February 19, 2021 FLASH TOPICS We continue to expand our small group in-person offerings. We are hiring more pod leaders to work in person with small groups of students. There are both certificated (substitute teacher) and classified (instructional aide) positions available, all grade levels and most school sites. The district added a COVID-19 Dashboard and site specific data to the website. If you have questions about our meal program, please contact the Meal Helpline at 805-549-1270. Do you need help paying for food, shelter, clothing, bills, utilities, internet, or phone services? Email the Family Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-458-5499. SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent On Tuesday, February 16th, the Board of Education adopted Resolution No. 18-20-21 approving the phased-in reopening of our schools in San Luis Coastal. I want to honor and acknowledge those who participated during Tuesday’s meeting. Your voices were heard. There were nearly 100 public comments shared during the five-plus hour Board meeting - representing both sides of the decision and over 2,300 attendees throughout the meeting. I applaud our School Board for making a brave and necessary decision on behalf of our 7,500 students. As our nation begins to reopen its schools after a year in distance learning, I look forward to bringing back a sense of normalcy, balance, and hope to the lives of our students, families, and staff. We are actively preparing for the transition to in-person learning and know there are many questions that need to be answered. This communication will provide critical information regarding childcare services, academic schedules for elementary and secondary schools, and school safety measures. Keep a watch out for additional details in the coming weeks. My commitment to communicating with you on a regular basis will continue. Before signing off, I wanted to share a wonderful and uplifting video created by our talented CL Smith staff. Their enthusiasm and excitement is contagious. I, too, look forward to seeing our students back in the classroom. Stay safe and healthy, Eric BUSINESS SERVICES Ryan Pinkerton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Classroom Preparation We continue to work with our school sites to set up classrooms and campuses in preparation for in person instruction. Spacing out desks and teacher areas and providing a cleaning and food service schedule, as well as determining daily logistics, continues to be our focus. Sites will be sharing this information with parents as we move closer to the Board-approved dates for opening our schools. Our HVAC systems have all been checked and we will work with staff to increase air flow (opening doors and windows and using outside spaces) where appropriate. Wearing a jacket or sweatshirt to school each day is going to be a good idea. The CDC has changed its guidance dramatically in regards to surface spread concerns. In fact, it is pretty much a 180° change from the fall. They are now saying the most important thing to do is have students wash their hands and that using disinfectant throughout the day is actually potentially harmful, especially to those students with respiratory concerns. We have adjusted our cleaning schedules accordingly. Distancing, wearing masks, hand washing, and well-functioning HVAC systems are the key areas that they want us to focus on. Child Care and Transportation The City of Morro Bay , City of San Luis Obispo , and the YMCA are currently accepting applications for child care at our elementary sites. We realize the AM/PM model is difficult for parents and are working with these agencies to provide as many slots as possible. Since space is limited, please sign up now. Each of our school sites are prioritizing facilities for these child care providers. Unfortunately, they are still under very strict regulations (such as only 14 students per cohort). The district is continuing the 50% subsidy through the remainder of the school year. Transportation is still extremely limited. With the regulations in place, we will have very few spaces available and parents will need to plan accordingly. The child care sites are open prior to school and after school to hopefully assist working parents. EDUCATIONAL SERVICES Kim McGrath, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Important In-Person Reopening Dates With the approval of the Superintendent’s recommendation to align reopening schools with the current California Department of Public Health guidelines, school sites are preparing to reopen schools. If you selected distance learning for the remainder of the year, you will receive communication from your child’s teacher. Families who chose to have their child return to in-person instruction will need to keep the following dates in mind. Elementary: Pre-K and TK are already in person. They will continue and change the virtual day from Wednesday to Friday. K-2 will start in person on Thursday, March 4th. Grades 3-6 (3-5 on the coast) will start in person on Monday, March 8th. Families will be notified of AM/PM cohorts by early next week. Fridays, starting March 12, will be a virtual day for all students. Secondary: Grades 7-12th (6-12 on the coast) will start when the county has been in the Red Tier for five days. We will notify parents as soon as we have a firm date to start in-person instruction. We should know March 2 whether we can begin on March 15. In-person students will attend in the morning and distance learning students will attend virtually in the afternoon. No alphabetic split. Fridays will be a virtual day for all students. All students should attend each period virtually on Fridays. Schedules Families should plan on in-person learning Monday through Thursday and Friday serving as a virtual day for all students, except special education students. Special education students should follow the schedule of their teacher and will be in-person M-F. The following schedules are suggested schedules for teachers and sites. There may be some small differences with your child’s schedule. Elementary Secondary B2 Schedule Elementary Report Cards/Parent Teacher Conferences In order to prepare for the transition to in-person learning we will do the following for report cards/conferences, schedules, and timelines for elementary schools. The Virtual Learning Program (VLP) will continue with their regular schedule. Report Cards: Elementary report cards will not be completed for Trimester 2. Conferences: Will be held 3/29-3/31 (3 Min. days) with students below grade level on student progress/goals. Parents may request a conference. All conferences will be completed virtually. Minimum Days: Five minimum days will take place- 3/29-3/31 for conferences; 4/1 with afternoon for teacher prep; 6/9 (Last day of school). March 2021 Monday 3/1 Tuesday 3/2 Wed. 3/3 Thurs. 3/4 Fri. 3/5 Minimum Day 9:00-9:45 Synchronous instruction. 10:00-12:30 Training/Protocols Staff/Grade level mtgs. 1:00-3:25 Teacher prep. Minimum Day 9:00-9:45 Synchronous instruction. 10:00-12:30 Reopening preparation 1:00-3:25 Teacher prep. Transition Day K-2 9:00-9:30 Synchronous instruction. 3-6 Regular Distance Learning Day K-2 AM/PM in-person 3-6 Regular Distance Learning Day K-2 AM/PM in-person 3-6 Transition Day 9:00-9:30 Synchronous instruction. Monday 3/8 Tue. 3/9 Wed. 3/10 Thurs. 3/11 Fri. 3/12- Virtual PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person Virtual Day- See Schedule Below Monday 3/15 Tues. 3/16 Wed. 3/17 Thurs. 3/18 Fri. 3/19- Virtual PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person Virtual Day- See Schedule Below Monday 3/22 Tues. 3/23 Wed. 3/24 Thurs. 3/25 Fri. 3/26- Virtual PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person PK-6 AM/PM In-Person Virtual Day- See Schedule Below Monday 3/29 Tue. 3/30 Wed. 3/31 Thurs. 4/1 Fri. 4/2 Virtual Week Spring Break Minimum Day- 9:00-9:45 Synchronous instruction. Total Minutes for Students: K- 180 Minutes 1-3- 230 Minutes 4-6- 240 Minutes Parent teacher conferences Begin 10:00 AM Minimum Day- 9:00-9:45 Synchronous instruction. Total Minutes for Students: K- 180 Minutes 1-3- 230 Minutes 4-6- 240 Minutes Parent teacher conferences Begin 10:00 AM Minimum Day- 9:00-9:45 SyncSynchronous instruction. Total Minutes for Students: K- 180 Minutes 1-3- 230 Minutes 4-6- 240 Minutes Parent teacher conferences Begin 10:00 AM Minimum Day- 9:00-12:00 SyncSynchronous instruction. Total Minutes for Students: K- 180 Minutes 1-3- 230 Minutes 4-6- 240 Minutes 1:00 Teacher prep in PM Health Screening Health Screenings are a key safety protocol for in-person learning. SLCUSD will be transitioning to the use of ParentSquare for the Daily Health Screening form of all staff and students PK-12. The Daily Health Screening will be available on the ParentSquare app and will appear daily at 7:00 am for each school day starting Monday, February 22nd. Participation in the screening will support our schools in the efforts of safety for the prevention of COVID-19 and our goal of reopening. All students and staff members should conduct a daily health screening. Only come to work or school when you are symptom-free. Thank you for your partnership. We are all in this together, and we will be able to maximize our inperson opportunities if we can eliminate exposure to illness on our campuses. Vaccination Status San Luis Coastal Unified School District is excited to work with the Public Health Department in the roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations for our staff. Over the past couple of weeks, our Medically Intensive Special Educators - considered healthcare workers in Category 1A - were offered vaccines. This morning, Governor Newsom announced that State officials will set aside 10% of California’s weekly allotment of vaccines for educators starting next month. Updates on Mitigation Strategies There are seven key mitigation strategies to keep in mind: masks, distancing, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, cleaning, ventilation, contact tracing with quarantine and isolation. These mitigation strategies help us all to stay safe and healthy, and to keep students in class as long as possible. Keep these seven strategies in mind. They guide our decision making as we bring more students on campus. As you know, the more the health industry understands about the virus, the more specific our knowledge and steps become. Here are the latest key safety updates: Asymptomatic testing is still in place for in-person staff Vaccinations are one mitigation strategy but not needed for opening. The school district has to follow public health’s lead, and we will continue to communicate with public health. There is less focus on disinfection from public health due to understanding the virus further. Disinfection is needed after a positive COVID case. Cleaning with soap and water is effective. Outdoor playgrounds/natural play areas need routine maintenance of cleaning and an emphasis needs to be on cleaning hands Adults on campus need to be greatly reduced as adult to adult transmission poses a threat. While we value parent volunteers, at this time this is not an option available to us. Masks should be worn by everyone, except for some very specific exemptions. Please plan for your student to have a comfortable mask that can be worn throughout the day. The school will supply a mask if needed. Schools must exclude students from campus if they are not exempt from wearing a face covering and refuse to wear one provided by the school. Keep in Mind... We have all missed you and are so excited to see the students! We are all in this together. The better we follow mitigation strategies, the longer we’ll be able to remain in person. We have to limit the number of adults on campus. Follow your principal’s directions, but keep in mind that we’ll need to continue with virtual interactions between adults. Be prepared to switch into virtual learning if there is COVID exposure. You need a family plan in place. You will likely have very little notice. Be prepared to send school tech devices back and forth for 3rd-12th graders. Fridays will be a virtual learning day. You will still need to have your student log on and participate fully. Everyone can eat school lunches for free, and it actually helps the school district for students to get a meal. You will only need to sign up one time. Utilizing school lunches is a win-win situation. Special Education As both elementary and secondary sites plan for the return of students, your special education teachers and staff are planning for the same. Students who have participated in our Phase I and Phase II in-person instruction since Fall, 2020, will be contacted by their child’s IEP manager regarding any changes to the students’ schedule, transportation, or other details. The Phase I and II in person instruction that began in September and October of 2020 shows the District’s commitment to our most vulnerable students. Any changes in schedules will be made with the best interest of the students in mind. For all of our families with students with IEPs, please be aware of ParentSquare communication regarding scheduling and services as we move toward reopening.
February 12, 2021 FLASH TOPICS The California's Safe Schools for All Plan is available with information for school staff and parents. The district has a COVID-19 Dashboard and site specific data to the website. If you have questions about our meal program, please contact the Meal Helpline at 805-549-1270. Do you need help paying for food, shelter, clothing, bills, utilities, internet, or phone services? Email the Family Resource Center at email@example.com or call 805-458-5499. MBHS Chamber Choir Singing Sweeties: The Way You Look Tonight MBHS Chamber Choir Singing Sweeties: Come Go With Me ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS Revised CDPH Guidelines CPP Safety Plan Reopening Resolution from November 2020 SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent On March 16, 2020, San Luis Coastal transitioned to Distance Learning as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Every week since, we have endeavored to reopen our schools following national and state public health guidelines. We embraced a conservative approach in order to put the health and safety of our students, employees, and community first. Over the last year, when additional research into the spread of COVID-19 has informed the science community, we pivoted accordingly. As you know, San Luis Coastal has developed rigorous safety measures and protocols for a safe return to school. On November 17, 2020, the Board of Education adopted Resolution No. 10-20-21 approving the reopening plan reflecting the best available public health safety guidelines and metrics at that time. This reopening plan set a date of January 21, 2021, provided SLO County was in the Red Tier + 21 days. Unfortunately, we started the new year deep in the Purple Tier and were unable to meet this reopening criteria. Over the past month, our community spread of COVID has decreased at a rapid rate. SLO County Public Health expects a return to the Red Tier as early as next week. In addition, on January 14, the Center for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health released revised safety guidelines. These guidelines are based on the latest scientific findings related to COVID-19 spread in elementary schools and has resulted in a misalignment with our November reopening plan. We must continue to follow science. At the Tuesday, February 16 Board Meeting, I will recommend to the Board of Education that we align our district’s reopening plan to the current CDPH and CDC guidelines. If approved, we will begin the transition back to in-person learning. There are specific criteria that remain to be implemented; however, the major work has been completed and we feel confident in our plan. With Board approval and the maintenance of key metrics, the following timeline for reopening will occur: Reopening Timeline March 3: Transition day for staff planning - grades K-2; students will receive virtual instruction March 4: Kindergarten - 2nd grades will begin in-person learning in a hybrid am/pm model March 5: Transition day for staff planning - grades 3-6 (excluding LOMS 6th grade); students will receive virtual instruction March 8: Grades 3-6 will begin in person learning in a hybrid am/pm model (excluding LOMS 6th grade) March 12: Transition day for staff planning - grades 7-12 (including LOMS 6th grade) March 15: Grades 7-12 will begin in-person learning in the hybrid model (including LOMS 6th grade) if CDPH Red Tier Guidance of <7/100,000 case rate + five days is met March 29: Elementary Parent Conference Week - Minimum Day Schedule As a reminder, the Declaration Form information from November 2020 will be used to determine student enrollment for in-person and virtual learning programs. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s site administrator. More detailed information will be forthcoming from your child’s school about schedules, safety protocols, and expectations. We are focused on a successful transition back to in-person learning; however, our work is not done. In the coming weeks and months, we will actively engage our stakeholders to envision a robust summer school program, extended learning opportunities, and innovative ways to use the lessons learned this year as we plan for the future. Stay safe and healthy, Eric
February 5, 2021 FLASH TOPICS The District is hiring pod leaders to work in person with small groups of students. There are both certificated (substitute teacher) and classified (instructional aide) positions available, all grade levels and most school sites. The California's Safe Schools for All Plan is now available with information for school staff and parents. The district added a COVID-19 Dashboard and site specific data to the website. San Luis Coastal Unified School District has a website dedicated to COVID-19 information and resources. This quick resource is available to help with unexpected (or expected) questions. If you have questions about our meal program, please contact the Meal Helpline at 805-549-1270. Do you need help paying for food, shelter, clothing, bills, utilities, internet, or phone services? Email the Family Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-458-5499. ESSENTIAL READINGS Ed Source: California schools consider extending school year while mental health remains a concern EdWeek: Anthony Fauci - ‘Get teachers vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can’ EdWeek: Has the public turned on teachers? EdSource: Dispute widens between Gov. Newsom, school employee unions over reopening on campuses Chicago Sun Times: Teachers don’t have to be vaccinated for schools to reopen safely, CDC director says SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent We’re in a long, dark tunnel at the moment, but there is cause for optimism. Given the current COVID-19 infection trends, revised CDPH and CDC safety guidelines for elementary schools, and our existing hybrid model for reopening, I believe we will be able to get our kids back on campus in the near future. There are intense and urgent debates between Governor Newsom, labor groups, California Department of Education, California Department of Public Health, and State legislators regarding school reopening expectations and requirements. Given the fluid nature of this situation, I continue to ask for your patience as we navigate a constantly changing landscape. I would like to invite you to attend the February 16, 2021 Board meeting as we discuss our school reopening plans and the revised January 14, 2021 CDC and CDPH safety guidelines. When we emerge, our challenge will be to not proceed exactly as before, but to reflect deeply on what we have experienced, and take some critical steps to improve public education and society for the better. Extra student support will be needed. After nearly a year at home, students will have lost the essential experience of direct teacher support in person. Many are experiencing poverty and high-levels of stress. They may have seen family members become ill, or worse. Many have had little chance to play or get outside in any meaningful way. Our youth will have spent countless hours looking at smartphones or playing video games without engaging friends or adults on a daily basis. Many children have lost the habits that schools teach them - sitting in a circle, waiting your turn, knowing how to listen and cooperate. Post traumatic stress will be a factor. The last year has demonstrated a clear difference in those who have strong internet connection versus those without. We should work with local municipalities and business partners to ensure this isn’t a barrier for our families. We will need to provide extra support, time, and resources to address learning loss and the widening gap that currently exists between our economically diverse student populations. Parents are essential partners. I admire and applaud the tremendous sacrifice made by our parents/guardians over the past year. Without your support at home, we would not have been successful in a distance learning model. As we transition back to in-person school, your participation and involvement in your child’s education will be essential whether it’s as a volunteer on school site council, participating in PTA or booster organizations, contributing to the San Luis Coastal Education Foundation, or encouraging your child to get involved in clubs and extracurricular activities. These efforts by parents are the glue that holds our public schools together. There must be a focus on well-being for students and staff. Well-being will no longer fall to the bottom of the priority list. It’s now clear that without teacher care and support it’s hard for many young people to stay well and focused. Being well isn’t an alternative to being successful. It’s an essential precondition for achievement, especially among our most vulnerable children. Our teachers, too, must not be lost in this conversation about wellness. They must be well in order to care for our kids. This must be a priority. We need to show gratitude for those in public education. There is a troubling narrative emerging that public educators are somehow failing our students during Covid. This rhetoric is unacceptable and needs to be called out for what it is: destructive. Teachers are among the unsung heroes of COVID-19: preparing resources and designing lessons for remote learning, dropping off school supplies in boxes, connecting with kids and their families to make sure they’re okay - even while many have kids of their own at home. Let’s not forget that our teachers have radically pivoted to teaching in an entirely new virtual paradigm. Let’s also remember to celebrate all of the people working tirelessly on behalf of the San Luis Coastal community, often invisible but essential nonetheless. They should never be taken for granted. Vocational skills and training are vital. We are proud of our Career Technical Education pathways in San Luis Coastal. Now, more than ever before, we need to support this particular form of education as our economy has shifted since COVID-19. When the regular economy starts up again, essential workers in the fields of home care, social services, hospitality, technology, construction, electrical and manufacturing, agriculture, retail and service industries, health care, emergency services, and education will become much needed professions. We have learned many lessons during the pandemic. One of which is that technology has supplemented teaching and teachers; not replaced them. We certainly need better digital resources, but anyone who thought that online learning could replace teachers is now aware of the folly behind this idea. We recognize that innovation, technology, and teachers hold the potential for transformative learning. We need to exist and have competencies within both domains: virtual and in person. This is the future. Stay safe and healthy, Eric EDUCATIONAL SERVICES Kim McGrath, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Athletics Update We are excited to announce that athletics have been cleared for purple tier sports to compete. We are required to follow spacing requirements on school buses and vans, therefore, we will have very limited transportation opportunities. We are going to need parents to assist with transporting athletes. Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to have spectators either on or off our campuses during competitions. Thank you to the administration, athletic directors, coaches, parents, and students for helping this transition go smoothly. SLOHS Drama Putting on Show San Luis Obispo High School Drama Club presents "The Party Hop" - Live Streaming February 11, 12, & 13 at 7 PM via Zoom! Tickets are FREE, but donations to the theatre program would be gladly accepted. This unique virtual play by Natalie Margolin poses the question: what will social life look like if quarantine continues indefinitely? Come along for a bubbly, entertaining show full of those awkward Zoom moments we know and love, as a college student seeks romance in what is now an entirely digital world, accompanied by her best friends. Visit www.slohsdrama.com for more information! iINNOVATE TOSA Update The iINNOVATE team continues to be busy with lab set-up and lesson development, challenge boxes, Zoom meetings with industry connections, and collaboration with Creeklands.org. This sheet details what they’ve been working on. Pod Leaders Wanted - We Are Still Hiring! Are you interested in working with a small group of students in person? If you aren’t, do you know someone that might be? San Luis Coastal is hiring additional instructional aides and teacher substitutes to work in person to supervise a small group of students in-person. Training in student engagement techniques and technology platforms will be provided. At this time, all grade levels and sites are available as well as full or part time positions. Here are the two job postings: Learning Pod Leader: Instructional Aide Learning Pod Leader: Teacher Substitute
January 29, 2021 FLASH TOPICS We continue to expand our small group in-person offerings. We are hiring more pod leaders to work in person with small groups of students. Are you interested or do you know someone that might be? There are both certificated (substitute teacher) and classified (instructional aide) positions available, all grade levels and most school sites. The California's Safe Schools for All Plan is now available with information for school staff and parents. The district added a COVID-19 Dashboard and site specific data to the website. San Luis Coastal Unified School District has a website dedicated to COVID-19 information and resources. This quick resource is available to help with unexpected (or expected) questions. If you have questions about our meal program, please contact the Meal Helpline at 805-549-1270. Do you need help paying for food, shelter, clothing, bills, utilities, internet, or phone services? Email the Family Resource Center at email@example.com or call 805-458-5499. ESSENTIAL READINGS Wall Street Journal: New playbook for COVID-19 protection emerges after a year of study missteps EdSource: California teachers could get Covid-19 vaccinations starting in February EdSource: With Governor Newson’s back-to-school plan all but doomed what it might take to salvage it Washington Post: Partly hidden by isolation, many of the nation’s schoolchildren struggle with mental health LA Times: Kids are hurting. Reopen California schools as soon as COVID rates drop EdWeek: Reopening schools in 100 days - How staff shortages could hobble Biden’s plan NYT: The CDC says schools are safe NYT: A School District vowed to stay open, until its staffing ran out LA Times: Los Angeles area schools could reach the threshold for reopening in 2-3 weeks EdSource: What happens to children who missed kindergarten during the Covid-19 crisis EdWeek: We are pediatricians, here’s how to open schools safely EdWeek: In district filled with CDC and other experts, no consensus on school reopening NYT: The teacher death toll SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent “The finding offered this week by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that schools have not been hotbeds of rapid on-campus transmission of COVID-19 or even of significant student-to-staff infection grabbed headlines and raised hope that we can get children back in class soon—a goal we as pediatricians share. While the poet Gertrude Stein famously wrote, “a rose is a rose is a rose,” we need to be clear as a nation that when it comes to reopening schools safely that safe is not safe is not safe.” - Drs. Danny Benjamin and Kanecia Zimmerman, EdWeek San Luis Coastal wants to fully reopen its schools in-person when it is safe to do so. We recognize that many students are struggling with distance learning and would benefit tremendously from daily interactions with their teachers and much-needed social interactions with their peers. While countywide infection rates have been falling in recent days, we continue to have high-levels of transmission of COVID-19 in our community and this remains a significant barrier to our reopening. Recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines and metrics for reopening schools. In short, they are now stating that districts can safely reopen elementary schools with up to a 25 per 100,000 case rate of community spread. As of Friday, January 22, 2021, San Luis Obispo County had an adjusted case rate of 46 per 100,000. One week later, the adjusted case rate dropped to 23 per 100,000. This new adjusted rate technically allows, under certain conditions, for us to reopen our elementary schools but not our secondary schools. Meanwhile, State legislators are working on AB10 which would mandate the reopening of all schools once a county enters the Red Tier +10 days. During the November 17, 2020 Board meeting, a reopening plan was approved indicating that once we entered the Red Tier + 21 days, we would reopen our schools. The current Red Tier requires no more than 7 cases per 100,000 (adjusted rate) with a positivity rate of less than 8%. If we continue on the current trajectory, we could see our county in the Red Tier as early as mid-February. In a recent EdSource article on vaccinations, Governor Newsom placed educators in the Tier 1B category which could mean our employees would have access to vaccines as early as February. We expect a successful vaccination program in the coming weeks and months offered to all of our employees which is the fastest and safest route to a full reopening of our schools. This is really good news. I believe all teachers, support staff, and site administrators deserve access to vaccinations. In a letter sent to the Governor’s Office this week, all SLO County superintendents requested and reaffirmed that priority should be given to the vaccinations of educators in order to safely and confidently reopen our schools as soon as possible. To me, this is the right thing to do. Like many of you, I often feel tired, frustrated, and worried that we will never get out of this perpetual COVID cycle. The shifting currents of information and recommendations from various sources are often contradictory, confusing, and inconsistent. The revised metrics related to safety quite frankly give me pause. I believe we have a thoughtful, vetted, and safe plan to reopen our schools and I remain hopeful to see our students back in the classrooms this school year. As a former middle school teacher and parent of a high school senior and seventh grader, I know how critically important it is to have our children safely return to their classrooms, and I will continue to do everything I can to make this happen. Stay safe and healthy, Eric EDUCATIONAL SERVICES Kim McGrath, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services In-Person Instruction As you know, our school district plans to be back to full, in-person instruction when our County is in the Red Tier for 21 days. Since September, we have been bringing back students for in-person instruction as well as some extra curricular activities. All Pre-K and TK (Transitional Kindergarten) students are in person. We applaud the parents, students, teachers, administrators, and staff who have worked so hard to follow all safety procedures in order to provide this opportunity. We continue to bring back small cohorts of students, following the public health guidelines. These students are primarily identified as special needs or at-risk populations. We currently have over 1000 students who attend in-person during the school day, and over 650 students who attend before and after school for athletics and extracurricular activities. Pod Leaders Wanted - We Are Still Hiring! Are you interested in working with a small group of students in person? If you aren’t, do you know someone that might be? San Luis Coastal is hiring additional instructional aides and teacher substitutes to work in person to supervise a small group of students in-person. Training in student engagement techniques and technology platforms will be provided. At this time, all grade levels and sites are available as well as full or part time positions. Here are the two job postings: Learning Pod Leader: Instructional Aide Learning Pod Leader: Teacher Substitute Vaccine Discussion Dignity Health is collaborating with Herencia Indigena to provide a vaccine discussion with Dr. Lopez. Registration is required, see attached flyer for details. If you cannot attend, the webinar is being recorded. If you have any questions please contact: Patty Herrera, MA Manager of Community Health for Dignity Health at 805-542-6268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 15, 2021 FLASH TOPICS The California's Safe Schools for All Plan is now available with information for school staff and parents. The district added a COVID-19 Dashboard and site specific data to the website. San Luis Coastal Unified School District has a website dedicated to COVID-19 information and resources. This quick resource is available to help with unexpected (or expected) questions. If you have questions about our meal program, please contact the Meal Helpline at 805-549-1270. Do you need help paying for food, shelter, clothing, bills, utilities, internet, or phone services? Email the Family Resource Center at email@example.com or call 805-458-5499. ESSENTIAL READINGS NYT: Underselling the Vaccine CalMatters: COVID-19 cases, new syndrome on the rise among children Video: Wilshire Talks COVID-19 Vaccine with Dr. Parzych CalPoly: Partnerships brings CalPoly Products to Schools SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent America’s grit has been tested over the last year. Fractured, divisive politics coupled with a global pandemic has shown us no mercy. National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman reminded me of the quiet strength and simple beauty that exists within our nation’s people when she said, “Where can we find light in this never-ending shade? Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.” And closed with, “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.” These words, aligned with a new President that echoed sentiments of healing, came at a perfect time. President Biden recalled America’s past challenges and said, “[i]n each of these moments, enough of us came together to carry all of us forward.” He challenged us by asking, “Are we going to step up? Will we master this rare and difficult hour?” San Luis Coastal is ready for these challenges. I see teachers, principals, support staff, and parents/grandparents doing their part each and every day. In my mind, they are heroes in our midst. I see decency and actions of love and a spirit of healing in our community. We will come together and carry forward. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel. To infer meaning to Amanda Gorman’s beautiful and wise words, we are the light. Vaccinations are the key to our reopening success. We are working closely with SLO County Public Health officials to schedule all of our employees in the coming weeks and months. Educators will receive vaccinations following the cohort of 65+ year old individuals in our community. In order to reduce the levels of community transmission of COVID-19, we must continue to do our part by practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and washing our hands regularly. The vaccinations will play an essential role in allowing us to reopen our schools. There are concerns by some about the safety of these vaccinations. I’ve included a helpful video prepared by San Luis Coastal parent, Citizens Bond Oversight Committee member, and Wilshire Hospice’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kevin Parzych, who does an excellent job of describing the vaccine. If you have a moment, I would encourage you to watch it. Stay safe and healthy. Eric BUSINESS SERVICES Ryan Pinkerton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Measure D Projects Moving Forward At Morro Bay High School, the Band rooms and the Ag Mechanics rooms in Building D are finished, along with the landscaping. Two major projects are on track to finish by fall of 2021: Building B is being completely modernized (providing outstanding educational spaces) and the quad is being demo’d while students are off campus. We are also preparing to put new landscaping in front of the Science Wing. There are two additional projects to complete. Building C is a classroom building and construction will begin when Building B is completed. The other project is Building A, which contains a kitchen, multipurpose room, theater, and choir room. The demolition of this building will commence shortly, with construction beginning in the fall. We will work with the site to ensure students are able to move throughout the campus if and when we return this school year. At San Luis Obispo High School, the new gym, pool, Student Services Building, and landscaping are completed. We are finishing the new softball fields and put down sod throughout the practice field. Check out this fantastic video of the crews sodding the fields! The entire bottom portion of the site is done. The wood shop, computer rooms, and new restrooms are complete in the 300 Wing and construction continues in the welding and architecture classrooms. Construction on the Agriculture Wing will begin once those rooms are complete. The southern end of the 100 Building (Science Wing ) is moving along and work has started on the middle section of the 100 Building which will have a new kitchen, multipurpose room, and restrooms on the first floor and three new digital media labs and a media/library center on the second floor. The entire building will mirror the look of the Math Wing, Student Services Building, and old gym. When the southern end is completed, work will begin in the northern classroom wing, quad area between the 100 Wing/300 Wing, and auto shop. Next month, the track project will go out to bid. The last two projects at the site will be modernization of the 500 Wing and Choir/Music Building, along with the main quad area. The Citizen's Bond Oversight Committee continues to meet quarterly to review all Measure D expenditures. We worked diligently to increase our available funds to complete these projects and are currently in receipt of approximately $11 million in state matching funds which have helped ensure we complete all of the projects at Morro Bay High and San Luis Obispo High, as well as projects throughout the district. EDUCATIONAL SERVICES Kim McGrath, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Monarch Grove Elementary named to the 2019-2020 Honor Roll Congratulations to Monarch Grove Elementary School for being named to the 2019-2020 Honor Roll through Educational Results Partnership! Monarch Grove is being recognized as a leader in student achievement. The 2019-2020 Honor Roll recognizes public elementary, middle and high schools that demonstrate high levels of student achievement, improvement over time, and reduction in gaps. Pod Leaders Wanted San Luis Coastal is hiring instructional aides and teacher substitutes to work in person to supervise a small group of students as they participate in distance learning. Training in student engagement techniques and technology platforms will be provided. At this time, all grade levels and sites are available as well as full or part time positions. Here are the two job postings: Learning Pod Leader: Instructional Aide Learning Pod Leader: Teacher Substitute
January 15, 2021 FLASH TOPICS The California's Safe Schools for All Plan is now available with information for school staff and parents. The district added a COVID-19 Dashboard and site specific data to the website. The Board of Trustees will hold their regularly scheduled meeting on January 19, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. San Luis Coastal Unified School District has a website dedicated to COVID-19 information and resources. This quick resource is available to help with unexpected (or expected) questions. If you have questions about our meal program, please contact the Meal Helpline at 805-549-1270. Do you need help paying for food, shelter, clothing, bills, utilities, internet, or phone services? Email the Family Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-458-5499. **New Section** ESSENTIAL READINGS EdWeek: We Love Virtual Learning: Students, Parents Explain Why San Diego Tribune: Growing consensus that schools do not contribute to COVID-19 spread is complicated by worsening surge The Tribune: California schools would get more money than ever in Newsom’s budget, but can they open? CalMatters: Newsome’s school opening plan sets tight deadlines The Washington Post: CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant to become dominant in US LA Times: Reopening plans stall as 1 in 3 students are testing positive for COVID-19 at some LA schools California's Safe Schools for All Plan is now available with information for school staff and parents. SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent San Luis Coastal continues to closely monitor the spread COVID-19 in our community. At yesterday’s press conference, Dr. Penny Borenstein shared the statistic that currently, in our county, one out of every 100 residents is positive for COVID-19. There is limited capacity in our local hospitals and growing concerns from our medical community. While Governor Newsom released the California Safe Schools for All Plan , we remain cautiously optimistic that our current reopening plan is viable if COVID infections reduce into the red tier in the coming weeks. Otherwise, we will remain in distance learning until these metrics become safer. Vaccinations will be offered to all of our employees soon, with second doses completed by the first week of April if SLO County receives adequate supplies of doses in the coming weeks. This is a key component for the safe reopening of our schools. We anticipate vaccinations for students in the 2021-22 school year. This will be especially important as we learn more about the UK variant, which appears to impact children at a higher rate. I know these are difficult and frustrating times for our parents and students alike. We are all tired. It is times like these that we need to dig deep and aspire to be the best version of ourselves. On Monday, our country honors civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If you have never taken the time to listen to his “ I have a Dream” speech in its entirety, I encourage you to do so this weekend. We live in an age where his words resonate more than ever before. This is a powerful opportunity for self-reflection and to look inward at who we are as individuals and as a nation. In the words of Dr. King, “I want to say that in all of our actions we must stick together. Unity is the great need of the hour, and if we are united we can get many of the things that we not only desire but which we justly deserve.” Let’s stick together and be kind to each other. Stay safe and healthy, Eric BUSINESS SERVICES Ryan Pinkerton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Food Services Local Procurement Food Services partners with local farms, businesses, and schools to get a variety of healthy, nutritious food to students. In addition, they are working with students and volunteers in the Laguna Middle School Garden to distribute seasoning packets composed of herbs from the garden. View their Garden Bitmoji Classroom to learn all about the herbs they are growing! EDUCATIONAL SERVICES Kim McGrath, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Educators moved to Tier 1B...what does that mean? Educators have been moved to Tier 1B of the Vaccination Schedule . The vaccination of healthcare workers is nearly complete and the next group will be those individuals 75+ years of age (a group of 27,000) for SLO County. Essential service workers, which includes education employees, will follow. We are communicating with public health to determine prioritization within all educators. The county has the capacity to distribute about 3,000 vaccine doses per day. More information will be available in the coming weeks. Instructional Aides Wanted San Luis Coastal is hiring instructional aides to work in person to supervise a small group of students as they participate in distance learning. Training in student engagement techniques and technology platforms will be provided. At this time, all grade levels and sites are available as well as full or part time positions. Please click here for more information and to apply.
January 8, 2021 FLASH TOPICS Meal pickups have been moved to Fridays. The Board of Education will hold their regular Measure D Study Session on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. San Luis Coastal Unified School District has a website dedicated to COVID-19 information and resources. This quick resource is available to help with unexpected (or expected) questions. If you have questions about our meal program, please contact the Meal Helpline at 805-549-1270. Do you need help paying for food, shelter, clothing, bills, utilities, internet, or phone services? Email the Family Resource Center at email@example.com or call 805-458-5499. SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent Welcome to 2021! I hope your holidays provided much needed rest and rejuvenation. On November 17, 2020 the Board of Education approved a detailed plan to reopen our schools once we meet the metric of 21+ days in the Red Tier. This is a conservative plan and one that I believe we should continue to embrace for the safe reopening of our schools. I am mindful that COVID-19 cases are surging across the state and in San Luis Obispo County and we must continue to prioritize the safety of our students, families and staff. Nothing is more important. We must also be ready once it is safe to reopen our schools in order to give students the in-person instruction they need and deserve. In addition, San Luis Coastal will continue to preserve and expand the return of small groups of students who are in the most urgent need of access to in-person instruction, as is currently allowable under state guidance. In December 2020, members of the California State Legislature composed Assembly Bill 10 which outlined a path to reopen all public schools. This bill considers the Red Tier + 14 days to be a reasonable metric for reopening which is strikingly similar to our existing plan. As of now, AB10 remains on the table for further discussion in Sacramento. On December 29, 2020 Governor Newsom released his Safe Schools for All Plan that attempts to reopen schools for in-class instruction through a phased-in approach starting with elementary students. A critical and new feature of this plan is to require weekly testing of all staff and students along with clear vaccination protocols. The Governor’s plan also includes $450 per child for all districts who reopen. Crucial details of implementing the testing of students and staff remains unclear. We continue to work closely with SLO Public Health to prepare for the arrival and implementation of the vaccine. Operationalizing certain elements of this plan will be very challenging for us; however, we remain focused on emerging information from Sacramento. Teachers and support staff, along with our parent partners, have done incredible work over the past ten months to provide a mostly positive educational experience for our students from a distance. Our site leaders have guided and persevered with the support of our neighborhood communities through these immense challenges. While we face difficult weeks ahead, there is reason to be optimistic. Vaccines are on the way combined with a unified approach from Washington D.C. to Sacramento - guided by science. I believe 2021 will be the year we put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror. Stay safe and healthy. Eric BUSINESS SERVICES Ryan Pinkerton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Food Services With the anticipation of bringing students back on campus, we have moved our food pickup day to Friday. Friday will be a virtual day for students when we return, so we decided it would be a better day for parents to pick up their meal kits/pantry boxes. The first food delivery/pickup of the new year is today. All SLCUSD families with students ages 0 to 18 are eligible to get free meals at this time. To sign up, go to www.slcusdfood.org . The food service team has partnered with Cal Poly to provide many of the items found in the pantry boxes. Cal Poly recently highlighted this partnership. Kudos to the food service team for all of their hard work and dedication in providing for all of our families. HVAC and Ionizers In preparation for more students returning to campuses, and to ensure the safety of students and staff currently on campus, the district has been doing a complete audit of our HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) units at all district sites. As they conduct the audit, they are fixing any issues and installing the highest quality filters the units will take. Additionally, the Board of Education voted to add Antiviral Ionizers to every unit throughout the district. The installation started over Winter Break and they anticipate it being completed by next week. Improving the air quality is not only a necessary step in ensuring safety during the COVID 19 pandemic; we also hope it will provide a lasting improvement on the air quality for any and all types of concerns that arise. EDUCATIONAL SERVICES Kim McGrath, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Vaccines Information California's COVID-19 Vaccine Plan for distribution and prioritization was updated on January 4, 2021 and sent with an informative vaccine fact sheet . As you can see, education and child care sectors are identified for priority in Phase 1B, Tier 1. When the Phase Tier is active, school districts will coordinate with Public Health for employee access to vaccinations. The vaccine is free and typically takes a few weeks after the last dose in a series to become fully protected (21-28 days apart for doses). During this week’s County Superintendent meeting, Dr. Rosen from SLO County Public Health stated that they will be able to begin administering vaccinations to the education sector after January 19. Districts will be asked to create the vaccination schedules and submit them to County Public Health. We will keep you posted as this planning unfolds. Governor’s Plan to Reopen Schools On December 30th, the Governor rolled out his plan for getting students back in school. It changes the guidelines to allow Transitional Kinder (TK) through 2nd grade classes to start in-class instruction when there is an adjusted case rate of 28 per 100,000. (Currently, our county is hovering around 45 per 100,000.) This plan calls for weekly or biweekly testing of all students and staff, and it mentions an MOU with the state for a connection to a lab out of Valencia. However, we have not heard any information about the MOU or the lab. The Governor is saying that there will be funding of $450 per student and perhaps up to $700 for unduplicated at-risk students. It also mentions that the district will be required to have a safety plan approved by the health department. However, there are not any details about what the safety plan should entail. It also mentions some access to a team of agencies and the development of a state hotline to report violations. Overall, at this point, we are continuing to listen, watch, and monitor. We have a solid plan in place that has the support of administrators, union leadership, and has been approved by the Board. We don’t see a need at this point to change our course. Many details and logistics need to be released as well as more information about how this plan coordinates with the proposed AB10. We’ll continue to listen and communicate with you as information continues to unfold. Elementary Students Second Semester Start The week before the Winter Break, our elementary sites worked incredibly hard to accommodate requests and create a second semester plan for staff and students with the idea that we want to be poised and ready when we’re able to return to in-person instruction. These adjustments have been made, and the elementary students are in their second semester classes. This massive change took place without any major issues because of the professionalism of our administrators, teachers, and staff. Thank you for your flexibility throughout this process. Small Group Instruction As we continue to be in distance learning for the foreseeable future, making sure our students are successful academically and social-emotionally is key. Our small group instruction (SGI) time in the afternoons is an important time for teachers to work with students in small groups or one on one, to focus on individual student learning. Since it is difficult to bring students to campus at this time, SGI is more important than ever. Please make sure your child is present and participating when invited to SGI. School sites will be discussing strategies for most effective use of this time with staff in the coming weeks.
Our next round of workshops will be this Monday, 10/19 from 2:30 - 3:30. We will be offering a workshop on Google Classroom & Email Organization , and another one on GoGuardian (for secondary sites). Please click on this link to view the details and access the Zoom links. No pre-registration required. We hope you can join us!