Livermore Schools Set Date For Students to Return to Campus
February 26, 2021 - Livermore, CA - In-person instruction for Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) students will resume March 22, 2021. At a special School Board meeting yesterday, trustees unanimously approved the recommendation of Superintendent Kelly Bowers to officially end school dismissal, marking close to a year of distance learning because of the pandemic. Students attending preschool through 12th grade will be able to come to school or remain in distance learning, based on their individual family preference.
“We have been anticipating and preparing for this return. More details from principals will be forthcoming next week, and families will be allowed a defined window of opportunity to review and firmly commit to the modality they prefer for the remainder of this academic year, through June 10, 2021,” said Dr. Bowers.
In-person learning will be offered four days each week, with Wednesdays remaining as they currently are - a day of online classes and support with an early dismissal to allow time for professional development for teachers. Elementary students will be able to attend school in the mornings or participate in distance learning in the afternoons. Middle and high school students who choose to return to campus will be able to meet in person two days each week and will join their distance learning peers on other days. Teachers will offer concurrent instruction, teaching students online while also teaching those in the classroom. The 2-days per week model for secondary students is necessary to maintain required physical distancing, based on the estimated numbers of students who prefer in-person learning.
All grades will complete in-person instruction before lunch so that students can pick up meals as they leave campus. Dana Dodge, Child Nutrition Director, said, “We are happy to be able to continue providing lunch and supper to all LVJUSD students, free of charge, through the end of the school year, whether they are learning at home or at school.”
The March 22nd start date will coincide with the vast majority of LVJUSD staff members voluntarily receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. "Educators are excitedly preparing for a smooth transition to in-person instruction. To date, over 80% of LVJUSD staff have already begun the vaccination process,” said Aimee Thompson, President of the Livermore Education Association. Board Member Yanira Guzmán is grateful for the commitment of LVJUSD staff: “I thank the teachers and staff for jumping on the opportunity to get vaccinated; it shows their dedication and desire to return to campus.”
“We are finally in a position where everything is lining up in order to return to in-person learning: vaccine safety for our teachers, a dropping positivity case rate, State and County support and community support,” said Board Clerk Emily Prusso. Board Member Anne White added, “We’ve been working toward this goal over the past year.” Board President Craig Bueno summed up the Board’s priorities: “Elevating our educators and District-wide workforce as a priority for the vaccine and conveying the direct needs of our Livermore community were paramount in our effort to get our students back to school safely,” said Bueno.
LVJUSD leadership has been advocating and working around the clock with the City of Livermore, the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD), along with County Supervisor David Haubert, Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, and Senator Steve Glazer to bring a vaccination Point of Distribution (POD) and/or a mobile vaccination clinic to Livermore to serve our most vulnerable residents, along with District and City staff.
Dave Vonheeder, Chair of the LVJUSD Parent Club Information Council is eager to see classrooms reopen. “Even though this year has been hard for everyone, our children have learned about self-determination and resolve, in addition to academics. They will take those lessons with them into the future,” said Vonheeder.
Chris Van Schaack, LVJUSD Deputy Superintendent, oversees District operations. “Our classrooms are ready for students. We have installed air filtration systems, we have sanitization processes in place, and we have the personal protective equipment needed for our staff and students,” he said. District Nurse and COVID-19 Liaison Carolyn Reggiardo added, “We have clear protocols in place that include health screening, contact tracing, and exposure notifications and procedures, should they be needed as we welcome more students and staff to campuses.”
Superintendent Bowers and the Board realize that navigating the pandemic while meeting the needs of families will be ongoing. Board Member Kristie Wang said, “I am thrilled that with the decline in community spread, vaccination of most of our school staff, and other mitigation factors in place, we have been able to set a date for safely bringing our students back to campus for in-person learning. I credit our superintendent with finding a path forward for our district and for her tenacity in making it happen.”
More information about LVJUSD reopening can be found at livermoreschools.org/reopening