In an effort to provide you with additional information to increase the understanding of our plan to return to in-person instruction on April 5th, here are some key points:
All students will be invited back to the classroom in April.
Families will receive an opt-in form to return to in-person instruction or choose to remain in 100% distance learning.
No changes to student schedules.
Teachers will be in their classrooms while delivering instruction.
Beginning the week of April 5, 2021, 25% of students will return to school in the in-person instruction/concurrent instructional model.
The student body at each campus will be divided into four groups (A, B, C, and D).
The return to campus will be as follows:
On April 5 & 6 Group A will be invited to attend class on campus.
On April 8 & 9 Group B will be invited to attend class on campus.
On April 12 & 13 Group C will be invited to attend class on campus.
On April 15 & 16 Group D will be invited to attend class on campus
After the first two weeks of piloting with a 25% of the student body, schools will combine the four Groups into Groups up to 50% capacity. Example (A+B and C+D).
Starting on April 19 or when we are in the “Orange” tier whichever is later, up to half of the student body will be invited to be on campus at any time: Example Group A+B will attend Mondays and Tuesdays, and group C+D on Thursdays and Fridays. The number of students invited to campus is based on the capacity of the classroom and social distancing requirement of six feet.
Wednesdays will continue to be asynchronous days.
Once schools open in the in-person/concurrent instructional model, schools will stay in that model unless there is a tier regression to “Purple” or outbreak at one or more school sites that require school(s) to return to 100% distance learning.
Students who choose to return to campus for in-person instruction do so with the understanding that the following guidelines and expectations must be followed:
Students must wear face coverings at all times while on campus.
Social distancing must be maintained at all times.
Students shall wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering a school facility and buildings.
Before arrival to campus, students must complete a daily health screening form.
Families will need to submit their opt-in forms by Thursday, March 11th. A non-response will indicate to your school site that your student will remain in distance learning.
Special Education Action Plan
Mental Health Update
Care Solace Program
In an effort to continuously support the well-being of our students, their families, and our staff, SUHSD has partnered with the Care Solace program to offer mental health services at no cost.
Care Solace is a 24/7 multilingual care coordination experts that connect students, staff, and their families with available, verified mental health providers and substance use treatment options matched to their needs regardless of circumstance.
SUHSD's Social-Emotional Learning Task Force is designing the District’s vision around social-emotional learning and building a delivery system for integrating SEL at our school sites. In doing so, the District seeks to promote a targeted and intense mental health intervention for students who are in need of support. The SEL Task Force will also conduct a mental health audit review in the following areas:
Mapping process to access MH interventions
Tier 1 SEL intervention tool needs
Effectiveness of targeted and intensive MH interventions
Exploring expanded intervention menu
Mental Health Action Team
Born out of the SUHSD Social-Emotional Task Force, the Mental Health Action Team focuses on the immediate support for the April 5th return for students and staff. Data collection will be used to identify students who currently are not receiving services but need to.
Staff teams continue to receive training with the Community Resiliency Model of well-being. SUHSD is also increasing service capacity through our partnerships with agencies such as Alliance and Star Vista.
Face coverings to be worn by coaches, support staff, observers, and by participants during practice, conditioning, and during competition
Maintain at least six feet of distance between sport participants and all observers
Observers are limited to two adult family or household members in addition to any siblings per participating athlete as long as indoor and outdoor capacity limits can be maintained
Observers may clap, but should avoid yelling, singing, or other behaviors that are known to cause further spread of the COVID-19 virus
SUHSD will resubmit its reopening plan on the first week of March.
The San Mateo County Office of Education in collaboration with San Mateo County Superintendents developed a prioritization and logistics plan for school employees. The stages of this prioritization process is as follows:
Priority 1A: All in-person special education teachers and instructional aides.
Priority 1B: All teaching and support staff currently in-person interacting regularly with students and their families.
Priority 2: All staff reporting in-person at sites or district facilities who do not interact with students, but who interact with the public.
Priority 3: All teaching and support staff who are currently working remotely.
The vaccination process started February 24, 2021.
Return to In-person Instruction
After extensive work and planning for the last several months, the District and Sequoia District Teachers Association have reached a memorandum of understanding for a return to in-person instruction on April 5, 2021. The agreement is in the ratification process and is scheduled for board approval on March 10th.
Through our recently announced concurrent learning model, students will have the opportunity to return to in-person instruction or remain fully in distance learning. The timelines, schedules, and processes for our return to campuses will follow in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned.
Although some neighboring public school districts have announced that they will not reopen their high schools for the remainder of the year, SUHSD is continuing to move forward with the re-opening plan submitted to the county.
The following criteria must be met, prior to returning to in-person instruction:
San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) must approve the SUHSD plan that was submitted in December 2020. This week, SMCOE shared that they have reviewed our plan and would like to schedule a time to discuss the State's most recent updates prior to approval.
Labor agreements must be in place to address the changes in working conditions caused by the pandemic. These negotiations are in process and we hope to conclude in the coming weeks.
Every line item in our School Readiness Dashboard must be completed. You can track the progress by visiting our Dashboard webpage.
When we are able to return to in-person instruction, SUHSD has chosen to adopt a concurrent learning model, known by many as “zoomers and roomers”.
The Concurrent Instructional Model is defined as an instructional model available through the school of enrollment in which distance learning platforms are maintained and remain the primary mode of instruction. All students remain with their teacher/s of record. Students at home and in school will be learning synchronously through distance learning platforms except on designated asynchronous days.
The maximum number of students in an in-person class is contingent upon the dimensions and/or design of the particular classroom and the extent to which all inhabitants of the classroom can maintain social distancing (six (6) feet).
A teacher’s class may have students that experience 100% distance learning five days a week as well as students who attend school for a predetermined number of days a week, based on teacher and room availability. The number of students in classrooms will be determined by the size of the room and maintaining social distancing and appropriate ventilation guidelines. In-person instruction will not be offered in indoor settings that have not been identified as meeting or exceeding the minimum ventilation standards established by the District.
The Concurrent Instructional Model is a partial return to on-site instruction. The number of days and class periods of instruction on-site for an individual student will be determined by the following factors:
● the availability of teachers,
● the availability and capacity of classrooms; and
● the number of students requesting to participate in the Concurrent Instructional Model.
SUHSD has completed the COVID-19 Prevention Program requirement and is near completion of the COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist and Return to In-person Learning Plan.
New Schools For All Reopen Plan
Governor Newsom announced the development of a Safe School for All Plan to help guide school districts to a safe return to in-person instruction. The plan consists of the following four pillars:
Funding: a one-time funding grant that will provide approximately $450 per student to districts offering in-person instruction.
Safety & Mitigation: the administration will focus on the implementation of measures such as PPE, testing, contact tracing, and vaccinations.
Oversight & Assistance: a team designated to support school districts in implementing their COVID-19 safety plans.
Transparency & Accountability: a state dashboard that will allow residents to track their district’s reopening status, level of available funding, and data on in-school transmissions.
Although this plan provides temporary hope of some financial relief, it is, again, targeting TK-2nd grade students and provides no clear guidance for secondary schools at this time. Furthermore, some of the new requirements and metrics set forth regarding testing will exasperate the existing requirements.
Health & Wellness
SUHSD recognizes that the effects of the pandemic have severely disrupted and impacted us all in several ways. Many in our community have lost loved ones, they have lost jobs, and they have lost their way of life. COVID has taken a toll on our students, staff, and their families, and we want to remind our community that if your student is experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression, please reach out to your school site. We have counselors, mental health support staff, and community partners that are available for you. For more information, please visit our Student Health & Wellness Resources webpage.
There is a lot of inquiry about vaccinations, their availability, and how that will impact our ability to return for in-person instruction. Currently, we have confirmation that educators are included in the Phase 1 rollout plan and are in group 1B, the group that follows the first responders and high-risk health workers. We don’t have any information on when the vaccines will be available or how many will be allocated to our district.
Our Student Services department provided information regarding our plan to restart district athletics. If you missed that communication, you can read it by clicking here.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic's current fluidity, SUHSD has decided to begin the Spring semester under our current Distance Learning Model. Although we will remain in that model, we have submitted our Reopening Planto the San Mateo County Office of Education to prepare for an eventual re-opening of our schools for in-person instruction. The plan submitted is required by the County Office of Education in collaboration with San Mateo County Health for districts to incrementally open for in-person instruction for all tier colors, except for purple. As a reminder, the plan requires the district to address the following:
Cleaning & Disinfection
Cohorting, Entrance & Egress
Staff & Family Education
COVID Testing Staff/Students
Triggers for Transitioning to Distance Learning
The Sequoia Union High School District is the first public high school district in San Mateo County to submit a plan for county-level review. The plan is a working document and will be updated and amended as we are able to further define key components of instruction and health and safety measures.
The Board of Trustees with district and site-wide leadership met on December 9th to discuss school site operations, second-semester learning models, and the parent survey results. Challenges were shared by staff and possible solutions were discussed. If you were unable to attend, we have included a summary presentation for you to review.
School Readiness Dashboard
The School Readiness Dashboard is also available on our website, to view, please visit our Dashboard webpage.
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 reopening plan. Here is our current status:
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.
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.
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.
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.