Following the guidance of Governor Gavin Newsom and state education officials, it is with a heavy heart that I share with you that all our campuses will be closed to students for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Our District facilities, classrooms, fields, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and gymnasiums continue to remain closed during this time. We hoped to avoid these actions, but are following the necessary guidance to protect the health of our students, families, staff and the public by preserving physical distancing in our community and slowing the spread of coronavirus. While we are devastated by this news, I am confident we will continue to unite to find ways to support and connect as a community to make the best of the remaining school year for our beloved students, families and colleagues.
We are closely monitoring the crisis and should conditions change and public health officials advise it, we would take full advantage of bringing our students and staff back for even a short period of time before the end of the year. We choose to keep hope and grace alive!
Meanwhile, the immediate, extraordinary effort of our teachers and staff in getting our online learning platform up and running at the very start of this crisis means that we are positioned well to see it through to the end. As I have emphasized to you before, we know that the single most important factor in a child’s academic success is staying connected to school. To that end, we will continue training teachers, developing instructional content, and innovating our use of technology to provide the highest quality online learning experience we — and our homebound families — can manage during this pandemic. We will continue to do it in a way that recognizes the wide disparity of time, resources and personal situations among our students, families and staff during this emergency. We will keep you updated after Spring Break about changes and enhancements to our distance learning practices.
We are truly fortunate that our early August school-start calendar means our students have completed about three more weeks of in-class instruction than many other districts in Orange County. So, while the emergency closures have disrupted learning, our deficit is much smaller than it might otherwise have been. During this period, we will continue to follow our normal school calendar for each site with schools ending for students on May 28 for all sites except Weaver, which ends on June 4.
Nevertheless, closing our campuses raises many questions about grades, commencement, college admission policies, registration, summer school, summer camps and much more. In the coming days and weeks, we will share with you information about these and other related topics.
While our classrooms will remain closed to students, our free Grab ‘n’ Go meal distribution program will continue, as will distribution of Chromebooks for any students who do not have access to an internet device. Please contact your principal if you have any technology needs. Visit our CORONAVIRUS AWARENESS page or LEARNING CONNECTION for ongoing updates, information and resources for students and families.
Finally, even though many of you are not surprised by the State’s decision to keep classrooms closed, I know that it is extremely disappointing and difficult news to deal with. It certainly is for me and our staff. I encourage you to talk with your children and other family members isolating with you. Listen to them and acknowledge how they are feeling. This crisis is beyond stressful and places unfamiliar demands on everyone. Now, more than ever, it will take all of us working together and actively supporting each other to meet this challenge.
Stay safe and healthy, take care of your loved ones and know that we are Better Together!
Andrew Pulver, Ed.D