School

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Principal's Message

Principal’s Message for January 11, 2022:

 

The Kern High School District has no intention of closing schools or reverting to online learning from home this school year. The only way a closure would occur is by state mandate, which isn’t currently being considered even as COVID case rates rise sharply. After experiencing the shutdown last year and the resulting negative effects on student wellness and learning, we know it’s best for students to be at school engaging with their teachers and participating in extracurricular activities when they’re not sick.

 

That being said, I would like to thank IHS parents for keeping kids home and calling the Attendance Line when their child showed symptoms, tested positive, or was exposed to others in the home who are positive. As seen right now across Bakersfield and Kern County, Independence High School is also experiencing its highest levels of students (and staff) being infected and having to isolate. Sometimes a person can be COVID-positive yet show no symptoms, and someone fully vaccinated can come down with COVID. The simple way to reduce the rate of transmission in schools is to recognize symptoms early, test (and confirm) and then stop being around others for the whole quarantine period. The second way is to keep them home – even if they exhibit no symptoms - if they are exposed daily to a family member who has tested positive for COVID.

 

Kern County schools follow the California Dept. of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines and not those from the CDC. For students, that means a 10-day period of isolation. For household contacts, it is 10 days past the end of the positive family member’s 10-day period. For these longer quarantines, students will be placed on short-term independent study, where a single teacher coordinates all assignments and provides a basic level of instructional tutoring. For quarantines shorter than 5 days, the students will directly email all six of their teachers to receive assignments and ask questions.

 

Just as I have recently shared with my staff, I’d like to also thank parents for showing flexibility and for working through the frustrations associated with schooling during the time of a pandemic. We’ll all get through this together!

 

Dean Juola, Principal

 

 

FAQs for the start of the school year:

 

  • Where are the bus routes and schedules for Independence High School?
    • They may be found HERE. Note that while masks are required and the windows must remain open, there are no distancing requirements in the seats.

 

  • I don’t want my student going to school due to the COVID risk. Can they just stay home and log in to class like last year?
    • No, teachers no longer instruct through Zoom. To choose 100% online learning, your student would enroll in KHSD’s Kern Learn Extension.  Please contact your school counselor to learn how to enroll in this program.

 

  • Are school rallies, sporting events, and other larger gatherings allowed?
    • At this time – Yes – but note that school rallies must be outdoors, sports events are not currently but may be subject to crowd limitations, and we have split lunch into two periods with multiple food pick-up locations to generally avoid congestion. The daily bell schedule is found HERE.

 

  • What if my student tests positive for COVID, or is identified as a ‘close contact’ to a positive case?
    • First of all, if your student is sick with any of the symptoms of COVID, please keep them home and clear their absence with the school. If they’ve tested positive, please notify the school (you’ll be connected to the school nurse) to learn the test date, when symptoms began and identify the last date of exposure to others.  She will also try to determine the close contacts, which is defined as any person who spends a collective 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period with another person within 6 feet, masked or unmasked.  The positive student and the close contacts will be required to isolate or quarantine based on the guidelines provided to KHSD.  A simpler flowchart for the process and timelines may be found HERE.

 

  • How does my student’s schoolwork continue if they are required to isolate/quarantine at home?
    • If they will be out for between 3 – 15 days, your student is eligible for Short-Term Independent Study and will be contacted by a school administrator or counselor. Your student stays enrolled in their current classes and completes homework with their current teachers, but is assigned a facilitating teacher to check their progress, answer questions, and facilitate assignments with the regular teachers. This facilitating teacher is important as there is no online Zooms for the students to watch from home.  Most of their work will likely be placed into Canvas by the regular teacher for your student to complete if they’re feeling well.

 

  • If COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to get worse, is it possible that the schools could close again and go to 100% online or some kind of hybrid online learning?
    • Yes, it’s always possible. I can’t predict the future, but I expect KHSD will follow state or county guidelines if directed to do so.

 

  • Is there a way to track my student’s grades and attendance?
    • Go to THIS LINK, click on the ParentVue button near the top in order to make and activate an account.