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Superintendent Friday Update - 7/31/2020

BOARD MEETING PREVIEW

The next meeting of our Board of Education is on August 11. Two main areas of emphasis for the meeting are Special Education and PAUSD+. The Special Education portion should carry the bulk of our time. We appreciate our Special Education families and plan to share details about our plans for the fall.

EXPECT GUIDANCE TO CHANGE

If we have learned anything by now, we have learned that guidelines change rapidly. Information shared by the District, including principals, is as good as the day it is issued. While frustrating for everyone, we should expect revisions to guidelines for months. We will do the best job possible to navigate and communicate changing rules and regulations.

PTA WEBINARS

Our PTA Council is hosting two webinars for families next week. Elementary families will have the opportunity to join the webinar Monday and secondary families are encouraged to join on Tuesday. Both events begin at 5:30 and will be moderated by PTAC President, Christina Schmidt. No advance registration is necessary.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTANCE LEARNING COMMITMENTS

Parents are able to commit to a full year of distance learning at the elementary school level. We expect that some are waiting for the webinar on Monday to make a decision. A few key points for those making decision include:

  • The default decision is placement with a teacher from your home school.
  • Families may shift to distance learning later if they wish to delay a decision.
  • Those who select distance learning for the entire year have a dedicated teacher for the entire year.
  • Regardless of when a decision is made, students may return to their home school in 2021-2022.
  • Families choosing distance learning at a later point should expect a change in teachers.
  • If a large number of families select distance learning later in the year, all families should be prepared for possible changes in class rosters to staff classes properly.
  • Many school districts are requiring full-year commitments right now. We are allowing for decisions to be made later.

ELEMENTARY ATTENDANCE CONCERNS AND RATIONALE

Some families have asked questions about our decision to mark attendance a few times during the day at the elementary level. It is important for PAUSD to monitor engagement throughout closures. Like all school districts, we don't want students to slip through the cracks.

Specific concerns should be relayed to teachers once assigned. We are trying to balance compulsory attendance requirements with screen time concerns. Concerns about multiple times to log-in for meetings are not lost on us. We need to try a few things and may adjust in time.

POSSIBLE RETURN DATES FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION

At the time of this update, we do not have agreement with PAEA for a possible return to in-person instruction. Our Board of Education indicated a desire to hold on large-scale returns to in-person instruction until October 12. Everyone agrees that there is value in determining a "first available date" to create a degree of certainty. Once the date is determined, we will share it with all stakeholders. For now, August and September appear to be off the table. The California Department of Health is releasing new guidelines today. They may provide a different path for Special Education and some in-person interaction. We will address any developments in guidelines at our next meeting.