School Start Plan and Virtual Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, July 16 @ 5:30PM - Join Us!
Dear Da Vinci Families:
We all want our children/students back at school full-time, and our utmost priority is providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all staff and students. The following is a proposed plan regarding the 2020-21 phased re-opening of our schools. The proposed plan begins with all-remote learning in accordance with guidance from public health officials, recent COVID-19 data, and the need to provide as much clarity and certainty as we possibly can to all those we serve. We will be hosting a
Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, July 16 at 5:30PM for anyone who wishes to discuss this proposed plan in more detail (meeting invite info below).
What We Know
Information continues to emerge that has required us to change our plans almost every week. In June, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond provided guidelines for re-opening schools, which was followed by SB 98, the new law that established accountability measures for remote learning. In particular, SB 98 requires schools to offer in person instruction “to the greatest extent possible.” Last month, it appeared that reopening our campuses using some form of a hybrid model at all DV schools was likely, and all Los Angeles County schools have been advised to plan for such. And yet, by the end of June, we could already see COVID-19 cases were surging in the County. On July 9, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in his live broadcast that schools would not reopen until we had flattened the curve again.
This guidance coincides with Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer’s recent comments to district superintendents this week that schools should put plans in place to maintain 100% remote instruction. Moreover, the current California Department of Public Health guidance supports a phased reopening approach and has recently signaled it is unlikely to allow schools to reopen as cases are spiking. On July 11, CNN reported that an internal document from the Centers for Disease Control stated that full reopening of schools is the “highest risk” for coronavirus spread. And this week, Los Angeles County showed a 10% positive test rate, which is far above the 5% World Health Organization guidance for safe reopening of communities. L.A. Unified announced this week it will be starting the school year remote-only in August.
Perhaps needless to say, planning has been almost impossible. In an effort to accelerate toward clarity and certainty for all Da Vinci families, I am recommending a concrete plan for the first semester of the 2020-21 school year. I will be advancing the recommendations below to the Da Vinci Schools Board of Trustees at a special board meeting scheduled for this Friday, July 17 at 8:00AM. The Board will make the final decision regarding reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year.
Proposed ‘Phased-In Hybrid’ Reopening Plan
Phase 1: When Da Vinci RISE High begins the 2020-21 school year on August 10, and Da Vinci Communications, Connect/DVX, Design and Science begin on August 17, I am recommending that all schools deliver all services remotely/online. Current guidance from public health officials confirms that safety cannot be ensured at this time.
Phase 2: By Sept. 1, we will move to a 'Phased-In Hybrid' model with essential services being provided on campus for identified students, only if it is safe to do so, consistent with public health guidance. For example, a school may seek to deliver certain supports to students with exceptional needs in-person. These offerings will be dependent on staffing, thorough planning and development, and will only be offered if safe to do so based on guidance from public health officials.
Phase 3: Pending safety assurances and guidelines, on or about October 5, each school will determine what additional on-campus activities it will offer as part of “Phase 3” of our Hybrid Plan. Schools will provide services that are: (1) Highly difficult to offer anywhere but at school; (2) Prove inequitable if delivered at home; and (3) Essential Services, as defined in our professional development/planning.
I wish to reiterate that all phases will be offered if, and only if, it is safe to do so based on guidance from public health officials.
Planning for Remote Instruction - Phase 1
Our Da Vinci staff have been hard at work planning for fall instruction, including the survey results and stakeholder meeting input that families have provided over the last several months. We know that remote instruction poses unique challenges for some of our students, and we are developing professional development for teachers on best practices for remote learning. Discussion of expectations, technology access, training and engagement of students, support for students who may fall behind or need additional support, along with regular communication to families have already begun, and we look forward to sharing more about the development of our remote learning program.
Although we will start the school year without students at school facilities, we look forward to welcoming students via remote learning, and back to campus when it becomes safe to do so. I can imagine that many families will be disappointed to learn that we will not return to campus in August, and I will share that our DV team is right there with you. These are extraordinary times, and we are grateful for your support as we navigate a fluid situation; as we near the start of school, we look forward to sharing the details of our start to the school year. We invite you to join us at our
Virtual Town Hall Meeting on July 16 at 5:30PM to learn more.
No password is needed
Meeting ID: 999 9088 6713
Or dial in: (669) 900-6833
I wish all of you a healthy, rejuvenating summer, and I look forward to reconnecting with you in August.