News

SRVUSD crafts 'revised recommendation' for school reopenings one day after board OKs hybrid model

Details of proposed changes to be presented at special meeting Thursday evening

The San Ramon Valley Unified School District appears to be reconsidering its proposal to have some in-person classroom instruction this fall amid the COVID-19 crisis, with district officials announcing late Wednesday that the board will be presented with a "revised recommendation" on Thursday.

The Board of Education unanimously endorsed a hybrid model that would allow for both on-campus classes and remote learning from home for students, following a lengthy debate Tuesday.

The plan was for staff to fine-tune program details for formal approval at a special meeting on Thursday, but district officials said new information came to light in the subsequent 24 hours that led administrators to want to revise their recommendation to the board. Specifics about those changes have not yet been revealed publicly.

"As we have been saying throughout this process, circumstances surrounding our situation change rapidly and, as a District, we remain prepared to pivot on a dime and adjust our actions as circumstances dictate, using the most up-to-date information available. Accordingly, there have been some key developments since yesterday’s Board meeting that impact the District's plans to reopen schools in the fall," officials said in a statement Wednesday night.

"To honor our commitment to adjust as needed, given these new developments and the acquisition of knowledge that we did not previously possess, at (Thursday's) meeting the Board of Education will hear a revised recommendation from staff regarding the reopening of schools," they added.

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Officials cited new guidance from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday that districts should only reopen schools when they can confirm the safety of students and staff amid the pandemic.

They also discussed limitations of Contra Costa Health Services to thoroughly investigate and respond to an incident of potential COVID-19 exposure on a campus with school in session. And they pointed to other nearby districts' overnight decisions on the reopening question -- Pleasanton, for example, confirmed remote-only learning to start the term for all students.

SRUVSD leaders are set to unveil their revised recommendation to the board during a special meeting Thursday evening, starting at 6 p.m. It will be held online-only due to the pandemic and associated shelter-in-place health order.

Tuesday's board hearing

SRVUSD stakeholders came out of the public meeting one day ago expecting students to return to the classroom for at least part of the time come fall, after the Board of Education signed off on a hybrid model that will allow for both in-person and online remote learning that night

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Approved after nearly five hours of deliberations during an exhaustive special meeting on Tuesday, the pilot program was designed to be as flexible as possible -- in order to adapt to changing circumstances concerning the ongoing spread of COVID-19 -- and was designed to last for four weeks, with most students attending in-person class twice a week and learning remotely the rest of the time.

If concerns over exposure to the public offer too high of a risk, families may also opt to have their students enroll in full-time remote learning, under that scenario.

"I feel like it is the good test place, the most optimal balance for starting to get kids back to school and I have heard loud and clear from parents and from experts as well as from teachers that our kids do need some return to school -- for the ones that want it," board member Rachel Hurd during the meeting.

Students would be divided into two "cohorts" for in-person learning, assigning half of a school's population to attend class in person one day and half on another, ensuring that social-distancing policies can be effectively enforced.

Elementary, middle and high school students in Cohort A would attend school in-person on Monday and Tuesday, while students in Cohort B will be attending on Thursday and Friday. Students would be assigned to their cohorts at a future date.

Schedules would also be built to minimize contact between students and faculty.

When students do attend in-person class, rooms would be situated so each student is facing forward in desks while maintaining a distance of four to six feet. Classrooms would further be cleared of furniture and items not necessary and will when possible be limited to 26-28 students in a class, with janitorial crews deep cleaning campuses.

According to district officials, community input played a major factor in the planning process with more than 9,000 parents, 1,575 staff members and 1,776 middle and high school students filling out surveys related to reopening

District surveys found that the majority of students and staff were in favor of a hybrid model, as opposed to an exclusively in-person or remote program, with 48.6% and 46.7% respectively approving of a hybrid model.

Parents on the other hand displayed a greater interest in having students return to in-person learning full-time, with 43.2% of respondents showing an interest in returning to full-time. Additionally, 36.3% of parents were in favor of a hybrid model and 20.5% for full remote learning.

"I've done a tremendous amount of reading in the last few weeks… I think one of the things we need to do is separate out people's opinions from facts and also set out the politics that are underlying a lot of what we are hearing and seeing these days," board member Ken Mintz said. "As you all have said there is no good single right answer, there (are) needs on all sides … It needs to be done safely and we need to define what safely is because there are no clear directions that anyone is giving us to say what is safe and what is not."

After working through the issues for nearly five hours, district officials elected to flesh out the finer details of the plan and release them to the public during a special meeting on Thursday.

That scenario is now in flux, after district officials announced Wednesday that the Thursday evening board meeting will instead focus on a "revised recommendation."

That meeting will be held at 5 p.m. and can be viewed on the district's official YouTube account.

Public comments and questions can be submitted to Cindy Fischer at [email protected] or by fax by 838-3147 before the meeting time. Emails should include the words "public comment" in the subject line.

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SRVUSD crafts 'revised recommendation' for school reopenings one day after board OKs hybrid model

Details of proposed changes to be presented at special meeting Thursday evening

by / Danville San Ramon

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated: Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 9:41 pm

The San Ramon Valley Unified School District appears to be reconsidering its proposal to have some in-person classroom instruction this fall amid the COVID-19 crisis, with district officials announcing late Wednesday that the board will be presented with a "revised recommendation" on Thursday.

The Board of Education unanimously endorsed a hybrid model that would allow for both on-campus classes and remote learning from home for students, following a lengthy debate Tuesday.

The plan was for staff to fine-tune program details for formal approval at a special meeting on Thursday, but district officials said new information came to light in the subsequent 24 hours that led administrators to want to revise their recommendation to the board. Specifics about those changes have not yet been revealed publicly.

"As we have been saying throughout this process, circumstances surrounding our situation change rapidly and, as a District, we remain prepared to pivot on a dime and adjust our actions as circumstances dictate, using the most up-to-date information available. Accordingly, there have been some key developments since yesterday’s Board meeting that impact the District's plans to reopen schools in the fall," officials said in a statement Wednesday night.

"To honor our commitment to adjust as needed, given these new developments and the acquisition of knowledge that we did not previously possess, at (Thursday's) meeting the Board of Education will hear a revised recommendation from staff regarding the reopening of schools," they added.

Officials cited new guidance from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday that districts should only reopen schools when they can confirm the safety of students and staff amid the pandemic.

They also discussed limitations of Contra Costa Health Services to thoroughly investigate and respond to an incident of potential COVID-19 exposure on a campus with school in session. And they pointed to other nearby districts' overnight decisions on the reopening question -- Pleasanton, for example, confirmed remote-only learning to start the term for all students.

SRUVSD leaders are set to unveil their revised recommendation to the board during a special meeting Thursday evening, starting at 6 p.m. It will be held online-only due to the pandemic and associated shelter-in-place health order.

Tuesday's board hearing

SRVUSD stakeholders came out of the public meeting one day ago expecting students to return to the classroom for at least part of the time come fall, after the Board of Education signed off on a hybrid model that will allow for both in-person and online remote learning that night

Approved after nearly five hours of deliberations during an exhaustive special meeting on Tuesday, the pilot program was designed to be as flexible as possible -- in order to adapt to changing circumstances concerning the ongoing spread of COVID-19 -- and was designed to last for four weeks, with most students attending in-person class twice a week and learning remotely the rest of the time.

If concerns over exposure to the public offer too high of a risk, families may also opt to have their students enroll in full-time remote learning, under that scenario.

"I feel like it is the good test place, the most optimal balance for starting to get kids back to school and I have heard loud and clear from parents and from experts as well as from teachers that our kids do need some return to school -- for the ones that want it," board member Rachel Hurd during the meeting.

Students would be divided into two "cohorts" for in-person learning, assigning half of a school's population to attend class in person one day and half on another, ensuring that social-distancing policies can be effectively enforced.

Elementary, middle and high school students in Cohort A would attend school in-person on Monday and Tuesday, while students in Cohort B will be attending on Thursday and Friday. Students would be assigned to their cohorts at a future date.

Schedules would also be built to minimize contact between students and faculty.

When students do attend in-person class, rooms would be situated so each student is facing forward in desks while maintaining a distance of four to six feet. Classrooms would further be cleared of furniture and items not necessary and will when possible be limited to 26-28 students in a class, with janitorial crews deep cleaning campuses.

According to district officials, community input played a major factor in the planning process with more than 9,000 parents, 1,575 staff members and 1,776 middle and high school students filling out surveys related to reopening

District surveys found that the majority of students and staff were in favor of a hybrid model, as opposed to an exclusively in-person or remote program, with 48.6% and 46.7% respectively approving of a hybrid model.

Parents on the other hand displayed a greater interest in having students return to in-person learning full-time, with 43.2% of respondents showing an interest in returning to full-time. Additionally, 36.3% of parents were in favor of a hybrid model and 20.5% for full remote learning.

"I've done a tremendous amount of reading in the last few weeks… I think one of the things we need to do is separate out people's opinions from facts and also set out the politics that are underlying a lot of what we are hearing and seeing these days," board member Ken Mintz said. "As you all have said there is no good single right answer, there (are) needs on all sides … It needs to be done safely and we need to define what safely is because there are no clear directions that anyone is giving us to say what is safe and what is not."

After working through the issues for nearly five hours, district officials elected to flesh out the finer details of the plan and release them to the public during a special meeting on Thursday.

That scenario is now in flux, after district officials announced Wednesday that the Thursday evening board meeting will instead focus on a "revised recommendation."

That meeting will be held at 5 p.m. and can be viewed on the district's official YouTube account.

Public comments and questions can be submitted to Cindy Fischer at [email protected] or by fax by 838-3147 before the meeting time. Emails should include the words "public comment" in the subject line.

Comments

Retired SRV teacher
Danville
on Jul 15, 2020 at 6:57 pm
Retired SRV teacher, Danville
on Jul 15, 2020 at 6:57 pm
4 people like this

SRVUSD Update: (Web Link)... State Superintendent update... see below
July 15, 2020

Dear SRVUSD Staff and Parents/Guardians,
A special Board of Education Meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, July 15, 2020 at 6 p.m. As always, the meeting will be live-streamed on the District’s YouTube channel. If you cannot view the meeting live, it will be recorded and available for viewing at a later date/time on the same YouTube channel.

As we have been saying throughout this process, circumstances surrounding our situation change rapidly and, as a District, we remain prepared to pivot on a dime and adjust our actions as circumstances dictate, using the most up-to-date information available. Accordingly, there have been some key developments since yesterday’s Board meeting that impact the District's plans to reopen schools in the fall.

This morning, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), Tony Thurmond, released a statement that addressed the reopening of schools. In that statement, Superintendent Thurmond validated that, “there is no playbook for the times we’re in.” School Districts throughout the State are challenged with preparing for a school year that keeps staff and students safe. We should plan for an eventual reopen, but if we cannot confirm the safety of staff and students, we should plan to open remotely. He reiterated that our ultimate goal is to have students back in the classroom.

A key factor in ensuring the safety of everyone on our campuses is the ability of local agencies to partner with local school districts when/if someone on a school campus exhibits symptoms of COVID-19. This morning, district staff further researched the capabilities of the County Department of Public Health (DPH) and checked in on their protocols for handling students or staff exhibiting COVID - 19 symptoms. Based on new information from local districts and after speaking with the County DPH again, it has become clear that the ability of the County DPH to investigate communicable diseases, conduct contact tracing and disseminate test results is limited. In order to ensure the safety of staff and students, the District must be able to manage the health protocols and communication workflow associated with reporting when a staff member or student shows symptoms at school.

Another consideration for the SRVUSD is that several of our surrounding school districts have made their reopening decisions in the last 24 hours. The SRVUSD must be sensitive to the fact that many of our families are impacted by the decisions of neighboring districts. Many work in one and have children in class in another. Supporting families is very important. In addition, the District has a social obligation to support our community as a whole.

To honor our commitment to adjust as needed, given these new developments and the acquisition of knowledge that we did not previously possess, at tomorrow’s meeting the Board of Education will hear a revised recommendation from staff regarding the reopening of schools.

The SRVUSD has been a leader in establishing protocols that protect the safety of staff and students. We have been consistent in our messaging since we suspended in-class instruction back on March 13th. At that time, we relied on the science to guide our actions. We must do the same thing now.
This is a monumental task and getting it right is a lengthy process that demands flexibility. Your Board Members are committed to the safety of students and staff. Please join us for tomorrow’s Board Meeting. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

Christopher George
Director of Instructional Services and District Communications


SRVUSD 699 Old Orchard Drive, Danville, CA 94526 (925) 552-5500 www.srvusd.net



San Ramon Valley Unified School District would like to continue connecting with you via email. It is very important that we are able to continue to communicate with all of our parents and guardians - particularly during emergency situations. To stop receiving all email messages distributed through our SchoolMessenger service follow this link and confirm: Unsubscribe. WARNING - Once unsubscribed, you will no longer receive any emails at this address distributed through this system on behalf of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District OR ANY OF ITS SCHOOLS. This will include emergency broadcasts and ALL other important announcements.

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Member
Diablo
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:07 am
Member, Diablo
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:07 am
8 people like this

Since medical evidence and in particular the American Academy of Pediatrics has taken the STRONG position that children are more likely to be harmed by not being in school and that even those who have CV19 are asymptomatic and do not infect adults, what possible rationale does SRVUSD have for not starting back to full time school for its students????


Danville Resident
Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:44 am
Danville Resident, Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:44 am
16 people like this

Believe the science. Only a small handful of school districts in CA meet the guidelines for safely re-opening in person. SRVUSD is not among them. The rate of infection in Contra Costa County is on the rise, and the warning signs are clear. There is nothing more important than protecting the health and safety of our students, teachers, and residents in our communities.


parent
another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 11:02 am
parent, another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 11:02 am
8 people like this

Air conditioning has been identified as a possible way of spreading COVID-19 even when there are masks and a 6 feet separation. Please see Web Link

Please look up Dr. Edward Nardell from Harvard to see what he has to say about this. In closed rooms with HVAC, even with masks and a 6 foot separation, this is not enough to protect staff and children from getting the COVID-19 when the tiny particles of the virus, some only the size of 1 micron, linger in the air for hours.


Reader
Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Reader, Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm
8 people like this

@Member:
When reading the entire AAP article, it is not clear that staff would not be affected by sick children. The article indicates it depends upon the risk level to the individual staff member.
Also, there is the assumption that all children will keep their masks on all of the time. This is highly doubtful.


Mike
Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 1:39 pm
Mike, Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 1:39 pm
8 people like this

The Board of Education unanimously endorsed a hybrid model" Looking at the voting records of this school board I could not find a single vote that was not unanimous. This is not a school board it is a rubber stamp for the administration. The SRVUSD board does not represent the parents and students if it did they would discuss in open session the merits of each item pro/cons but instead they seem only in public to say yes. It is a direct violation of the Brown Act to meet before open session and discuss how they are going to vote or to reach consensus before the public session. Yet how do they agree on every issue without a single no vote. This board is a sham and very clear that they are not listening to the community when I know we are not all in agreement of the proposed hybrid model. We need board members that represent the parents and the students we already have an administration that has shown they need oversight not a rubber stamp.


Dale
Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:25 pm
Dale, Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:25 pm
12 people like this

There is no evidence that kids are not carriers or equally infected along with adults. Schools, even in China, were closed when this all started. No other coronavirus discriminates based upon age in terms of infection rate. More and more evidence emerges daily that this virus causes brain damage and attacks multiple organs through the brain stem. Have you seen the movie “Awakenings” with Robin Williams? This all followed the outbreak in 1920. What is the point in taking risks with a virus we are still learning about? Do you really think your kid is going to have a bad life because of online school in 2020-21? When no one agrees it means we don’t know enough. Why risk their health?


Danville resident
Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:51 pm
Danville resident, Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:51 pm
10 people like this

I thought it noteworthy that our board president did not wear a mask during the 6 hour board meeting, yet he feels strongly that teachers and students should return to school full time, sitting 3 feet apart, wearing masks. Not even he could do it - how does he expect children and teens to comply. glad I wasn't in that room with him.


SRVUSD Parent
Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:19 pm
SRVUSD Parent, Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:19 pm
5 people like this

The truth is that there isn’t enough conclusive evidence that COVID-19 is not communicable between children and adults. All of the Bay Area school districts took the proactive measure of being the first in the country to shutdown schools in order to avoid transmission, so we don’t have enough data collected to make a decision on this. Kids are not entirely immune to this and to place them in jeopardy is gross negligence. Please take the time and research children who have been infected and countries like Israel who have tried to reopen schools, only to realize it was a mistake. If you need someone to blame, blame our administration for giving mixed signals and not preparing this country, and especially our frontline workers, for this pandemic. I sincerely hope the school district supervisors reconsider this decision in light of recent developing stories.


Parent
Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:23 pm
Parent, Danville
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:23 pm
2 people like this

School funding is based on attendance. I realize it’s not fair to penalize the schools but if left with no other choice, then...


Jennifer
Danville
on Jul 18, 2020 at 3:37 pm
Jennifer, Danville
on Jul 18, 2020 at 3:37 pm
3 people like this

Kids belong in school, and teachers should be teaching in the classroom.


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