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District Update - December 3, 2020

En Español

Dear SCUSD Families, 

As we shared in our District Update sent on November 20, given the recent and significant changes at the state and county levels regarding our public health status, we are working as a team with our labor association partners to evaluate current conditions and adjust our reopening plans. As promised, I am writing to you this week with an update. 

Included in this message is information about:

  • Town halls for staff and families
  • Board of Trustees’ action timeline for phase two reopening plans 
  • State and county public health orders

Timeline Considerations

As we near the conclusion of negotiations for MOUs that will direct how we will reopen, naturally, new questions arise and old ones persist about when we will reopen. 

I wish I had a crystal ball. With Santa Clara County back in the state’s Purple Tier and just at the beginning of this third wave of COVID-19 cases surging in our community, it could be months. One thing we know for certain is that I, the Board of Trustees, and your labor leaders are not rushing this process and no one will be asked to return until public health officials tell us that it is safe to reopen. We committed long ago that we would not reopen schools during the Purple Tier by applying for a waiver with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. 

Cases in Santa Clara County are trending up and projected to continue on that upward trend through December. In order for SCUSD schools to reopen for in-person instruction: 

  • First, the county would need to be trending down for 14 days before we move into the Red Tier (tier status changes are announced on Tuesdays)
  • Second, the county would then need to remain in the Red Tier for an additional 14 days
  • Third, to allow us additional days to transition, we would return students on the first Monday after 14 days in the Red Tier
  • Therefore, this is at least 33 days after cases begin to trend down in the county (again, we do not anticipate that downward trend beginning in December)

We also know that bringing students back will be a phased and deliberate approach and that not all students who want to return will be able to do so. We will not be rushing staff and students back. Staff working from home will return first to allow for their own transition and time to settle in. Then, some students would begin to return by invitation, a few grade levels at a time.

Details of this phased-in plan (including hybrid schedule details and which students will be prioritized for invitations) are being finalized in negotiations with our labor partners and will be shared publicly at an upcoming Board of Trustees meeting (see below). As soon as we can share the details publicly, we will send out another mass communication and hold a town hall to answer any questions.

We have received some feedback that the district has not shared enough updates about, or engaged the community in, middle school and high school planning or timelines. Communication and engagement about secondary school planning should be coming from your school administrator. School sites are overseeing this because their schedules, programming, and constituents’ needs are so complex and varied. Additionally, our phasing plan has always been to bring elementary school students back first because of the complexity and large population of secondary schools.

Town Halls

Following Board of Trustees approval of our plans, we will hold town halls for families to share highlights of the plan and answer questions. The meetings will be recorded and available on our website for any families who are unable to attend.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 from 5 - 6 p.m.  |  Spanish Language
Zoom Webinar Access Link
Webinar ID: 816 7969 7355

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.  |  English Language
Zoom Webinar Access Link
Webinar ID: 829 4070 5419

Public Health Orders

READ: California Executive Order Changes
READ: SCCPHD Executive Order Changes Effective 11/30/2020
READ: SCCPHD Summary on K-12 COVID-19 Transmission Science

Today, Governor Newsom announced a new “Regional Stay Home” order for the state, including restricting non-essential travel and shelter-in-place orders for regions with less than 15% hospital ICU bed capacity. The Bay Area region is projected to reach that capacity later this month. At that time, a shelter-in-place would be in effect for three weeks. Certain business sectors could remain open, including the learning centers and connectivity hubs that we currently have open. We will update the community as we learn more.

This weekend, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department issued new mandatory directives on travel. 

  • Requires persons entering the county to quarantine for 14 days upon return from travel of more than 150 miles
  • Strongly discourages non-essential travel (anything other than travel by essential employees to and from work)
  • Effective November 30 until rescinded

I ask you to join me in partnership and with integrity to not travel outside of the county unless absolutely essential. Please take care of yourselves, your family, and the community by doing your part to help flatten the curve in our county and state. 

  • If your child attends one of our Learning Centers or Connectivity Hubs, and you have travel plans more than 150 miles away that cannot be rescheduled, your child will need to quarantine at home for 14 days after returning from the travel. Please notify the site supervisor.

Board of Trustees Meetings

All members of our community are welcomed and encouraged to attend our virtual (online) board meetings. More: SCUSD Board of Trustees Meetings

Monday, December 14, 2020  | Special Board Meeting
Action on approval of Phase Two reopening plans.

Thursday, December 17, 2020  | Regular Board Meeting
Report from staff on reopening plans and projects.

Closing

Thank you for the comments, questions, and ideas you have shared through the numerous district and school surveys conducted since March, hours of participation on dozens of sub-committees and focus groups, and your patience as we all navigate this time together. The labor management partnership process takes time, but the conversations, deliberations, and opportunities for questions and iteration are crucial. Our partnership, plans, and MOUs, are stronger for it. 

I look forward to you joining me at our upcoming town halls and board meetings. 

In partnership, 

Stella M. Kemp, Ed.D.
Superintendent