FALL 2020 PLANNING

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SCHOOL REOPENING UPDATE, NOVEMBER 20, 2020
 

Hello - I am writing today to provide a brief update on our reopening planning, especially in light of the current Covid surge and our County’s recent move back into the state’s more restrictive Purple tier.

Key Points:

*We currently have multiple small cohorts of students participating in in-person activities on our campuses (over 1000 students).
*We continue to plan for a potential expansion of in-person activities so we can all make an informed decision about the safety and feasibility of such an expansion.
*Our County’s move back to the Purple tier means that we can continue with the status quo but cannot reopen more broadly until our County has been in the Red tier for at least two weeks.
*We have seen a recent uptick in reported cases of Covid in our schools.
*Please contact the school (See appropriate contacts below) if your student tests positive for Covid or comes into direct contact with someone who has tested positive. If a student travels out of the county or attends a gathering with others outside of the immediate household, please get tested and self-quarantine before returning to any on-campus activities.
*Get a flu shot to prevent dual threats to community health.  

Full Message:

First an update on our reopening efforts to date. Since last June, we’ve had cohorts of students (no more than 12 students in a cohort) meeting regularly on our campuses for outdoor-only activities related to a variety of extracurricular activities such as athletics, music, dance, cheer, etc. We currently have close to 1000 students in the district participating in these voluntary extracurricular cohorts. In addition to these cohorts, beginning in October we initiated what we call instructional cohort pilots that provide opportunities for students and staff to engage in-person for instructional purposes in an indoor setting. These are small voluntary cohorts that focus on additional academic support, hands-on and lab activities, as well as direct course instruction. We currently have 15 of these instructional cohorts operating and we anticipate adding additional cohorts after the Thanksgiving Break. Both the instructional and extracurricular cohorts have allowed us to bring approximately 30% of our student body back to campus in a limited fashion which has provided academic support as well as addressing the desire for social interaction while simultaneously allowing us to implement, test, and refine our health and safety protocols in a lower risk environment. This approach is in line with our gradual and phased approach to school reopening.

We continue to actively engage in logistical planning for a more robust reopening in which all students would have the opportunity to return to campus on a part-time basis. We will share the details of what this would look like in practice for questions and feedback before we make a decision regarding if and when we implement a potential next phase. It’s important for families and staff to have a clear understanding of what such a reopening model would look like so that each individual staff member and each family can make an informed decision regarding whether they would actually return to school in such a model and a full understanding of what such a model will look like in practice will also inform our decision regarding if and when we may begin such a model.

The recent move back into the Purple tier does not have significant impacts on us as a school district. We are allowed and will continue to operate and expand our cohorts. The only real restriction we face with the move back to Purple is that we cannot move forward with the next phase in reopening (all students back on campus on a part-time basis) until our county has been in the Red tier for at least two weeks. While it’s impossible to predict when our county will move back into the Red tier, given anticipated increases in community spread of Covid due to holiday gatherings, it appears realistic that it may be later in January or into February before we move back into the red tier and this is a required condition before we can begin the next phase of our reopening. I realize that people desire a level of certainty regarding our reopening timeline, but certainty is a rare commodity in this environment given the constantly shifting conditions and evolving requirements within which we must operate. We will proceed with our reopening plans if and when it is legally allowable and we believe that we can do so safely. We will provide all staff and families at least two weeks of notice prior to moving forward with the next phase.

I also want to update you on the number of cases we have seen among our school community. Between March and November, we only had one confirmed case of Covid which came from a staff member - this took place during summer break so had no impact on school operations. In the last week, we’ve had five confirmed cases - three from staff and two from students. One of these staff members and one of these students were extracurricular cohort participants which necessitated the pausing of their cohorts for two weeks and required all members of these cohorts to self-isolate and be tested. It is highly likely that there have been other cases of Covid among our students and staff which have gone unreported which highlights the need for any Covid case to be reported to the school contact listed below -  even if the student or staff member has not been to campus. Having this information helps us to understand the level of spread among our school community which, in turn, helps to inform our reopening planning as well as allowing us to better protect the health and safety of everyone.

We strongly encourage any students who travel outside of our county or who attend gatherings involving people from outside of their immediate households during Thanksgiving or December breaks, to get tested for Covid before returning to participation in extracurricular or instructional cohorts in order to protect against an expected post-holiday surge. In line with CPHD recommendations, we also suggest that you and your student NOT return to campus until completing a 14-day quarantine period, recommended in the event of a COVID exposure. If your student misses any academic work, arrangements will be made to provide the needed support.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support as we move through these difficult circumstances and decisions. I hope you all enjoy a safe Thanksgiving with your families.

Mike Grove,
Superintendent

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COVID reporting:

Los Gatos High School:  Adam Minyard aminyard@lgsuhsd.org or 408-354-2730, x-310

Saratoga High School:  Brian Thompson bthompson@lgsuhsd.org or 408-867-3411, x-209

District Office:  Jane Marashian jmarashian@lgsuhsd.org or 408-354-5980 

                                    OR Brian Safine bsafine@lgsuhsd.org or 408 402-6309


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Current Fall 2020 Bell schedule (pdf linked here).  

Monday/Thursday


 Odd Day  

Wednesday


Advisory Day - Parent Video

Tuesday/Friday


   Even Day

1st PERIOD (75)                       

Period begins   8:30

Period ends      9:45


Break (20)


3rd PERIOD (75)

Period begins  10:05            

Period ends     11:20 


Break (20)


5th PERIOD (75)

Period begins  11:40   

Period ends     12:55  


Lunch (35)


7th PERIOD (75)

Period begins   1:30

Period ends      2:45

STUDENTS & TEACHERS

Advisory Period (30)    9:00-9:30 a.m.

Attendance required

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STUDENTS  

Students will work asynchronously on at least four hours of assigned coursework. The class schedule listed here is intended to provide a suggested structure for students and families.

1st PERIOD (35)    9:30-10:05

2nd PERIOD (35)   10:10-10:45

3rd PERIOD (35)    10:50-11:25

Break (10) 

4th PERIOD (35)  11:35-12:10

5th PERIOD (35)   12:15-12:50

Lunch (35)

6th PERIOD (35)  1:25-2:00

7th PERIOD (35)    2:05 -2:40

__________________________________

TEACHERS  9:45-3:45 

Teachers will engage in department or course-alike meetings, hold office hours for student support, participate in professional development, create instructional plans, etc.


2nd PERIOD (75)                        

Period begins   8:30

Period ends      9:45

Break (20)

4th PERIOD (75)

Period begins 10:05            

Period ends     11:20 

Break (20)

6th PERIOD (75)

Period begins  11:40   

Period ends     12:55  

Lunch (35)

STUDENTS Asynchronous (75) 1:30-2:45

TEACHERS Office Hours 1:30-2:45

Key Features & Expectations during Distance Learning:

  • Attendance: Student attendance is mandatory in each class meeting including the Wednesday morning Advisory period. Attendance will be taken each period and parents will be notified if students miss classes just as they would in a normal school setting. We have yet to receive guidance from the state regarding whether parents will be required to “excuse” absences as they normally would - we will update you once we receive such guidance.
  • Office Hours: All teachers will have regular Office Hours during which students can access support from teachers. This time is intended to support students in a manner similar to how a teacher would support students as they work independently during an in-person class or during a Tutorial time.
  • Advisory: The advisory period will provide an opportunity for schoolwide activities and information-sharing similar to the Tutorial period in the regular school schedule.
  • Instruction: Each class meeting will include teacher-led live instruction which will be paired with independent asynchronous learning activities. This does not mean that teachers will be talking or lecturing throughout the live instruction. Rather, teachers will lead students in a wide variety of activities during each class period (i.e., discussion, collaborative group work, simulations, formative & summative assessment, etc.).
  • Grades: All students will receive A-F letter grades for all courses.
  • Canvas: All teachers will utilize the Canvas learning management system to assign and manage student assignments and for communication with students. We have developed Canvas norms to provide more consistency from course to course.
  • IEP’s: If your student has an Individualized Education Plan, prior to the start of the school year your case student’s case manager will provide you with a document outlining how we will implement your student’s IEP during distance learning.
  • School Year Calendar: Our daily bell schedule will look different during this time but our school year calendar will remain the same. The calendar can be found via this link.
  • First Days of School: The first two days of school (August 13 & 14) will focus on orienting our students to distance learning and other schoolwide activities to support student success and connection. Course-specific academic instruction will begin on Monday, August 17th.
  • Athletics: The CIF’s Central Coast Section, of which we are a member, previously announced that all Fall sports would be postponed until the Winter season so there will be no sports during the Fall this year. Decisions regarding Fall and Winter sports will be made based upon the community health conditions and regulations at that time.
  • Other Extra-curricular Activities: Current guidelines do not allow us to have students on-campus to participate in extra-curricular or club activities in-person. When possible, extra-curricular and club activities will continue online and when guidelines allow and it is safe to do, we will resume in-person activities.

Technology & Internet Access:

In order to appropriately access online instruction, each student will need access to a computer or tablet (not just a cell phone) and internet access. If your student does not have access to one or both of these elements, please contact our IT department at techsupport@lgsuhsd.org as soon as possible and we will assist you.

Pre-School Business:

Each of our schools will send a separate message to students and families regarding their plan to take care of the usual back to school business (check out of instructional materials, etc.) and their plans for a modified freshman orientation.

If we’ve learned one thing since March, it is that we need to develop plans, but we also need to anticipate that public health conditions and resulting guidelines will continue to change so some of our current plans can rapidly become obsolete or require adaptation. Once we have resumed classes, we will continue to seek feedback from students, staff, and families on the successes and areas for growth in our distance learning program. As always, our goal is continuous improvement. Our unexpected spring experiment with distance learning taught us much and we have incorporated these learnings into our program for this fall. Despite this, we still have much to learn and will seek to adapt and evolve as we gain more experience and feedback. Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and our schools.
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