Superintendent Presents Updates

Superintendent Presents Updates

As we continue to adjust and adapt to the ever-changing environment of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to be sure to keep you up to date on our planning process, our options and our general thinking on what students and families may experience during the 2020-21 school year.

I need to continue to emphasize that these updates will be snapshots of our current thinking as opposed to our final plans. This is because the conditions of the pandemic itself — the number of positive cases — continues to change. This change includes the scientific thinking on how the disease spreads, who is most vulnerable to it, health officials’ mandates and recommendations, and our own understanding of what we can do on our campuses to keep students, staff and families safe.

This situation has many moving parts, and as such concrete answers are still hard to come by, but we will continue monitoring and adapting wherever necessary with the educational well-being of our students and the health and safety of our families and staff at the forefront of our decision-making. For today, at least we have three primary updates:

Calendar: Last month, the AUSD and Alameda Education Association negotiating teams came to a tentative agreement on a revised calendar for the 2020-21 school year to provide moretime to prepare for next year and more time for instruction. The primary adjustments are? 

• The first day of school will be Thursday, Aug. 27 rather than the previously scheduled Monday, Aug. 17
• The last day of school will be Thursday, June 17, 2021, rather than the previously scheduled Wednesday, June 9, 2021. 
• Existing professional development days are now concentrated at the start of the school year to better prepare our educators for the changes in teaching and learning that we are anticipating for the next school year. The teachers’ union, the Alameda Education Association ratified this revised calendar last week. The calendar will not be final until the Board of Education votes on it at its July 17 meeting.

Additions to frequently asked questions (FAQs) : We have updated the Remote Learning Program FAQs and Flexible Learning FAQs on the school district’s website with a number of new questions and answers. We are basing these additions on questions that we have received from parents/guardians and employees, as well as our continued explorations of what would be effective and viable next year.

I want to call particular attention to the additions to our Remote Learning Program FAQ, as we know families who selected that option on the Instructional Program Choice form have questions about that program’s details, which we have refined and will continue to refine in the next few weeks. The additions are at the bottom of each section of the FAQs, under “July 10 Additions.”

As a reminder you can find links to the FAQs on our Planning for 2020-21 web page. We are adding translations as quickly as we can get them from our translators.
Cleaning: Chief Business Officer Shariq Khan and I sent an email to all families and employees last week that detailed our current thinking on cleaning and sanitizing. We know families have questions about the types of cleaning products we plan to use and will post the names of these cleaning/sanitizing products that we have chosen (along with technical “Safety Data Sheets” that manufacturers of such products need to provide) within the next week. 

We will also provide more layperson-friendly descriptions for those who don’t want to wade through technical data. We are also more deeply exploring current health protocols and recommendations, as well as field testing cleaning equipment, and assessing how long it will take to clean our sites daily and what that means for our daily schedules.

I also want to let you know AUSD is partnering with the City of Alameda and the Black Achievers Alliance to present a series of Zoom community meetings with Black leaders to explore effective allyship, reparations, youth activism and school equity. These community meetings are free and open to all. 

The first one took place last Friday, July 11, and featured Director of Community and Political Engagement with Just Cities John Jones III. Born and raised in East Oakland, Jones is a passionate and vocal advocate for affordable housing, employment, violence reduction, ending mass incarceration, and racial equity and is especially committed to using his personal story to inspire youth.

Again, we are sending this update in the spirit of full transparency and with the intention of keeping students, families, and employees fully apprised of our thinking. We expect to send another update tomorrow’s Board of Education meeting.

I hope you are all staying safe this summer and also enjoying time with your families. We really do miss you.
 

 

 

Pasquale Scuderi is the Superintendent of the Alameda Unified School District.