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LVJUSD Fall Planning Survey Results & Next Steps

(The following letter was emailed to families on Thursday, June 25, 2020)

Dear Livermore Families,

Thank you to the 6,000+ families who participated in our Fall 2020 Planning Survey, sharing input around the factors that we must consider as we plan for the start of the 2020-21 school year on August 25, 2020. We have studied the responses and shared them with the Board of Education, District Leadership, and our Reopening Task Force. Your input is being used to guide our planning so that we can best meet the needs of our students and families.

This letter provides a recap of the survey results as well as an update on our planning.

Survey Results

The survey confirmed that most families share our own desire, as educators, to have students in classrooms at school as much as possible. Half of the families who responded prefer having students in school as usual, full time, and close to 40% prefer a hybrid model that has students coming to the school site part of the week and learning from home part of the week. Thousands of comments were shared that provided insight into the ranked preferences. An overview of the comments capture these key considerations shared by our families: 

  • Health & Safety: Comments showed the need for enhanced cleaning and handwashing, and for following health expert guidance rather than public opinion. There is a need to know and understand District protocols if cases of COVID are identified. There is a desire among some families to have children return to school without masks. The return to school is seen as important to support mental health and the social emotional welfare of children. 
  • Distance Learning: There was a request for consistent teacher interaction, structured online instruction and teaching, consistency, and a defined schedule. Parents appreciated communication, but requested that communication and assignments come through one platform. They want teachers to be required to use technology for enhanced student connection and academic understanding.
  • Childcare: The ability to participate in various options of learning is highly dependent on the availability of childcare. Having students attend school fewer than 5 days a week poses challenges for childcare. What ESS & PAL programs will be able to offer is of particular importance.
  • Accessibility/Equity: Comments showed a concern that some students’ needs could not be met solely through online learning, particularly those with special needs or accommodations. Comments also expressed concerns for equitable education for students who must be isolated because of health issues, or those who have income inequality, language barriers, and who lack access to technology and the internet.

The comments conveyed that there are many layers to families’ concerns, all of which are being taken into consideration as we plan for Fall 2020. 

For a complete report of survey responses, please refer to the LVJUSD Fall 2020 Planning Survey Report to Families (Spanish).

Planning in Progress

Since March, District leaders have been collaborating with staff, students and parents to develop a clear plan to educate students for the 2020 - 21 school year. Weekly planning meetings with the Alameda County Office of Education and the Alameda County Public Health Department, along with guidance from State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education provide information so that our plans for the fall are consistent with the requirements and guidance shared with other districts throughout the State. District leaders have been meeting continuously to plan both academic and logistical protocols for returning to school and work. A task force consisting of general education and special education teachers, office staff, administrators and parent representatives is meeting to address topics of health & safety, teaching & learning, operations & technology, human resources, and school schedules. Survey data is included in these conversations.

We are planning for three possible scenarios so that we are able to offer the option(s) that comply with Public Health Department requirements in August:

  1. Our schools will have health and safety protocols in place if we are able to open our doors to students for daily attendance, following our traditional bell schedules. 
  2. We will have online learning prepared as well as a part-time attendance bell schedule if we are able to offer a hybrid learning program. 
  3. And we will have the capacity to offer a robust online learning environment if we are called upon to shelter in place with students learning remotely, from home.

Regardless of what our school structure looks like for August, our district is excited to introduce our new learning management system, Schoology

Schoology integrates with our student information system (PowerSchool) and will provide a single sign-on for students, families and staff with access to assignments, grades, videos, resources, and video conferencing. Students will benefit from a single portal to find, complete, and submit their assignments as well as communicate with their teachers and collaborate with classmates. Parents will also have a single place to access information about their students. (More complete information about Schoology will be shared before school starts. Schoolloop, our current gradebook for students in grades 4-12 will no longer be in use.)

Our commitment to our students and families is that we will deliver robust teaching and learning, whether it is in person, online, or a combination of the two. We will provide standards aligned assignments, schedules, grading standards, and high expectations. Even if we are not able to be at school on a daily basis, teachers will have scheduled times when students will meet for both instruction and additional support.

Making a Decision

We know there is a desire to have answers now, to know what August 25th will look like so that families can make plans. We also know that, even within the last week, the number of COVID cases continues to increase, and legislative action is expected that may impact our plan. A decision made today may not be a decision we can honor on August 25th. We do recognize, and urge you to understand, that there may be a need to shift teaching and learning models at a moment’s notice as conditions change. We will be prepared for all possibilities. 

We will provide summer updates as we finalize site plans and in the event that public health circumstances change.

We will communicate with you no later than the first week of August with a definitive plan for Trimester 1. Parents and guardians will receive direct communication that shares specific schedules, based on the program the health department allows us to offer. You will receive an additional, student-specific survey, to confirm your child’s option.

Please continue to check our website for current news and information. Thank you for your ongoing partnership. 

 

Sincerely,

Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District Leadership Team