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In an email to parents, Dr. Colleen Hawkins, superintendent of the Saugus Union School District, announced proposed plans for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

The full letter, including information on a poll regarding what educational format parents would prefer to see in the upcoming school year, is available below.

After an anxiety ridden few days of listening to current education budget deficits and news stories related to COVID-19, I think it is important to share with our Saugus Union School District community where we are regarding the start of the new school year and to provide some timelines for better understanding.

First, let me say that we are on track to start school on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The proposed 2020-2021 calendar below:

SUSD Proposed 2020-2021 School Year Calendar

Unless we are directed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) or other government entity, we will hold to this date. We hope this provides some ability for our families to plan their potential vacations, childcare, and summer activities in the coming months.

Next, I want everyone to know that health safety is our number one priority for each school setting. We are working with DPH and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to prepare our district resources and practices to allow for social distancing, routinized hand-washing practices, appropriate lunch and recess practices, additional hand sanitizing stations, appropriate classroom cleaning and sanitizing practices, masks and other appropriate PPE for students and staff. As we finalize each of the specifics of these plans and address the staffing needs they may require, we will provide families with specific information on our health safety practices. We are hopeful that by the first part of July, 2020 we will be able to provide stable, specific information regarding social distancing in school, PPE in school, etc.

Finally, I know that there are many concerns of families about returning to the school site or classroom setting. Some parents feel that returning is critical. They are ready to return to the classroom provided appropriate preventative measures and practices are in place to limit potential exposure to illness. Other parents feel that it is still too risky and would prefer to remain at home with distance learning until a vaccine is available. We are planning that the 2020-2021 school year will allow parents a choice.

Based on what we know today, from the California Department of Education (CDE), the Saugus Union School District will offer the following options for the 2020-2021 school year:

– A full-time distance learning format for students

– Students will attend school and receive assignments via an online platform. There will be a combination of lesson/activities structures that allow students to benefit from synchronous (live stream) and asynchronous (video) instruction. SUSD is examining its current distance learning platform, format, and structure and will be refining it for students for use in the fall.

– A blended-learning format for students

– Small groups of students will attend school, using appropriate DPH safety precautions, part of the week and will participate in distance learning the remainder of the week.

– The actual number of days of student physical attendance at school vs. the number of distance learning days is to be determined. We must have the restrictions from the DPH on how many students can be in a space and we must have some relaxation of school days / instructional minutes from the CDE before we can fully commit to a schedule for this option.

– By June 1, 2020, we anticipate having additional budget cut information and having additional guidance from DPH and CDE that will allow us to work with stakeholders in finalizing our plans. We are putting together stakeholder groups and survey tools to assist us in our planning. We will provide families and staff additional information as soon as it is available. Until that time, we want everyone to be assured that school will start in August. School will be provided to allow families choice and school will implement appropriate health and safety precautions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will send (via email) a poll Thursday, regarding each families preferred school format, to help us in our planning and staffing for the coming year. Please complete the poll upon receipt. (This is a choice for each family to allow us to understand how to staff and plan for the coming year. This is NOT a vote on the single format that all families will experience).

I hope you will continue your support of the Saugus Union School District by enrolling your children for the 2020-2021 school year. We want to provide your children with a rigorous and grade level appropriate education as well as the consistency of attending the school they love. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your site principal or me.

Stay Healthy and Take Care,
Colleen

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5 Comments

  1. Sean Askins says:

    We would like to see our kids back in a classroom setting. Distance learning isn’t effective for all students, and our children benefit from being to speak and listen to their teachers.

  2. Kristi Mason says:

    Children need social activity as much as they need schooling. What difference does it make in preventing illness of any kind if you have 5 kids in a classroom vs 35 kids in a classroom? Not ever has an entire classroom or school caught the flu or a cold all at once. Kids will continue to catch illnesses as will adults, that’s part of life. It’s not the end of the world. The schools need to continue as normal. Our children need their lives to go back to normal. Sanity is a bigger issue than any virus or disease.

  3. Paula Lang says:

    We want school FULL time in session options for our kids that can thrive in school. Distance learning is NOT a good choice for many reasons. Teachers try and do their best but the kids looking at a video and not understanding the work is frustrating for them. Looking at a computer half the day hurts my kids eyes and gives them headaches. Some teachers are not as great online as others. I know over half of our district wants schools back full time! We took our own poll. For all the others who want to stay at home let them have that choice! Also our children will not be forced to wear masks to school. This is out of hand! Your setting up our county for a bigger issue and letting our kids down! I’m ashamed to even be a resident of you allow this!

  4. Melani Lewis says:

    We would like to see school return to a normal schedule that includes access to a classroom full time. Children with special needs are especially impacted by distance learning as they don’t have access to their resources and are struggling with the online platform.

  5. Anna Cahoon says:

    My son will be starting in TK this fall and I do not believe that distance learning will be beneficial to him. I am glad that that option will be available to other parents who would be more comfortable with that. I am primarily starting him in school for the socialization aspect, to have play and other activities with other children for his developmental growth. I would prefer the children not be required to face masks. Cloth face masks have limited benefits that may not outweigh the psychological detriment they cause to young children interacting with one another or their teachers.

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