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Fall 2020 Reopening Schools Plan

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Frequently Asked Questions 

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Frequently Asked Questions 
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Why are we starting with distance learning?
 
Upon the Board’s decision to adopt a slate of schedules aligned with local health orders in June with a hybrid schedule being the target “phase in schedule,” we promised to monitor local health data and update the community on or before August 1.
 
The last few weeks have seen rising cases across our counties and statewide causing our county to enact further restrictions and will likely be added to the state’s watch list.
 
At the same time, the state legislature passed AB 98 enacting standards for distance learning and requiring school districts to offer in-person instruction to the extent possible. Governor Newsom also released the state’s Pandemic Plan for Reopening Schools. 
 
Based on the current health data and our evaluation of current abilities to keep both staff and students safe in classrooms, we have determined that we will begin the school year in August with students engaged in distance learning for the first quarter of the fall semester.
 
What is informing our plan?
 
  • State/CDE guidelines & legislation [SB 98]; CA Distance Learning Standards
  • Local health department orders; Local COVID-19 data
  • San Mateo County Office of Education Pandemic Recovery Framework 
  • Staff and family surveys 
  • Board Direction
  • Lessons learned from distance learning this past spring
 
What will instruction look like in the Sequoia Union High School District this fall? How will it be different from the spring of 2020?
 
Last spring was NOT distance learning.  It was “crisis” teaching.  We responded in a way that focused on the social-emotional health of students.  We wanted them to feel safe.  This semester we will engage in distance teaching and learning, which will include the following assured elements:
 
  • Students will receive a class schedule that can be followed while in distance learning or for in-person instruction based on local health data.
  • Students and teachers will follow a consistent bell schedule.
  • Students will receive devices and connectivity so that every child can participate in distance learning.
  • Students will receive daily live interaction with teachers and other students.
  • Students will receive class assignments that are challenging and equivalent to in-person instruction.
  • Schools will provide targeted supports and interventions for English learners and special education students.
 
How will the District ensure that online education in the fall of 2020 is rigorous? 
 
Staff will communicate common expectations for assigning work, live instruction and providing feedback. Additionally,
 
  • Teachers will receive support in order to access and use the best technology tools for instruction.
  • Teachers will receive extensive professional development in best practices in distance teaching.
  • Accountability measures have been put in place. The Governor’s Pandemic Plan for Learning and Safe Schools [SB 98] places into statute the requirement that students will receive class assignments that are challenging and equivalent to in-person instruction. To this end, accountability measures, such as weekly engagement logs and daily attendance are required.  SMCOE Summary ; Cal Matters Quick Guide 
 
What will the online structure of the day look like? Will the “school day” be four hours of online “zoom like” lectures?
 
Students will follow a daily instructional schedule where they will log onto their class and teachers will take attendance. The format of the daily class experience will vary depending on the content being covered. Students may work in break-out rooms in small groups or participate in large group discussions. They may have some independent work time. Students will work on many of the activities that they have during in-person class periods. We do not anticipate that it will be four hours of zoom or video conferencing every day. 
 
Will students earn letter grades this fall? 
 
Yes, students will receive letter grades. 
 
How much time will my student have per class per day?
 
The schedule currently includes about 180 minutes of instruction per class per week. Students will rotate through alternating periods every day. 
 
Who will receive in-person instruction in the fall of 2020, and what will that look like?
 
Instruction will be 100% online for the duration of the first quarter (Aug 17-Oct 9th). The second quarter in-person instruction model will be dependent on the recently enacted state watchlist criteria. If health data in our county allows (per state watch list criteria), we hope to offer the following in-person academic and non-academic supports and activities:
 
    • Orientations for New Staff and Students
    • Wi-fi/Technology Support (could be on campus to access Distance Learning)
    • Academic support for students in programs and with specific academic needs
    • Mental health services and supports
    • Food Service (Breakfast and Lunch)
    • Athletics and Extracurricular Activities (very small groups)
 
Will students receive instruction on Wednesdays, or will it just be dedicated to teacher preparation? 
 
Students will receive instructional time on Wednesdays. The new schedule adopted for fall opening also displays Wednesdays as teacher training & prep days.
 
Will the same curriculum be covered as in past semesters?
 
Students will receive class assignments that are challenging and equivalent to in-person instruction.
 
How will we ensure that the new model supports student success?
 
All schools will provide targeted supports and interventions for English learners and students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP).
 
Can we get all the courses we wanted/signed up for (ex. APs) to remain competitive when applying to college?  Will courses have to be eliminated? 
 
At this time, there is no plan to eliminate courses due to distance learning. At the site’s discretion, they may close sections that are under enrolled.
 
Our extensive professional development plan will cover:
 
  • Creating Community:  Building community online
  • Using Equitable Practices: Implicit and Unconscious Bias training; Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Creating Authentic Assessments and Assignments for Blended/Online Instruction, such as authentic & rigorous discussion in online classes, authentic assessments in distance teaching and learning and equitable grading practices
 
Will students have the opportunity to take classes outdoors?
 
Additional Wi-Fi is being installed for better reception and more location flexibility of classes being offered outside.  
 
What will tests and assessments look like in this learning environment?
 
Whenever possible, students will be assessed on their learning throughout the semester through more authentic means, which includes open-ended questions, projects, presentations, discussion participation, etc. 
 
What resources can students access on campus?
 
If allowed by health guidelines, in-person supports will include:
 
  • Orientations for New Staff and Students
  • Wi-fi/Technology Support (could be on campus to access Distance Learning)
  • Study hubs to access quiet learning environment & campus internet
  • Academic support for students in programs and with specific academic needs
  • Mental health services and supports
  • Food Service (Breakfast and Lunch)
  • Athletics and Extracurricular Activities (very small groups)
 
Will student attendance be tracked?
 
Yes, teachers will record student attendance for each class period (virtual and in-person) and monitor student engagement.
 
How will students' social and emotional needs be met when their opportunities for in-person interaction are limited?
 
Each school’s team of administrators, teachers, and staff members are working on creative ways to meet all student needs based upon the school’s schedule. This includes telehealth visits, virtual student groups, online social-emotional curriculum, virtual assemblies, online club meetings, and other ideas. 
 
As more students are transitioned back to campus for in-person learning, an increase in social and emotional support services will also occur to match in-person support. 
 
What support is available if my student begins to feel isolated or depressed?
 
Social-Emotional Learning curriculum will be included in the regular instructional delivery to support development of skills and tools to assist students in connecting with their school, community and peers. Additionally, each school will have a CARE team that meets regularly to identify students struggling with engagement in their school program. Students that need support in connecting with their schedule, teachers, peers, academics, family, etc. will be provided with support and services for these needs. 
 
What are the District’s plans as far as student transportation and safety? If my student needs to get to school, will buses be provided? What safety protocols will be enforced on the buses?
 
Transportation will be provided for students who normally receive transportation. Parameters on how many students will be on a bus are still being sorted out.
 
Most recent information states 2 to a seat with the windows open, masks on, and health checks before getting on the bus.
 
What if my child needs a Chromebook or Wi-Fi access? Can my student use their own device? 
 
Students may use their own device. For students who need a device, one will be provided. Hot spots are available, as well as Wi-fi access on campus. A sponsorship program with Comcast is being provided for students who qualify. 
 
How will my student with disabilities access the services and accommodations in their Individualized Education Program (IEP)?
 
Special Education Case Managers and IEP team members will be working collaboratively in order to ensure implementation of a student’s Individualized Education Program.
 
How will my student with a Section 504 Plan access accommodations?
 
Students with a Section 504 Plan will continue to receive accommodations based upon student need with considerations for the online learning environment. School site teams will work in collaboration with parents and guardians to ensure accommodations are in place, and revisit or re-evaluate per the guidelines of Section 504. Counselors will continue to offer Triannual eligibility reviews and Annual 504 Plan reviews. 
 
Will sports take place this Fall?
 
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) issued a press release on June 12, 2020 with a statement regarding 2020-2021 Athletics.  SUHSD is in agreement with CIF’s belief that “education-based athletics and all co-curricular activities are essential to the physical, mental, and social well-being of students.” 
 
As SUHSD and CIF continue to monitor the directives and guidelines released from the Governor's Office, the California Department of Education and State/Local County Health Departments and Agencies, more information will be released on July 20; this will include information on whether or not Fall Sports will continue as currently scheduled. The CIF is prepared to offer alternative calendars if it is determined by July 20 that Fall Sports may not start as scheduled due to ongoing public health and safety concerns.
 
For information regarding the Summer Athletics Conditioning program, please refer to your school’s Athletic department or visit the district’s Athletics website
 
How and where would there be increased handwashing access when on campus?  Could we get handwashing stations?  
 
There will be increased access to sinks across campus for handwashing. Classrooms with sinks (that students would not typically have access to) as well as bathrooms will be open for handwashing. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the campus (inside & out). 
 
The following frequently asked questions should be directed to your high school counselor and/or administrative staff:
 
  • Can students amend their course requests for next year?
  • How will testing and final exams work?
  • How will classes like dance, orchestra, and choir work with Online Synchronous Learning?