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September Gradual Phased Reopening of School Campuses Update

Dear SSD Families,

 

We hope you continue to be well. We write to you to share updated information regarding our plans for the gradual, phased reopening of school campuses. Like Fremont Union High School District, we determined that opening campuses to all students is not feasible prior to January 1.

 

While this is frustrating for parents and staff and certainly students, we believe a phased, gradual approach is important to maintain the health and safety of our community while continuing to provide the best possible instructional program under the circumstances. All of us in Sunnyvale School District are eager to return to full in-person instruction as soon as it is reasonably safe to do so.

 

An outline of our phases follows. Please note that flexibility will continue to be one of our guiding principles, so plans, timelines and supports will certainly need to be adjusted as we move forward.

 

Safety -- Equity -- Flexibility -- High-Quality Teaching and Learning

 

Phase One: Staff on Campus

Our Reopening Plan actually began with the first phase at the beginning of August as teachers returned to schools for professional development and other staff returned to schools to be trained on the new campus safety guidelines. Several teachers also returned to teach from their own classrooms.

Phase Two: Support Pods

The second phase includes the development of Support Pods. This phase began August 24 with a partnership between the City and the District to provide a Support Pod for the children of City and District employees at the Community Center. As a result of this project, we plan to introduce students residing at the Sunnyvale Homeless Shelter to their own Support Pod this week. We are currently planning the development of Support Pods, first at each of our four Title 1 elementary schools, and later to the remainder of our schools. Each Pod will accommodate up to 14 students while they access their current Virtual School instruction on campus with assistance from a paraeducator.

Phase Three: Targeted Student Supports

The third phase of our Reopening Plan will begin in the next several weeks. The supports will likely be focused on students with individual education plans, students accessing social worker services, and other students identified for targeted instructional support. A focus during the third phase may also be our youngest learners in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten.

Phase Four: Targeted Group Instruction

The successes and lessons learned from these first three phases, along with the current conditions in our community, will contribute to our planning as we move forward with a fourth phase. This phase would involve targeted groups of students receiving instruction (as opposed to support) on campus for a portion of the school day. The most optimistic target date for implementation of this phase is late November or early December.

Phase Five: Tiered Reopening

Classroom cohorts will return to full-day instruction on school campuses one grade level at a time, beginning with the lowest grade levels, no earlier than January 2021. Planning for middle school reopening has unique challenges, and this process will have to be considered separately.

 

We will continue to closely follow the health metrics and guidance provided by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, particularly as we enter the beginning of the cold and flu season. Thank you for your continued dedication and resilience as we lay the foundation for a safe return.

 

Best regards, Michael Gallagher, Ed.D. Superintendent