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2020-21

December 04, 2020

*Para leer este mensaje en Español, haga clic aqui.
 
Dear Sequoia Union High School District Community:
 
As a result of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, San Mateo County has moved into the state's most restrictive Purple Tier. Our district is still moving forward with our goal to continue gradually increasing the number of students on campus through the Spring semester. We submitted our Reopening Plan to the San Mateo County Office of Education to prepare for the reopening of our schools for in-person instruction. To access the plan or our Reopening Readiness Dashboard, please visit our COVID-19 Updates webpage. 
 
Thank you for your partnership and feedback provided through our recent survey. The information collected will guide our plans as we develop various learning models to support our high-quality instruction. We urge you to complete the survey if you haven't already done so, the deadline is today. Thank you again for your participation. We will be sending another survey in January to gather feedback about the different learning model proposals. 
 
Given the COVID-19 pandemic's current fluidity, the District will begin the Spring semester (January 4th) under our current Distance Learning Model. Although we will begin the second semester in that model, our goal is to continue to increase the number of students on campus for instructional support, clubs, and activities in a safe manner. 
 
As a parent, I completely understand the stress that so many of our students and their families face daily as a result of the pandemic. For that reason, we are focusing on further addressing our students' social-emotional needs as soon as possible. 
 
I want to remind you that if we all do our part to adhere to the public health guidelines, we will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and put ourselves in the best position to return. 
 
Stay safe,
 
Crystal Leach
Interim Superintendent

November 20, 2020

(*Para leer este mensaje en Español, haga clic aqui.)
    
Dear Sequoia Union High School District Community:
 
We continue moving towards our goal to gradually increase the number of students on campus through the Spring semester. The Sequoia Union High School District is completing our plan to open for In-Person Instruction in the Spring of 2021. We will be submitting our reopening plan to the San Mateo County Office of Education by no later than December 4, 2020.
 
The district is evaluating different instructional models for in-person learning. The District would like to better understand student and parent interest regarding a physical return to school to access instruction and other activities. We encourage parents to discuss and respond to this survey with their student(s) as we know that sometimes parent’s responses can differ from their teens.
 
Earlier this week, San Mateo County moved from the Orange Tier (moderate) back to the Red Tier (substantial) due to the increasing cases of COVID-19. As we continue moving forward, it is important to remember that our plans are contingent on current health conditions, not deteriorating. However, in all likelihood, as we see in neighboring counties, San Mateo County is projected to slip into the purple tier eventually. If that does occur, we will not be able to implement our reopening plan.
 
Thank you for continuing to work with us through these unprecedented times.

Respectfully,
 
Crystal Leach
Interim Superintendent

November 13, 2020

 
(*Para leer este mensaje en Español, haga clic aqui)
 
Dear Sequoia Union High School District Community:
 
I want to take a moment to check-in and update you on where we are today.
 
Our goal is to continue gradually increasing the number of students on campus through the Spring semester. We will begin to offer club and small group activities in the next few weeks. In my November 6th, 2020 parent communication, I provided a list of requirements to execute on a plan for the Spring semester. Our plan is to increase the level of in-person academic experiences for all students and provide the appropriate level of support based on individual student needs within the context of appropriate level protocols. 
 
If you have not read last week's communication, please visit our website at www.seq.org  to review the requirements. Please remember that our plan is contingent on local health conditions not deteriorating.
 
As we approach the holiday season, many of you may consider traveling or gathering with family or friends. Please visit our webpage to view the travel guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Crystal Leach
Interim Superintendent

November 6, 2020

(*Para leer este mensaje en Español, haga clic aqui.)
 
Dear Sequoia Union High School District Families and Community: 
 
As we approach the end of the week, I want to take a moment to check-in to provide you with an update on our planning process with respect to the potential partial reopening of our school sites.
 
In my October 16, 2020 parent communication, I provided a list of requirements to execute on a plan for the Spring semester to increase the level of in-person academic experiences for all students and provide the appropriate level of support based on individual student needs within the context of appropriate health protocols.  
 
Given the complexity of the plan and the need for openness and transparency, one of our immediate goals is to provide our families with a dashboard that will share and track the progress of each of the elements listed below as well as allow parents and students to monitor when a requirement is met. The completion of these requirements are prerequisites for our plan. Here is our current status:
 
Academic Experience
  • Quality and Rigorous Instruction: We are analyzing students’ grades and the additional support needed for equitable and accessible instruction.
  • Effective Simultaneous In-Person and Virtual Instruction: We are creating mock-up classrooms to demonstrate this model.
  • Modification of Teaching Environment: We are collaborating with teachers on how to best support students and this new academic experience.
 
 
Facility Requirements
  • Student Capacity per Site: We are building a new scheduling model, based on both health protocols and staff input, to determine the appropriate student capacity at each school.
  • Classroom Capacity: We have determined that, with social distancing requirements, our classrooms can hold an average of 10-12 students.
  • Modifying Entrances, Egresses, and Movement Patterns: We are currently testing new patterns with our existing smaller cohort in anticipation of a larger scale up.
 
 
Health Protocols
  • Physical Distancing: All sites have been audited to determine capacity, and social distancing decals and signage have been placed throughout our campuses and office.
  • Student/Staff Health Screening and Testing: All sites currently have a daily screening protocol for all students and staff, and we are finalizing a testing protocol for employees.
  • Contact Tracing: We are currently testing tracing protocols with our existing smaller cohort, however our experience so far has indicated that there is significant staff time required to execute the protocol properly and hence school sites may require additional resources to do this at scale.
 
 
Other Elements
  • Staff/Family Education on Enforcement: We are currently testing enforcement protocols and health and safety education with our existing smaller cohort in academic, athletic, extracurricular, and other settings.
  • Triggers for Transition back to Distance Learning: We will be following the Pandemic Recovery Framework from the San Mateo County Office of Education that outlines certain actions, up to and including a site shutdown, if the level of confirmed cases reaches certain rates within a school community.
 
I want to assure our community that our labor groups, site administration, in collaboration with the San Mateo County Office of Education, are working hand-in-hand to problem solve, troubleshoot, and pave the pathway for a new model for our schools and our students. Our reopening plan will be submitted to the county in the upcoming month. 
 
Our team is also working tirelessly to ensure we maintain the quality of our current virtual instruction while we seek to increase the number of students who receive support on campus. The challenges we face may be complex, but our tenacity and determination are relentless.
 
A parent survey is underway and will arrive in your inbox in the next couple of weeks. We recognize that it is important to allow and encourage parents to share feedback and input as we continue our planning efforts. Please visit our website at www.seq.org for the most current information on our new learning models as well as COVID-19 resources. 
 
I will continue to send you regular communication on our progress. Thank you for your continued support.

Crystal Leach
Interim Superintendent

October 16, 2020

(*Para leer este mensaje en Español haga clic aqui).
 
Dear Sequoia Union High School District Families and Community: 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have navigated through our recent transition in leadership. COVID-19’s impact on our schools has disrupted what we know as the education experience and raises questions about what the education experience will look like while COVID-19 is with us. 

In our last communication, we shared the decision to remain in distance learning through the end of 2020. (Click here to read)

This difficult decision is based on a series of factors. Most importantly in September, San Mateo County was categorized in the State’s Purple Tier, meaning that the COVID-19 infection rates were deemed “widespread” throughout the County. This prevented us from reopening our schools. Because of this and other weighing factors, such as student and staff safety, ventilation system upgrades, testing, and contact tracing, distance learning remained in effect.  

As we continue to move forward, it is critical to remember the implications and effects of COVID-19 in how it impacts instructional and educational programming. With so much discussion regarding what other school districts are attempting to do, it is important for us to remember that every district is different. As a high school district, I can share with you that our neighboring high school districts are facing many of our same challenges. 

To put it into perspective, under the new COVID-19 guidelines, a classroom that would normally hold 30 students can now only hold an average of 6-12 students. Unlike elementary school districts, this challenge is further exacerbated by the complexity of rotating course schedules in high school. In collaboration with our site administration teams and our labor groups, we are working to determine how and when students can safely return to campus without losing the quality of instruction. Academic and social emotional support will continue to be provided.  

A three-week pilot program of student support cohorts will launch next week. These cohorts are intended to create a critical support system for students who are in need of assistance outside of the virtual setting.

Every three weeks we will evaluate, and determine necessary modifications to layer in additional support based on the availability of staff, and other health factors known at that time.

As required by the state, we are submitting a plan that will specify our health guidelines and protocols based upon the following factors and considerations: 
  • Maintaining a quality and rigorous instructional program for all students
  • Capacity of classrooms compared to number of students
  • Number of students on campus compared to teacher availability 
  • Effectiveness of simultaneous instruction for in-person and virtual instruction
  • Labor agreements
  • Cohorts entrances, egress, and movement within the schools
  • Health screenings and testing for students and staff 
  • Contract tracing
  • Physical distancing 
  • Staff and family education on enforcement of the plan
  • Triggers for transition back into distance learning 
  • Communications plan

I am listening to the concerns expressed by our staff and families regarding school reopening and distance learning. I know this is a difficult time and we have a hunger for normalcy. We are creating our new normal, and continuing to deliver the high level of teaching and learning you have come to expect from Sequoia Union High School District. 

I thank you for your patience and support.

Sincerely,

Crystal Leach
Interim Superintendent