March 4th SSFUSD Letter Updating School Re-Opening Goals/ Survey

South San Francisco, CA  March 5, 2021

From: Communications <communications@ssfusd.org>
Date: February 24, 2021 at 5:01:38 PM PST
Subject: Dear SSFUSD Community
Reply-To: Communications <communications@ssfusd.org>

March 4, 2021

 

Dear SSFUSD Community,

San Mateo County recently returned to the red tier of the state’s color-coded system which tracks the number of positive COVID-19 cases by counties. Red means “Substantial”, which means schools, may reopen for in-person instruction after they have remained in the red tier for 14 days. This development coupled with our January 28 decision to allow athletic participation with modified seasons and schedules for the 2021 spring semester has prompted our school board to continue exploring ways to bring students safely back on campus.

During the week of February 22, 2021, educators in our county began receiving vaccination appointments! I am excited to share that as of March 3, SSFUSD has a total of 287 employees who have received their vaccine. Of that, 135 are teachers and 152 are classified staff or other certificated staff, which is approximately 30% of our District employees. We anticipate that over the next several weeks, all SSFUSD will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine.

Another survey is coming soon! We need your help to provide us with your thoughts about sending your child(ren) back to school this school year. In this survey, we are introducing another instructional model for your consideration. We recognize there were some concerns in November about the existing hybrid model due to the decreased live instructional days/time. When you receive the survey, you will be able to select the distance learning option or one in-person hybrid option. Please complete and return the survey as soon as you have the opportunity once you receive it!

Based on the information we have received, we have been exploring different possible instructional models that will increase the amount of time our students receive for direct instruction. Unfortunately, in many of those models, students may still have to change teachers. The only way we would be able to maintain students’ current teacher is to have the teacher maintain teaching online, via distance learning with students at home while teaching the rest of the class in person. Many school districts are trying this and are struggling with the technology to the point that both groups do not receive quality instruction. At this time, SSFUSD is unable to provide this model as we are in the middle of a technology infrastructure upgrade project. Essentially, our current technology infrastructure does not have the bandwidth to support this model.

The other alternative, which you will see in the survey, is to maintain distance learning in the morning and invite students to campus in the afternoon for in-person instructional support for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. This way, students interested in returning can participate, they won’t have to change their teacher for the live synchronous instruction and it will minimize the impact and disruption changing teachers may cause at this time of the school year.

At the secondary level, we are exploring an instructional model that will minimize the impact and disruption to students as well. More information about the secondary schedule options will be in the survey.

As you know, our focus during the COVID-19 pandemic has been to safeguard the health of our students and staff. We have been actively preparing and putting in place programs such as Care Solace. Care Solace provides staff and families with a way to connect to professionals regarding social-emotional and mental well-being. In addition, we have been providing professional development to our staff on trauma informed systems.

In anticipation of inviting students back this school year, we have proactively made changes to our school campuses in conjunction with updating and receiving approval for our District’s reopening plan and finalizing our District’s safety plan, which we are reviewing with union leadership, as we negotiate to ensure a safe, physical environment for all. Below are some of the things we have done:

• Installation of new MERV air filters in HVAC systems at all schools;

• Purchased portable HEPA filter air purifiers for classrooms with insufficient ventilation

• Hired an external company to inspect and assess ventilation options;

• Provided hand sanitizing stations throughout the school and bottles of hand sanitizer in each classroom;

• Installed plexiglass safety barriers in each school’s main office and other areas as needed;

• Stockpiled sufficient essential protective equipment (EPE) to last through the school year (face masks, face shields, gloves, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, etc.); • Posted signs and safety protocols at all schools and additional signs will be posted in the near future or prior to school reopening;

• In the process of purchasing hospital grade, ultraviolet (UV), mobile room disinfection units.

• Finalizing a video to help families visualize the measures SSFUSD has taken to safely bring students and staff back to in-person instruction.

 

Our commitment to educational equity and excellence means that we have had to find different ways to creatively serve our students during this unprecedented situation. I am deeply pained by the fact that some students, staff members, and families are struggling with the current situation. That is why our district has partnered with an organization called Paper, that provides virtual tutoring (also in Spanish) available 24/7 to all our students in grades 6-12 and implemented learning hubs across SSFUSD.

We have actively pursued additional funding to support our students. I’m excited to inform you that our district recently received a $145,334 grant from the Community Equity Collaborative to help fund the expansion of three additional learning hubs at our district. This will bring the current number of learning hubs serving SSFUSD students to 11.

Lastly, my staff and I will be presenting an information item at our March 11th school board meeting to share our preliminary thinking about bringing students back on campus. Please complete the survey when you receive it, so we can communicate the needs of our SSFUSD community at that meeting. This will allow the board to hear your voices as part of our planning process for potentially bringing students back to school.

I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your ongoing support and commitment to our school district. It has been an extremely challenging time for our principals, teachers, staff, and you— our partners. Throughout this unprecedented situation, we have tried to balance the needs of our entire community! We are hopeful that as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, the prospect of a return to a safe, engaging, in-person learning environment will happen sooner rather than later.

In gratitude,

Dr. Shawnterra Moore

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Please see our March 4th article on this issue HERE

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A glitch in an update has resulted in comments not being viewable by the public and we are continuing to find a solution to this issue, thank you for your patience!

 

COMMENTS:

‘i saw this on your fb page, i don’t have fb so i couldnt ask but  did anyone else know about this? ty lina’ (rec’d via email)

 

 

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