06.23.2020 Community Forum Re-cap
This is a summary of the Q & A which took place on Zoom on June 23, 2020. Please note this is not a verbatim transcript of the Community Forum.
When schools reopen, will students be required to wear face coverings?
The Public Health Order has changed over time and the State and County orders haven't aligned. According to current State guidelines, anybody over 2 years old wears face coverings, unless a student has identified health conditions or emotional challenges related to the need to not wear a face covering. There may be an accommodation for a face shield as an example. Also, those who are hearing impaired would not be required to wear them, but all others at any grade level would wear a face covering. There is current consideration for changing that. In Santa Clara County, exemptions also include: Anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance; Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face covering; Any worker to the extent wearing a face covering creates a safety hazard at work under established health and safety guidelines.
What is MHUSD doing for employees who need childcare? What after school care options will there be for all students?
We have surveyed our staff regarding their potential need for additional child care coverage. We currently have partnerships with YMCA and GoKids and will continue discussing with these organizations to see whether they have capacity to offer daytime school-age care for MHUSD employees as a way to allow our essential employees the opportunity to work.
We have heard there is the possibility that 1/2 the children will attend 3 hours in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. If the same teacher is used, this would provide an opportunity of cross pollination of germs from teacher to both classes. If the students also shared desks, and materials, this would also put the kids at risk. How can we circumvent this?
This is not a consideration at this point. The current considerations do not include splitting the day in half with two different cohorts on the same day in the same space.
Will students receive pass/fail in the Fall if they are still doing distance learning?
We will return to a regular A-F grading system for our older students; younger students continue to be on a standards-based report card system.
Will the district be making sure that there is adequate staffing, both of service providers and paraprofessional staff, to appropriately deliver Special Education services to students?
We are required to provide services to our students as identified in each student's IEP. Our case managers and Special Education department have been busy identifying services that were able to be provided remotely during sheltering and services that will resume in-person. With all identified services, the District has an obligation to recruit staff or contract services to provide the services. Director of SPED works closely with the program specialist and school site administration on SpED staffing needs.
Is there a plan in place to address the loss of service minutes for students due to the shelter in place policies of the past year? What compensatory services will be offered as a result?
Anything specific to student services will be discussed at the student IEP meeting. During the time of sheltering, the service providers continued providing services.
For students with an IEP in need of several services through Special Education, how will speech, Occupational therapy, academic help, and behavioral services be addressed?
We are required to provide services to our students as identified in each student's IEP. Our case managers and Special Education department have been busy identifying services that were able to be provided remotely during sheltering and services that will resume in-person. With all identified services, the District has an obligation to recruit staff or contract services to provide the services.
Will the elementary schools be doing a hybrid system (part in-person/part online)? If you adopt a A/B hybrid for high school (half the students attend each day/time) will students have any formalized instruction on their non-campus attending days/time?
Although this is not 100% determined, we anticipate a hybrid model where students will access their learning live in the classroom and virtually. If students are not attending live instruction on campus, they will engage in virtually learning.
In any of the hypothesized school configurations (anything other than school as we knew it before March 2020) will the school day and/or school year be lengthened?
That is not an option we are considering at this time.
Will you implement different models for different grade levels?
We are considering options based on specific grade spans of students: TK-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
If there are parents who opt to have their child stay home, how will you address their educational needs?
The District will have a virtual-only option for students. Parents will be able to enroll in the virtual-only program.
At the last meeting no one had answers. The district needs to notify families of the plan for either reopening or distance learning asap so we have enough time to make good choices for our children for childcare or rearrange our work schedules.
The District has been busy planning for the reopening with various committees. The County will likely give their recommendations around July 1st. Once that happens, the District will then narrow down among the tentative plans and announce the local reopening plan. We all wish that the information was more certain and more widely available, but we're doing the best we can to adapt rapidly with each new set of guidelines.
Can TK and Kindergarten go back to an “early bird/late bird” system where a class is put into two equal groups who attend M-F and no one eats lunch at school?
Teachers and principals have been working on grade span options, considering our youngest learners as well as our high school-aged students, as we work on models that address safety and operational concerns as well as academic needs.
When will summer sports start? Also do you expect to see band and school sports in the Fall?
Summer sports have begun with restrictions for safety. We will await updates prior to planning for the fall season.
What is the district doing to incorporate parent feedback in a meaningful way, as you explore plans for the upcoming school year? It would be helpful to hear how parents can provide input and feedback beyond the brief survey and attending these forums.
Parents have been invited to send questions to their school administrators and district office staff, participate in asking and providing feedback in the multiple surveys that have been administered, and provide input for the community forum discussion. Many of our staff and teachers are also parents in our district and we consistently seek feedback from them.
How will teachers be supported (with supplies, physically and logistical support) by administration to meet COVID-19 requirements for themselves and their students? How are all all MHUSD administrative departments able to ensure safety standards are met now and throughout the year?
The district will provide increased supplies including clear face shields, sanitizer, disinfecting spray, guidelines for minimizing shared objects, operational adjustments for recess and lunch, modification of classroom layout to allow for more distancing. We have a District-wide Health & Safety Task Force who have given their recommendations based on reading and keeping up to date on all the available updates from CDC and CDPH. Administrators are developing site-level safety teams and our Facilities Department are busy preparing sites for all the adjustments including signage and modified front office spaces.
Will the district require ALL students and their parents/guardians along with ALL faculty and staff and their families for COVID-19 prior to school starting?
When we reopened the District Office building, we required all employees to submit a negative test result for COVID-19 prior to returning. We will work with public health recommendations for screening of symptoms, protocols for leaving school, and negative certification for anyone who needs to be absent due to illness.
If the students return to school on a hybrid schedule where they are on campus two days a week, what would be the main curriculum focus for those two days? Would it be comparable to a “typical” school day or would there be more of an emphasis on certain areas of study/assessments?
A hybrid model could be similar to a "flipped classroom" where the students read, write, watch videos, take in information during their virtual days and engage in discussions and projects on their in-person days. Younger learners will likely specifically engage in reading and math during the in-person days and additional subjects during the virtual days.