"Education is the passport to the future,
- Malcolm X
Our schools are at the center of our community. PAUSD children come to school to grow their intellectual, creative, social, and emotional skills. The PAUSD instructional plan takes a holistic approach by attempting to balance diverse elements including health, safety, academic programming, choice, implementation challenges, and resource allocations. As a result, safety guidelines suggest distinguishing approaches between elementary and secondary schools. Maintaining cohorts and supporting routine handwashing are key elements of most guidelines.
The nature of elementary schools allows for reasonable cohorts within classrooms. Splitting classes into alternating A/B groups reduces the number of students in close proximity for extended periods of time and provides an opportunity for staff and students to operationalize new routines. PAUSD may ease restrictions and ask students to return fully to sites if conditions improve or if guidelines are significantly revised.
Features of Elementary Instructional Models
- Instructional minutes will meet or exceed the established state standard.
- Attendance will be taken daily.
- All standards on the progress report will be assessed during the school year.
- Increased child care options for families are available.
- All support services will be provided to students, as needed.
- Art, PE, Music, and Library continue in all models.
- Instruction delivered synchronously and asynchronously.
- Elementary families were offered two options for returning to school in August – to start with distance learning and return to hybrid when possible, or to commit to a full distance learning program for the entire academic year.
- In-person instruction will occur through an A/B schedule: half of the class each day for grades 1-5; and half of the class in a.m., and half in p.m., for Pre-K, TK, Y5, and K.
- At-home instruction will be a combination of asynchronous and synchronous lessons.
- Staggered breaks at recess and lunch to maintain separation of student cohorts.
Full Distance Learning Model
- Designed for families who wish to keep their children in full distance learning for the year.
- Families encouraged and resources provided to maintain a connection to the assigned school.
- Students receive supplemental services from their assigned school as practicable; i.e., IEP services, Tier 2, EL, Counseling, etc.
Secondary schools are not structured to support pure cohorts throughout a school day. Spacing and face covering guidelines are more prescriptive for secondary schools, as a whole. Academic and mental health support continue to be important aspects of safe schools. Routine opportunities to visit campus in small groups for targeted activities are being planned. The full return to campus will be considered at various checkpoints. PAUSD will remain in contact with surrounding school districts, Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD), Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE), and the California Department of Education (CDE) to evaluate conditions and best practices related to a physical return to campus.
Features of Secondary Instruction
- All schools will begin instruction through distance learning with opportunities for students to regularly visit campuses for targeted small-group interactions.
- Extra-curricular activities available in socially distanced settings.
- Grades will be assigned.
- All schools and classes will follow an established routine schedule with synchronous components.
- PAUSD+ will serve historically challenged students and provide support and consistency.
- Attendance will be taken daily.
- Physical returns to school will be evaluated routinely.
- For secondary students who choose to remain in full distance learning when schools physically reopen in January, PAUSD is exploring options such as third-party learning platforms and streaming. More information will be shared as the options are evaluated.
Instructional Model Sample
In the Hybrid Instructional Model depicted below, the weekly instructional model starts with leveraging Monday as a Launch Day to help students orient themselves to the week. This time can be used to connect with students, clarify learning goals, and help students create a learning plan for the week. After the Launch Day, students are divided into two groups (A and B) for the remainder of the week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Group A moves to in-person learning on campus (In-Class Day), while Group B moves onto independent learning (Independent Day). On Thursday and Friday, Group B moves onto in-person learning on campus (In-Class Day), while Group A moves onto independent learning (Independent Day).
- Address students with disabilities who refuse or are unable to wear masks. Plan for students who are medically fragile and/or immune-compromised.
- Clearly define how staff can honor physical distancing recommendations, yet meet student medical, personal, or support needs.
- Build flexibilities to keep students connected and included in the class and school community, regardless of how much physical time they are able to attend school. Ensure the ability to quickly pivot to attending class virtually in order to retain some regular connection to teachers and peers.
- Determine any special or unique needs for students with disabilities related to the District Health and Safety Plan.
- Establish any necessary flexibilities for specific students-with disabilities populations such as preschool-age, students with extensive support needs, behavioral challenges, etc.
- Establish an accommodation plan to implement physical distancing, given lack of space and facility limitations, particularly for children who will struggle with maintaining physical distancing.
- Address potential issues from physical distancing rules that could result in unintended segregation of students on campuses away from peers without disabilities.
- Plan for maintaining access to peers without disabilities and ensure that students remain in the least restrictive environment.
- Determine instructional models for staying physically distant.
- Conduct assessments for staff and providers to practice physical distancing ensuring Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- Work with each family and student to determine what FAPE looks like for them during COVID-19 (it may be different than the Individualized Education Program (IEP) developed pre-COVID-19).
- Use the district model(s) for all students as the basis for establishing FAPE.
- Ensure children with disabilities are included in all offerings of school education models, by using the IEP process to customize educational opportunities and provide support, when necessary.
- Use annual IEP to plan for the traditional school year. Provide emergency distance learning plan or addendums to address distance learning needs for IEPs during immediate or future school site closures.
Support for Students With Additional Needs
It will be important to individually support access and functional needs for students who may be at increased risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, or those who have unrecognized illness due to COVID-19, with a tailored plan using existing student health plans to identify any additional accommodations. Working with each student's family may help to identify any unknown concerns and can help staff to make additional preparations needed for classroom and non-classroom environments. Site-specific hazard assessments should be conducted to limit risk.
Arrival and Departure
- Instruct drivers to remain in their vehicles to the extent possible.
- Allow only one parent or guardian (per occasion) to pick up or drop off a student.
- Require all adults and students, including parents, to wear a face covering, unless medically inadvisable.
- Provide supervision to disperse student gatherings during arrival and departure times.
Cohort Sizes and Mixing
- Closely monitor, adjust, and follow cohort size guidelines provided by CDE, CDPH, and Santa Clara County Public Health and Education Office for both general and special education.
- Prevent interactions between cohorts, including interactions between staff assigned to different cohorts.
- Assign students who live together or carpool together to the same cohort, if possible.
- Avoid moving students from one cohort to another, unless needed for a child's overall safety and wellness.
- Keep cohorts separate from one another for special activities such as art, music, and exercise; stagger outside time and other activities so that no two cohorts are in the same place at the same time.
- Provide one-to-one specialized services to students by a support service provider that is not part of the child's cohort. Specialized service includes, but is not limited to, occupational therapy services, speech and language services, and other medical, behavioral services, or educational support services as part of a targeted intervention strategy.
- Provide services consistent with the industry guidance for limited services.
- Avoid changing staff assignments to the extent practicable.
- Allow substitute providers, covering for short‐term staff absences, who must work only with one cohort of children per day.
- Conduct meetings among the staff from different cohorts remotely, outdoors, or in a large room, wearing cloth face coverings, while maintaining physical distancing to the greatest extent possible from other providers.
- Promote outdoor meetings and meetings in large rooms with windows open, over meetings in small rooms with windows closed.
Ongoing Instructional Support
The PAUSD Instruction Plan strives to deliver equitable, accessible, high-quality education by laying the foundation through multiple options that incorporate online learning into the traditional learning model while respecting physical distancing guidelines. In an effort to create and support student engagement:
- Provide all students with devices and wifi access to ensure accessibility to the instruction.
- Provide teachers with training and professional development in pedagogy, as well as online and blended learning.
- Provide academic accommodations for students impacted by COVID-19.
- Provide targeted support (PAUSD+), as needed, for students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, English Learners, Foster/Homeless youth, and other vulnerable student groups.
- Establish procedures to re-engage students who are absent for more than 60 percent of instruction per week.
- Physical Distancing - When creating a cohort and planning a student event on campus, plan to limit the number of people in all campus spaces to the number that can be reasonably accommodated while maintaining distance between individuals As recommended by the CDC, create smaller student/ educator cohorts to minimize the mixing of student groups throughout the day. Minimize the movement of students, educators, and staff as much as possible.
- Determine student and staff capacity of each school, which to the greatest extent possible. Follow CDC recommendations to provide virtual activities instead of field trips and intergroup events.
- Determine maximum capacity for students of each classroom.
- Position teacher and staff desks at least six feet away from students.
- Face student desks in the same direction, and not facing each other, maximizing the space between each desk.
- Utilize other campus spaces for instructional activities (e.g., lecture halls, gyms, auditoriums, cafeterias, outdoors) as classrooms, as needed.
- Arrange developmentally appropriate activities for smaller group activities and rearrange furniture and play spaces to maintain separation, when possible.
- Maintain physical distancing objectives as students move between classrooms.
- Address potential issues from physical distancing rules that could result in unintended segregation of students with disabilities, away from peers without disabilities.
- Keep student belongings separate so that students do not come into contact with other students' belongings and elementary may use hooks for backpacks outside of the classrooms.
- Reduce the amount of furniture and equipment in the classroom to facilitate distancing and to reduce high touch surfaces.
- Place markings on classroom floors to facilitate physical distancing.
- Provide hand sanitizer to students and staff in office spaces and classrooms.
PPE Usage on Campus
- Adults must wear a face covering at all times while on campus, except while eating or drinking.
- Staff excluded from this requirement are those that require respiratory protection according to Cal/OSHA standards.
- Staff who are unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons shall not be assigned duties that require close contact with students.
- Students (transitional kindergarten through 12th grade) are required to wear face coverings including:
- While arriving and departing from the school campus;
- In any area inside and outside of the classroom (except when eating, drinking, or engaging in physical activity); and
- While waiting for or riding on a school bus.
- Adapt and follow county public health guidelines for grade-level specific masking wearing requirements.
- Students excluded from face covering requirements include anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the covering without assistance, and students with special needs who are unable to tolerate a face covering.
PPE Supplies on Campus
- Provide masks for staff and students in an amount sufficient to meet the site's needs.
- Provide face shields for technicians, educators, and paraprofessionals with fluid barrier fabric and hook and loop closure for secure coverage, if needed.
- Provide gloves in an amount sufficient to meet the site's needs including nitrile gloves.
- Provide smocks to wear over clothes for staff in an amount sufficient to meet the site's needs.
- Provide hand sanitizer in office spaces, applicable entry points, and in classrooms.
Facility Access Adjustments
- Limit access to campus for parents and other visitors.
- Evaluate whether and to what extent external community organizations can safely utilize the site and campus resources.
- Ensure external community organizations that use the facilities also follow the school's health and safety plans and CDPH guidance.
- Review facility use agreements and communicate common facility protocols for all users of the facility.
- Update facility use agreements to address unique circumstances during the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring that organizations that are using the same facility have agreed to the same understandings about how to reopen in a healthy and safe way.
- Remove or suspend use of share tables and self-service buffets for food and condiments.
- For providing off-site meals, offer grab-and-go student meals for consumption at home, including drive-through, delivery, or curbside pick-up options.
- Stagger and limit restroom usage to specific cohort use as much as practicable.
- Place physical distancing markings outside of restrooms to facilitate physical social distancing.
- Limit congregate activities in hallways as much as possible.
- Minimize the use of lockers to avoid unnecessary mixing and congregation of students in the hallway.
- Clean and disinfect playground structures at elementary sites daily.
- Physical distancing reminder signage has been placed at various locations throughout campus including bike cages.
- Staff must wear face covering, gloves, single-use aprons (or cloth aprons washed daily).
- Promote fresh, healthy meals that are individually boxed, using pre-portioned and pre-wrapped produce.
- Use disposable clamshells, and wrap cold items in plastic and hot food in foil.
- Reorganize work stations for proper physical distancing during meal preparation and meal service.
- Adjust employee shifts to minimize the number of staff in the kitchen.
- Limit physical interaction during meal preparation and meal service (e.g., serve meals in classrooms, increase meal service access points, stagger cafeteria use).
- Suspend the use of shared tables and self-service buffets for food and condiments.
- Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, at point of sale, and other areas where maintaining a physical distance is difficult.
- With an approved National School Lunch Program waiver, offer meal delivery for students quarantined or in a home-based cohort.
- Require students to sanitize hands upon entry and exit.
- Students will throw all food and utensils in the trash after eating.
- Sharing food is not permitted.
- Deliver meals to classrooms or serve meals outdoors, when possible.
- Sanitize the pin pad/keypad between uses, or have the lunch server enter the code for students.
- Physical distancing through increased spacing, small groups, and limited mixing between groups.
- Stagger meal times to allow for cleaning between meal services and to serve students in smaller groups.
- Maximize spacing between groups or tables by increasing table spacing, removing tables, marking tables as closed, or providing a physical barrier between tables.
- Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signage on walls, to minimize close contacts while waiting in lines and/or for seating.
- Physical activities should be limited to activities that do not involve physical contact with other students or equipment until advised otherwise by state/local public health officials.
- Activities will be held in separate areas designated by class and/or staggered throughout the day.
- Whenever possible, activities will be conducted outdoors with appropriate physical distancing within groups to the greatest extent practicable.
- Use of shared equipment will be limited in favor of physical activities that require less contact with surfaces and allow for greater physical distancing.
- Cloth face coverings must be worn during indoor physical conditioning and training or physical education classes. Activities that require heavy exertion should be conducted outside in a physically distanced manner without face coverings. Activities conducted inside will be those that do not require heavy exertion and can be done with a face covering. Students should take a break from exercise if any difficulty in breathing is noted and should change their face covering if it becomes wet and sticks to the student's face and obstructs breathing.
Youth sports and physical education are permitted only when the following can be maintained: 1) physical distancing to the greatest extent possible between participants; and 2) a stable cohort, such as a class, that limits the risks of transmission (see CDC Guidance on Schools and Cohorting). Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent practicable.
For sports that cannot be conducted with sufficient distancing or cohorting, only physical conditioning and training is permitted and ONLY where physical distancing can be maintained. Conditioning and training should focus on individual skill-building (e.g., running drills and body weight resistance training) and should take place outside, where practicable. Indoor physical conditioning and training is allowed only in counties where gyms and fitness centers are allowed to operate indoors.
As noted above, sports that cannot be played with sufficient distancing and cohorting are not permitted. In addition, outdoor and indoor sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating are not permitted at this time. For example, tournaments, events, or competitions, regardless of whether teams are from the same school or from different schools, counties, or states are not permitted at this time. This impacts all youth sports and activities, including school-based club and recreational youth sports. Adjustments will be made as the requirements and guidelines evolve.
Sport conditioning programs are permitted for individual or team training with minimal contacts. Conditioning and training should take place outside, where practicable, and focus on individual skill-building activities such as running drills and body weight resistance training.
Conditioning and training should take place outside, where practicable, and indoor sports activities should follow local guidance for gyms and fitness centers, including requirements for physical distancing, face coverings, and occupancy.
- Indoor physical conditioning is allowed only in counties where gyms and fitness centers are allowed to operate indoors.
- Consistent with guidance for gyms and fitness facilities, cloth face coverings must be worn during indoor physical conditioning and training or physical education classes (except when showering). Activities that require heavy exertion should be conducted outside in a physically distanced manner without face coverings. Activities conducted inside should be those that do not require heavy exertion and can be done with a face covering. Players should take a break from exercise if any difficulty in breathing is noted and should change their mask or face covering if it becomes wet and sticks to the player's face and obstructs breathing. Masks that restrict airflow under heavy exertion (such as N-95 masks) are not advised for exercise.