Update on School Reopening - 06/26/20

Update on School Reopening - 06/26/20
Posted on 06/26/2020
Update on School Reopening

Dear Staff and Community Members,

Thank you all for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.  As you know, we are planning the reopening of schools that requires guidance from our health care leaders.   Thanks to all the families who took our survey a few weeks ago.  That has been very helpful in our planning process.  Today I can answer some of the biggest questions that you had within that survey.  We are working on plans for the opening of our schools on August 12, 2020.  I wanted to give you some information about what we know as of now with the knowledge that these decisions could change.

Our work in developing plans to reopen schools is based on the following three guiding principles:

·       Safety: The safety of our students, staff, and community will guide our work. Students will return to school campuses as we develop safe environments, strategies, and protocols that build safety of students, staff, and community members.

·       Science: Information on the spread of the Coronavirus and the number of cases in our area has been steady but increasing. We will look to the most up-to-date information from our health care officials for guidance as we offer our plans in the coming months.

·       Student Learning: The two guiding principles above, Safety and Science, will set the conditions for student learning. We will need to continue to critically think, be adaptive, and be persistent so that we continue to address the needs of our students within multiple settings.

What might school look like this fall?

The California Department of Public Health and our local Shasta County Public Health have released their guidance document on June 5, 2020.  We have worked with the local health department to make some decisions about safety protocols for the fall.

You may have seen guidelines from Center for Disease Control (CDC) or California Department of Education (CDE) but we should consider the public health as the baseline of what we have to meet and the CDC and CDE would be the ceiling or most restrictive.  The most restrictive is not mandated for schools to follow.  Our area has low numbers of infection. With that said, we are a public institution that is obligated to abide by public health measures. We are not health experts and so we lean on our health officials to make decisions based on current circumstances. 

We know that everyone, including school staff, are eager to get back to normal life situations but we have to balance health and safety with providing an education in as normal a setting as possible.  I have tried to address your questions and concerns below still knowing that even these decisions could change.

·       Masks and Face Coverings: The Governors mandate this past week, to require masks in public places, has put the original Shasta County Health Department recommendation in question, as the California Department of Health has said that schools are not exempt.  We have no direction from public health about the extent to which they would interpret the Governor’s directive for schoolchildren.  It is our sincere hope that masks will be optional this coming school year as originally required.

o   Original Guidance: “State and local health departments encourage the use of face coverings while at school especially when social distancing is not possible. The school district will honor the choices of staff and students to wear coverings while at school but they are not required.  Disposable face coverings will be available upon request at the front office for the entering public that need to speak to office personnel.“

·       Hand Washing and/or Sanitizer: Handwashing or sanitizing routines will be taught and modeled for students.  Students and staff will wash their hands or use sanitizer when arriving, before/after play periods, before lunch, and other times during the day when practicable. You can help by practicing handwashing throughout the summer for things like eating, after playing, and using the restroom. 

·       Screening at Home: We ask families to take temperatures daily and perform a health check with their child before sending them to school.  Staff is also asked to perform a daily self-check before coming to work.  Anyone with a fever of 100.4° or higher should stay home.

·       Bussing: The health department requirements are to have one student every other seat.  If we followed this requirement, we couldn’t return many of our students to school as the bussing isn’t available at that level. As a compromise, the health officials have allowed bussing at typical capacity with all students and adults wearing masks.  All riders will use hand sanitizer when they get on the bus.  We ask that if you can bring your student to school, then please do so.

·       Sports: At this time, we do not have specifics for our sports programs.

·       After School Programs: All schools will still offer an After School Program. 

Our first day of school for students is August 12, 2020. This gives us less than two months to prepare for opening schools. From the input of the parent survey, most indicated that you have a solid desire to have students back on campus.  It is going to take us all working together to make these schedules and plans work.  Also from the survey, about 10% indicated At-Home Distance Learning as your first choice.  No worries if you have changed what your thoughts were from a month ago, no one is committed to anything and we will ask you again in July.  We are currently planning four options for opening schools.    

·      In-Person Traditional School: Students and staff would return to school for five days of instruction.  We would put safety protocols in place and ask that everyone follow.  Although we do not have to maintain six feet of separation in classrooms, we would maximize spacing within classrooms as well as using outside airflow when possible. A variety of schedules may be developed for play periods and lunches to keep students in smaller groups or cohorts throughout the day.  This will help to limit exposure by reducing the number of people each child will interact with.

·      At-Home Distance or Virtual Learning: A robust model of instruction with scheduled online instruction, offline learning, and individualized support.  Technology support prioritized for these families.

·      Independent Study Home School: College Prep Academy (225-0076) offers a program that parents are the integral part of their child’s education by being the primary teacher.  Parents and teachers work side by side to implement curricular plans with weekly check-ins and access to learning tools.

·      Hybrid Schedule (In-Person few days/Virtual few days): It might be necessary to have a hybrid model for older 6th to 8th grade students in order to accommodate the various factors of their scheduling and size.  We are also working on other scheduling options to have students on campus five days each week. Hybrid is the schedule of last resort.

Will technology continue to be provided to our students?

We have been a technological school district for many years. This means most students have their own Chromebook or digital device to use for learning. We will continue to ensure that all students have access to these devices. Our Technology Department takes pride in ensuring that students and staff have access to the technology they need to teach and learn.

Which option above is most likely to occur in the fall?

At this time the most likely option is in-person traditional schooling with safety measures in place; however, this decision has not yet been made and the landscape and decisions from our Governor and health officials continue to change.  We will be sending out updates over the summer regarding the work of planning the 2020-2021 school year and we will continue to proactively seek guidance from our health care officials. New information regarding the Coronavirus is continuously being released and using our three guiding principles, we are hopeful that we will develop a safe model to have students return to In-Person Learning.

We understand that once schools do reopen for in-person traditional learning, there could be parents/guardians who still have safety concerns and may not want to send their children to school. We will have additional options. We have a Homeschooling option in College Prep Academy ready for registration now. We are developing a Robust Distance Learning Option as well.  Both of these programs will be open to all students and families.

In closing, I would like to sincerely thank our staff, students, parents, guardians and community members for their hard work, dedication, flexibility and understanding as we navigate this temporary normal. We will get through this. Students and staff will get back to school as soon as it is safe to do so. We continue to be an exemplary school district with exemplary staff and students. We continue to be at the forefront of elementary education. We will continue to provide rigorous academics with high expectations, the use of technology and an innovative focus on all students.


Robert Adams


26 de junio de 2020 Actualización sobre reapertura escolar.pdf

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