Update to the community - June 30
Update: June 30, 2020
Conditions continue to evolve. The following information represents the latest information available but is subject to change.
San Juan Unified School District staff members continue to plan to provide multiple options as they prepare to reopen campuses on Aug. 13. Planning has been underway since school closures began and continues to develop as health guidance and state regulations change. Previously, the district announced the reopening of summer Discovery Club child care programs on a reduced schedule and issued guidance for resuming athletic drills and practices with health restrictions in place. Looking forward to fall instruction, the district is committed to offering families their choice in one of three learning models:
- In-person learning
- Distance learning
- Homeschool for TK-8 or independent study for grades 9-12
Details on each model continue to be refined with final recommendations expected to be considered by the Board of Education during the week of July 13. Notification of final program designs will occur shortly after board approval.
Launching today, www.sanjuan.edu/fall2020 offers a single spot for updates, information, questions and suggestions regarding plans for reopening campuses this fall.
Included in This Update
In survey and Thoughtexchange processes conducted in late May, as well as in many emails, phone calls and conversations, families, staff members and students shared that they have individual needs and concerns regarding reopening this fall. Major themes that have informed our planning work have included:
Health and Safety
Health and safety of our students, staff and community is always a priority but requires even greater care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thoughtful and prudent precautions are necessary to protect everyone.
Distance learning was a challenge for many this spring. As we look forward to the fall, having high-quality, standards-aligned instructional models with adequate supports for both students and teachers are essential.
Mental Wellness & Relationships
Being asked to avoid friends, family and other loved ones can be hard for anyone but harmful for our socially developing students. Having structures and opportunities for students to connect to each other, to their teachers and other school staff and engage on both academic and social levels is important.
Individual Needs & Supports
Each of us has unique circumstances and challenges in supporting our students. For some families, childcare is a crucial piece of the puzzle when school is not in session. For our students with special needs, ensuring they can access the services needed is essential. Choices adopted for the fall must take many different needs into consideration rather than providing a one-size-fits-all solution.
To help address individual needs, San Juan Unified is committed to providing families with the choice of three academic models this fall.
The default model for all students and families, unless they select one of the other two options, will be a return to in-person learning. This model presents some of the most complex issues both in how to operate the program but also in how to protect the health and safety of everyone involved.
Because of the complexities involved, the district is preparing for two possible formats for in-person learning. One format is a return to 5-days of instruction in classrooms each week. It is the district’s interest to implement a 5-day format as soon as possible and when safe to do so with reasonable safety precautions.
If it is determined that it is unsafe to do so or that adequate safety precautions cannot be put in place, the district is also preparing a hybrid model of in-person learning that will offer two-days of classroom-based instruction with three days of off-campus remote learning. A dedicated team, including community partners, is working to identify possible solutions to families’ childcare needs under a hybrid model.
The Board of Education is expected to determine which format will be used at the beginning of the year during a special meeting the week of July 13.
This model builds upon the promising practices and lessons learned during spring efforts to offer families an option for instruction that allows their student to be part of a virtual classroom community and provides direct instruction by a fully credentialed teacher. Building the community among classmates will be a key element of the model, offering students a chance to interact with each other and have peers to work with on projects.
All learning is done at home five days a week with real-time online instruction from the teacher combined with independent learning activities. Students will be provided all necessary technology equipment and curriculum materials.
To assist with consistency of lessons, more than 80 district teachers are designing standards focused lessons specifically to support distance learning.
TK-8 Homeschool and 9-12 Independent Learning
San Juan Unified has been offering an established and successful TK-8 Homeschool and 9-12 independent learning model for years.
The TK-8 homeschool program offers a partnership between a credentialed teacher, parent/guardian and student so that families are empowered to support and educate their child utilizing provided curriculum, pacing guides and teacher support. Parents/guardians meet regularly with the teacher to review progress and get guidance in providing students with four to six hours of daily instruction.
For students in grades 9-12, each high school will offer an independent learner program modeled after the district’s existing program that has provided service to students for decades at El Sereno High School. Under this format, students are assigned a master teacher who helps guide their work delivered primarily through online learning platforms. Because students remain enrolled in their high school, they will be able to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities on campus.
All students will be enrolled in the board approved in-person learning model by default. Starting in early to mid-July, families who wish to enroll their student in the distance learning or homeschool/independent learning models will be able to do so online via the Parent Portal as part of the emergency contact update process. Families will be contacted via email and phone (if email addresses and phone numbers are on file) with information on how to complete the update once it is available.
Families who choose to enroll in the distance learning, K-8 homeschool or 9-12 independent learning programs for fall of 2020 will NOT lose placements in their existing schools or programs should they choose to return to in-person learning at any time during the 2020-21 school year. Students interested in returning to their home school or program will be re-enrolled provided the site has staffing to accommodate their request.
Staff members are working to identify considerations and solutions to meet the needs of our special education students, especially those with moderate to severe needs. It is the district’s interest to return students to campuses when safe to do so. Additional information and details will be shared as they become available.
One critical concern for families is the need for child care. The district has established a work team to explore options for expanding or creating options for before and after-school programs including full-day options if in-person learning is delivered via a hybrid model. Work continues in this area and announcements will be made when available.
The district’s Discovery Club program has opened for summer at a greatly reduced capacity in alignment with state regulations limiting the number of children who can be included in childcare programs. The program is expected to be offered in the fall and capacity may be expanded to the greatest extent allowed and safe for both students and staff.
The Bridges After-School Program is expected to operate this fall. There are no announcements about changes to the program in size or operation to share at this time.
The district’s plan for resuming practices and drills in three phases has been approved by the Sacramento County Department of Health Services. Under phase one, which began June 29, cohorts of 5-10 student-athletes are allowed to practice together while maintaining social distancing, engaging in pre-workout screening for COVID-19 symptoms, not sharing equipment, and observing other precautions.
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) is expected to issue guidance on fall sports on or after July 20 at which time the district will provide an update on fall sporting events.
On June 23, the district’s facilities team presented an update on preparations to ensure a safe reopening of school campuses to the Board of Education. When students, families and staff return, they can expect to see a number of changes to campus facilities and practices including clear plexiglass barriers around front-office desks, hand sanitizer dispensers in all classrooms and common areas, and posters and signage reminding everyone of the importance of social distancing, hand washing and other safety measures.
The facilities team will have also spent significant time preparing campuses in ways that are important but harder to see including disinfecting HVAC units for indoor air quality, flushing campus water systems, and conducting a deep cleaning of each campus.
To date, the district has secured more than 30,000 cloth masks for staff use, 100,000 disposable masks for student or guest use and 8,000 N95 masks for use by staff if necessary. Additionally, face shields are being secured to allow staff using face coverings an alternative if their mouth needs to be seen to deliver language lessons. Disinfectant wipes are also being purchased with special caution given to the type to avoid causing allergic reactions or asthma attacks.
District staff currently anticipate taking final recommendations to the Board of Education on instructional models, possible childcare and out-of-school instructional support options, and considerations for our special education students during a special meeting held the week of July 13. Once the board makes a decision, families will promptly receive an update of all decisions made.
The district has launched www.sanjuan.edu/fall2020 as a one-stop resource for information regarding reopening campuses this fall. On the site, you’ll find the latest information available, dates and times of any available meetings, and the ability to submit questions or suggestions for consideration as we continue to plan.
To ensure you receive communications, families and staff members are encouraged to visit www.sanjuan.edu/mynotifications where you will find instructions on how to manage your contact information in the district's notification system.