2020-21 School Year Message from Superintendent Walker

2020-21 School Year Message from Superintendent Walker

Dear IUSD Community and Staff,

On behalf of IUSD leadership, we are excited to welcome our new and returning students to the 2020-21 school year, which starts on August 20 with online learning for all IUSD students.  While the start of this year is unlike any other, IUSD’s dedicated and talented teachers and staff are committed to academic excellence and supporting our students and families as we continue to navigate this ever-changing landscape together.    

Below is important information about our efforts to prepare for the new school year.  I would also like to take this opportunity to share a brief video message with our students, staff and families, which can be viewed by clicking here.

State Criteria for In-Person Instruction

As a reminder, Orange County remains on the state COVID-19 monitoring list, which means OC school districts, including IUSD, are currently not permitted to allow students on campus for in-person instruction. In order for schools to return to in-person instruction, daily case counts in Orange County must meet the following state criteria for 14 consecutive days*

  • Confirmed or probable cases below 100 per 100,000 residents
  • COVID-19 testing positivity rate below 8 percent

IUSD will continue to closely monitor the conditions in our county and provide updates to our community, as they are available.

* The California Department of Public Health recently announced that the state’s data system has experienced technical issues and they are in the process of recalculating this information.  

TK-6 Grade Waiver and Youth Sports 

The California Department of Public Health recently released new guidelines for youth sports and the criteria for school districts to apply for an elementary waiver to reopen for in-person instruction for grades TK-6 only. However, due to technical issues with the state’s data system, the Orange County Health Care Agency has informed OC school districts that it will pause consultations between the County Health Officer and California Department of Public Health until the electronic lab reporting system is resolved.  Read County Superintendent Al Mijares’ statement here

IUSD will continue to monitor this situation and work with the Orange County Health Care Agency and the Orange County Department of Education to clarify the requirements of the waiver application process.

Youth sports will resume once school starts on August 20 and will follow state guidelines, including physical distancing of six feet and skill, agility and conditioning activities only with no contact.  Coaches and schools will provide more information after the start of school.

Click here to read more about the new California Department of Public Health guidelines and click here to read the CIF 2020-21 sports calendar media statement.   

What Families Can Expect Next

  • Principals and staff from your neighborhood/assigned schools will reach out to families directly with more information about the start of the year, including schedules, teacher assignments, plans for each school site and more.    
  • Please direct school related questions to your school.
  • IUSD will continue to provide the latest news and information to our community, along with helpful resources. 

Preparing for Teaching and Learning

Although our teachers and staff are not officially back from summer break, they are working diligently to prepare for the new school year. This includes virtual professional development trainings, live webinars on a variety of teaching and learning topics, and on demand resources and supports, all of which have been developed and taught by IUSD staff. 

This incredible team of professionals are acutely focused on providing the highest quality educational experience we can envision, while working to address each student’s social, emotional and academic needs.  Now more than ever, it is essential to foster an educational environment that supports students, helping them to develop the necessary skills to become independent and successful learners and engaged citizens, who are able to meet challenges with grit and resiliency.  

I could not be more proud of our teachers and staff and would like to thank them for their hard work, enthusiasm and most importantly their care and commitment to our students. 

Mental Health and Wellness

In addition to coping with this protracted pandemic and the impacts on our daily lives, students are starting the school year in a way they never have before, which can result in stress and anxiety.  For these reasons, our teacher and staff trainings include strategies to help identify and support students who may be facing challenges or a myriad of emotions.  To learn more about IUSD’s investments in mental health and wellness resources and supports for students, visit our Speak Up We Care website. If your child needs support, please do not hesitate to reach out to staff at your school.

Also, families have ongoing access to Optimistic Household, the six-part series with interactive modules designed only for IUSD to foster learning and social emotional wellbeing at the highest levels for our students.  Visit iusd.org/OptimisticHousehold for more information.    

How to Access Updates and Resources

IUSD has developed a number of resources to help keep our community informed.

o Latest news and updates

o IUSD’s 2020-21 Opening and Safety Planning FAQ

o Chromebook checkout details and tech supports

o Daily grab and go meals information and community resources

o Special Education resources

o Mental health and wellness supports and services

o Links to national, state and local health agencies, and more.

  • IUSD’s Opening and Planning FAQ – Includes guidelines for schools, academic models, opening and safety information, IUSD resources and services, and more.   
  • Our Opening and Safety Planning Web Resource – Includes information about IUSD preparations, health and safety information, face coverings, and what students, staff and families can expect once Orange County schools are able to offer in-person learning. 

Stay Connected to IUSD and Our Schools

  • Make sure your contact information is up to date in Parent Portal.
  • Visit iusd.org, the COVID-19 and Opening and Safety Planning web resources and IUSD’s FAQ regularly.
  • Visit your school’s website and follow your school on social media.
  • Check your email often for information from your school, teachers and IUSD.
  • Please reach out to your school directly for information related to the school and the start of the year. 
  • If you or a family member have unsubscribed from school or District emails, you will not receive important updates. To re-subscribe, email helpdesk@iusd.org.
  • Follow IUSD on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • Visit iusd.org/connect for more information about how you can stay connected.

I hope you have enjoyed time with family and had a relaxing summer.  We look forward to the new school year and greatly appreciate your partnership.

Sincerely,

Terry Walker Signature

 

 

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District 

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