Superintendent Letter Re Update to Reopening and Timeline

Monday, January 25th, 2021 - Posted in All District News COVID District Communications Latest Announcements

January 25, 2021


Dear Piedmont Families,

Many parents, including me, are frustrated with the continuing uncertainty about when our children will be able to return to school. As you are probably aware, the Governor’s Safe Schools for All Plan adds new requirements that must be in place in order for students to come back. I am hopeful that we will have many more students back in classrooms in the near future. District leaders are working to ensure that we transition smoothly into the next phase once Alameda County COVID infection rates drop and we are permitted to expand in-person learning.

We will be ready for a safe and phased-in reopening of our elementary program as early as February 9th, pending approval by the County Health Department. We are also making preparations to reopen middle school and high schools as soon as we are allowed to do so. More information about the governor’s plan and our preparations is included below. 

We are mindful of everything members of our community are dealing with and we offer our deepest compassion to each and every person directly and indirectly affected by the pandemic.

Sincerely,

Randall Booker

Superintendent

 

HEADLINES

  • The Governor’s Safe Schools for All Plan permits elementary students to return to campus when county-level Covid infection rates drop below 25 cases per 100,000 for five consecutive days; for secondary students, the rate must be less than seven cases per 100,000. Today, the case rate in Alameda County is 37.7, a rate that has been declining for the last 10 days—a positive trend for our district reopening. More details about the state’s school reopening guidelines are available here.
  • Under the governor’s plan, PUSD is required to update our existing COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP), including protocols for student testing. 
  • PUSD will submit its updated reopening safety plan on February 1, and if the plan is accepted and infection rates are in the safe zone, we will be on track to reopen and phase students back into Beach, Havens and Wildwood as early as February 9th.   
  • Likewise, we are confident that we will be able to reopen our middle and high schools when permitted by the county public health department.   

 

Elementary School Phase-in Timeline

At the January 27th Board of Education Meeting, I will propose the following phase-in plan to return elementary students and staff to an in-person learning environment.

 

Please note that this phased-in plan all assumes that beginning on Feb. 1st case rates have dropped below 25 per 100,000.  If it hasn’t, we will have to push back our timeline accordingly.

 

Feb. 1  Case Rates drop below 25 per 100,000

Feb. 1  The District submits its COVID Safety Plan to the county/state and posts it on the District website for 5 days (as required by the new guidance).

Feb. 8th  Distance Learning Day (as required by the MOU)

Feb. 9th  TK continues in-person learning and Kindergarten students return for their first day of in-person learning

Feb. 10th TK and Kinder continue and 1st grade students return to in-person learning

Feb. 11th TK-1 continue and 2nd grade students return to in-person learning

Feb. 12th TK – 2nd grade students continue on campus for in-person learning

Feb. 15th – 19th February Break

Feb. 22nd Distance Learning Day (as required by the MOU)

Feb. 23rd TK-2nd continue and 3rd grade students return to in-person learning

Feb. 24th TK-3rd continue and 4th grade students return to in-person learning

Feb. 25th TK-4th continue and 5th grade students return to in-person learning

Feb. 26th TK-5th grade students continue on campus for in-person learning

 

Again, this all assumes that Alameda County is a case rate of less than 25 per 100,000. If we are not there on Feb. 1st, then we will have to adjust our timeline accordingly.

 

PUSD STATE OF READINESS

What does the governor’s reopening plan require PUSD to do? How much is already done and what’s left?

While one requirement to reopen is related to county-level Covid infection rates—and therefore out of our hands—PUSD is required to submit a plan outlining COVID prevention and safety protocols are in-place. Here’s what state officials are looking for and where we stand:

 

Already in-place: 

Student Cohorts

Entrance, Egress, and Movement Within the School(s)

Face Masks and Other PPE

Student and Staff Health Screenings

Hand Sanitizing and Other Hygiene Protocols 

Contact Identification and Tracing 

Physical Distancing

Staff Training and Education

Staff COVID-19 Testing

Communication Plans

 

Still working on:

🔲 Student COVID-19 Testing

🔲 Walkthrough COVID Safety Plan with Teachers and Staff Leaders (week of 1/25)

🔲 Information Presentation to Parent Group Leaders (week of 2/1)

 

 

FAQs

Doesn’t PUSD already have an approved reopening plan? 

Yes. The Alameda County Office of Education approved PUSD’s current Reopening Plan on November 9, 2020. But since then, Governor Newsom released his “Safe Schools for All Plan” on Jan. 14, and it includes new requirements that must be included in PUSD’s plan.

 

Will my children need to be tested for COVID when they’re in school?  

At this point, districts are required to implement a student testing program. The frequency of testing depends on infection rates in Alameda County based public health guidelines. Regular testing of teachers and staff is already underway. We are currently working out details for our student testing program in compliance with county guidelines (See pgs. 39-40) 

 

What happens if a student in the hybrid program tests positive for COVID-19?

Once students are in school, regular testing will occur depending on county-level infection rates. When infection rates are in the highest risk categories, all students and staff will be tested every week. When infection rates are lower, testing is required only for those who have symptoms and those who are known to have been exposed to COVID.

 

When a student tests positive or is exhibiting symptoms that could indicate a COVID-19 infection, they will be required to stay at home and isolate for 10 days. A student who only has symptoms may return to school prior to the end of the 10 day isolation period under the following conditions: if they receive a negative PCR/molecular COVID-19 test result, their symptoms are improving, and they have been without fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).

 

If a student has been determined to have had an exposure through contact tracing to COVID-19, that student must quarantine at home for 14 days from the last date of exposure to the COVID-19 positive person. We suggest contacting your healthcare provider. Please consider COVID-19 testing, but please be aware that a negative test result received during this period will not shorten the quarantine period.  

 

When students are permitted to return to in-person learning, parents will be required to complete the daily health screening survey that will be checked by site staff prior to the student being allowed to enter the classroom. Students who do not pass the screening survey will be directed to stay at home.

 

When will middle school and high school students be able to go back to school?

New guidelines from state and county public health departments stipulate that middle school and high school students can go back to school when COVID infection rates drop below seven cases per 100,000 for five days — entry into the red tier.

We are confident that we will be able to reopen our middle and high schools when permitted by the county public health department. Meanwhile, we will be reaching out to families in the coming weeks regarding family preferences for distance vs. in-person learning. 

 

I’m wondering about what’s going to happen next fall. Will schools go back to full-time, in-person classes? 

Like all of you, our vision is that schools will be open for full-time in-person classes by next fall. Federal officials are moving toward national programs to support returning all students back to school, and increased pressure at the state level is moving leadership here in that direction as well. Health experts continue to note that even with widespread vaccines, some safety protocols, like wearing masks, are likely to remain in place. We continue to track news about a vaccine for children—a development that would be a game changer. 

 

I want to help. What can I do?

We know that the level of talent and depth of knowledge among our Piedmont families is vast. If you have ideas or expertise that you believe will help the district remain on track to reopen, email the School Board at schoolboard@piedmont.k12.ca.us.

 

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