Bolinas-Stinson School to fully reopen after midwinter break

02/17/2021

The Bolinas-Stinson Union School District is outpacing the vast majority of public schools in its reopening due to a number of quick investments. Last week, the board approved a schedule with five hours of on-campus instruction from Monday to Thursday, the culmination of months of work and over $330,000 in spending on Covid-related infrastructure. Starting March 1, students will attend school from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., except on Fridays, which will be a half day of in-person learning to give teachers time to prepare. A new yoga program was added to solve challenges with staffing, which has been a puzzle this year because teachers need more time to prepare, and smaller cohorts need more supervision. On the Bolinas campus, concrete pads are being poured this week, and tents will be erected on them next week, after midwinter break, to create outdoor classrooms. Students will attend school for the maximum allowable time agreed upon in a memorandum of understanding between the teachers’ union and the district. The district boasts one of the highest rates of in-person attendance in Marin, with 98 of 106 students in the classroom, and more expected to return with the new schedule. “Bolinas-Stinson is really recognized as a leader in the reopening movement, in a county that is a leader in the reopening movement,” superintendent John Carroll said. Yoga instructor Molly Maguire will teach “Music and Movement with Molly,” a socially distanced complement to Kelly Onorato’s high-intensity cardio workouts. Each student will receive their own yoga mat, and classes will last 30 minutes with the goal of extending to 45 minutes in the near future. Ms. Maguire taught music at the school last year, and she’ll incorporate songs into this class, which guides students on positive self-talk, intentionality and meditative breathing. “What we are finding is that the kids are stressed out; it’s been a stressful time. So to have that nice, calming time to focus inward rather than outward, we’re hoping will help them with self-regulation and calming anxiety,” principal Michelle Stephens said. The school’s three art teachers will also resume in-person painting, mixed media and ceramics classes. Rather than every student seeing all three teachers throughout the week, they will stick with one teacher for several weeks to limit the mixing of cohorts. Lunch will be staggered because it is the hardest time to keep students separate, and Spanish will still be taught over Zoom to students wearing headphones because the instructor works for other schools. Overall, students have managed wearing a mask and staying six feet apart, and there have been no reported instances of in-school transmission. “They’re rocking it. I feel really good about how our kids have handled the responsibility,” Ms. Stephens said. Thirteen of the district’s 33 employees received the first dose of the vaccine at an event on Jan. 17 when over 1,200 school employees in Marin were inoculated. Since then, the county has prioritized older residents because of their higher risk of death.