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COVID-19 Update: Planning for distance learning

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Teaching and learning is at the heart of what we do each day. For the last week, health, safety and operational needs have been the priority, during which time we’ve rightfully heard many of our staff and parents call for more information on where we are headed instructionally.

We have attempted to be thoughtful in how services are rolled out to ensure we can answer questions of equity and meet legal requirements under federal and state law related to equal access. Keeping these elements in mind, it is our intent that every senior, who meets eligibility requirements, graduates this June and that all of our students can engage in meaningful learning. 

It is a possibility that schools may not open after spring break. Therefore, we are working diligently to transition to a distance learning model of instruction. This does not mean we are adopting new curriculum or new lesson plans but rather we are looking to deliver our existing curriculum and materials in different ways that meet the needs of our diverse sets of learners. It is our desire that by Monday, April 13 we will shift from our strategy of read, review and enrichment to a model of distance learning that allows for new assignments and new learning. 

To facilitate this we are currently finalizing plans for the distribution of technology to students who do not have devices. Distribution is slated to begin with high schools on March 25. Middle schools will follow by April 2, with elementary schools distributed prior to the end of the spring break. As part of this effort, we’ll also be working with families to identify gaps in internet connectivity and match them with free or reduced-cost community solutions. (Between now and March 27, technology services staff will be working to remove restrictions on devices that keep them locked to the district network as well as ensuring we have processes in place to track who materials are checked out to.) 

We know our high school families, especially those with seniors, are anxious about future plans. We have begun to assemble answers to frequent questions for high schools. (Similar documents for middle and elementary will be published soon.) On March 23, high school students who were already active on the APEX platform for coursework and credit recovery will regain access. We are exploring how we might add licenses to expand access to the online learning the platform provides. 

Our goal is to serve every student to the greatest extent possible using remote and distance learning tools using the latest California Department of Education guidelines. Our Special Education team is collaborating with general education staff to develop the best plans to support all learners. Over the next few weeks, case managers will be reaching out to each family individually to review and set up services.

We are also working hard to implement support for our teachers and other educators as they make this shift through the use of virtual professional learning and collaborative communities of practitioners. All of our staff will have access to these services as they come online prior to our shift in delivery methods on April 13. Please note, that April 6-10 remains spring break with all staff off and no assignments or virtual office hours offered. 

Like everything COVID-19 related, we expect this will be a rapidly evolving effort with changes by the moment. We ask for your patience and your guidance during this process to ensure that we support each other in this new model of distance learning and meet the needs of our learners.