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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions on the following topics:
  • Back to school plan
  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Assessment & Accountability 
  • On-Campus Resources
  • Social-Emotional & Mental Health
  • Special Education & Student Services
  • Technology
  • Nutrition
  • Athletics
  • Health & Safety 
  • Transportation
Back to School Plan 

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Back to School Plan 

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. 
Due to the rise in cases across our counties and statewide causing our county to be added to the state’s COVID-19 watch list.
Based on the current health data in conjunction with our evaluation of our current abilities to keep both staff and students safe in classrooms, it has been 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
If conditions improve, what factors and considerations are involved in determining when and how we return to campus? 
The following guidelines and factors are considered in our decision making:
  • 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 
  • State’s COVID-19 Monitoring Watchlist Criteria
  • Staff and family surveys 
  • Board Direction
  • Union Negotiations
Can decisions be made on a school-quarterly basis?
Decisions for Fall will be made on a quarterly basis.
How are teachers participating in this process?
Staff participation is facilitated through:
  • Staff surveys
  • Subject Area Committees
  • Union consultations and negotiations
  • Reopening Plan Task Force
What is the best format for parents to give feedback to the District?
Parents can provide feedback on our distance learning plan on our Distance Learning Feedback Form webpage at:
Instruction & Curriculum 

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Instruction & Curriculum 

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.
  • Students will receive synchronous instruction
How will the District ensure that online education in the fall of 2020 is rigorous across classes/subjects? What will the District do to support and measure teachers?
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.Our extensive professional development plan covered:
    • Creating Community:  Building community online
    • 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
    • Using Equitable Practices: Implicit and Unconscious Bias training; Culturally Responsive 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
  • Distance Learning Expectations have been developed and set for teachers, and a Student Engagement Plan is underway to monitor progress and student success. 
What will the online structure of the day look like?
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, they may have some independent work time, or participate in large group discussions. Students will work on many of the same activities that they have during in-person class periods.
How much do we anticipate to be synchronous learning versus asynchronous/ “on your own” work?
  • Synchronous learning will take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
  • Asynchronous learning will be on Wednesdays
How much instruction time will my student have per week?
Classes include regular synchronous (live) instruction via videoconferencing for a maximum of 140 minutes/week.
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. 
The new schedule adopted for fall opening displays Wednesdays as teacher training & prep days, will students receive instruction on Wednesdays or will it just be teacher prep?
Yes, students will receive asynchronous learning with live instruction.
Will the same curriculum be covered as in past semesters?
Yes, content is aligned to grade-level standards and is provided at a level of quality and intellectual challenge substantially equivalent to in-person instruction.
Will students have the opportunity to take classes outdoors?
Additional wifi is being installed for better reception for more location flexibility of classes being offered outside.
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.
Assessment & Accountability 

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Assessment & Accountability 

Will students earn letter grades this fall?
Yes, students will receive letter grades for the entire school year.
What will tests and assessments look like in this 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.
Will student attendance be tracked?
Yes. Teachers will record student attendance for each class period (virtual and/or in-person) and monitor student engagement starting on the first day of school, Monday, August 17. 
Students are expected to attend all live class sessions and fully participate.  Students that do not fully participate in live class sessions will be referred to the school site intervention teams for supports and services. Parents/guardians should continue to excuse student absences as usual. 
How will the District ensure that the new model supports student success?
  • Teachers are expected to develop an electronic course syllabus, identify learning objectives, establish office hours, provide synchronous learning sessions and blended learning tools that will be used throughout the year, with links to parent and student resources and tutorials.
  • The District is also finalizing a student engagement plan that allows us to monitor student progress and success. We are also creating evaluation metrics that will help us measure the efficacy of our distance learning program.
  • All schools will provide targeted supports and interventions for English learners,  students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and Section 504 Plans.
On-campus Resources 

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On-campus Resources 

 What resources can students access on campus? 
The following resources are available on campus at the start of the school year. 
  • Food Service (Breakfast and Lunch)
  • Wifi/Technology Support (could be on campus to access DL)
  • Orientations for New Staff and Students
  • SPED Assessments 

If allowed by the new watchlist restrictions, in-person supports will include:
  • Study hubs to access quiet learning environment & campus internet
  • Academic support for students in programs and with specific academic needs  - to be determined, we will receive more guidance by early September 
  • Mental health services and supports
  • Athletic Conditioning and Extracurricular Activities (very small groups)
Social-Emotional & Mental Health

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Social-Emotional & Mental Health

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. Students will have consistent access (virtual, email, phone, etc.) to all staff that make up the school’s mental health support team, to include Mental Health Specialists, Intervention Counselors, Counselors, School Psychologists, Administrators, etc. 
All school sites have counselors available, for more information, visit our Student Health & Wellness COVID-19 Resource webpage.
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. 
What support is available if my student begins to feel isolated or depressed?
Social-Emotional Learning curriculum will be included on Wednesdays in order to support the 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. If your student begins to feel isolated or depressed, please contact your student’s counselor to discuss as soon as possible.
For more information, visit our Student Health & Wellness COVID-19 Resource webpage.

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What if my child needs a chrome book/WiFi 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 wifi access on campus, sponsorship program with Comcast is being provided for students who qualify. 
Visit our Technology Support webpage for information on how to:
  • Submit a request for Technology Support
  • Request a Chromebook and/or Hotspot
  • Access video conferencing support
  • Access CANVAS tutorials
Can my student work independently on-campus to leverage campus Internet and a quieter place to work?
Confirmation from the State is forthcoming on when we will be able to offer study hubs onsite while we are on the State’s COVID-19 Watchlist. 
Will teacher live sessions be recorded?
Yes, teachers may record live sessions via Zoom. Additionally, teachers may ask students to use their video feature while being sensitive to unique student situations. Teachers may use other means of gauging student presence and engagement for this purpose. Your student’s teacher will notify students if the live sessions are to be recorded; please communicate directly with your student’s teacher if you have any concerns.
Special Education & Student Services

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Special Education & Student Services

How will my student with disabilities access the services and accommodations in their  Individualized Education Program?
Special Education Case Managers and IEP team members will be working collaboratively in order to ensure the implementation of a student’s Individualized Education Program.
In early August, the Special Education Department sent a letter to parents with students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) answering frequently asked questions during the distance learning plan. 

  • How will I find out about my student’s educational plan during distance learning?
  • Does the Distance Learning Plan change the District’s offer on the IEP?
  • Will my student still receive services other than the instruction from their teacher?
  • What if my student requires specialized equipment based on their IEP? 
  • What if my student attends a program outside the district comprehensive sites? 
  • What is happening in terms of initial and triennial assessments for services? 
  • What do I need to do to request records?

You can read the letter by clicking here.
How will my student with a 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.

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Will student meals continue to be offered?
Yes, meals will be provided and available for all school-aged students on Mondays and Thursdays at the following locations and times through December 31st. 
  • Carlmont High School from 10:00am - 1:00pm
  • Menlo-Atherton High School from 10:00am - 1:00pm
  • East Palo Alto Academy from 10:00am - 4:00pm
  • SUHSD Central Kitchen Facility (300 James Avenue, Redwood City, Ca 94062) from 10:00am - 4:00pm
Athletics & Extra-Curriculars

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Athletics & Extra-Curriculars

Will sports take place this Fall? If not, will all Fall sports be postponed?
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) issued a press release on June 12, 2020 and subsequently on July 20, 2020. CIF has determined, in collaboration with the 10 Sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a modified season of sport schedule (see July 20, 2020 Release for more information). Additionally, the local Section (Central Coast Section, CCS) issued a press release on July 21, 2020, further outlining plans for the 2020-21 Athletics calendar.
As we continue to evaluate local and state health orders, we may extend/restart the “summer” Athletics Conditioning program. More information will be communicated out by school sites at the appropriate time. Please refer to your school’s Athletic department or visit the district’s Athletics website.
Health & Safety

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Health & Safety

How/where would there be increased hand washing access when on campus?   
There will be increased access to sinks across campus for hand washing. Classrooms with sinks (that students would not typically have access to) as well as bathrooms will be open for hand washing. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the campus (inside & out).  
What campus facilities/classroom changes are being made during shutdown in anticipation of return to campus for hybrid model?
  • Hand sanitizing stations installed throughout the inside and outside of buildings/campus. 
  • Signage throughout campus for social distancing. 
  • Increased presence of custodial staff throughout the day to sanitize high touch points. 
  • Increase the air exchange in classrooms and buildings to maximize pulling outside air in and pushing inside air out.

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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 is suspended during the 100% distance learning period [August 17-Oct 9], and while San Mateo County is on the State’s COVID-19 watchlist.