Dear IUSD Community,
As we continue our planning for the 2020-2021 school year, we know that designing academic models that meet the diverse needs of our students and families is critically important. We appreciate the feedback and considerations you shared in our first family survey. The Board of Education and the IUSD 2020-2021 Task Force carefully reviewed these responses to understand your preferences for online, blended, and traditional academic models. Final recommendation of these academic models will be brought to the Board of Education for approval at the July 1, 2020 Special Board Meeting.
The models outlined below were designed to meet the interests of our students, staff, and community and align with the California Department of Public Health guidelines and Orange County Department of Education guidelines.
Please carefully review the contents of this letter and each academic model before completing the IUSD Family Survey No. 2. The survey is open through Monday, June 29 until 5:00pm.
Academic Models Aligned to Local and State Guidelines
The guidelines established by the California Department of Public Health, the OC Health Care Agency, and OC Department of Education informed all our planning efforts and the design of each academic model. These guidelines include promoting handwashing, encouraging face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting, allowing for physical distancing, and creating smaller cohorts of students, when possible. For more information about these practices and protocols in our schools click here.
While our families identified the protocols listed above as important considerations, two, in particular, have drawn significant attention – masks and the use of classroom spaces on our campuses.
Masks and Face Coverings
IUSD schools will follow the local and state guidelines related to masks, face coverings and face shields. Current guidance from the OC Health Care Agency states, “face coverings should be worn by students, staff and visitors when six feet of distancing is not feasible and other exemptions do not apply.” To clarify, face coverings, including face shields, are recommended but not required. Additional face covering guidelines include:
- Teach and reinforce use and potential benefit of cloth face coverings, masks, or face shields, especially when physical distancing is not feasible.
- Encourage all staff to use face coverings or face shields.
- Recognize that some people have medical or mental health conditions that prevent them from effectively or safely wearing a face covering.
IUSD will provide our staff with both masks and face shields in accordance with these guidelines. For additional information about face coverings, please see the links to the guidelines listed above. Should this guidance change, IUSD will inform our families.
Click here for more information about face masks.
Local and state health guidelines recommend that schools maximize space between seating and desks to the extent possible. Teacher and other staff desks will be placed at least six feet from student desks. When physical distancing is more difficult, it is recommended that schools consider the use of study carrels or partitions when possible.
Changing Academic Models
IUSD understands that some families may wish to change to a different academic model during the school year. Our schools will do their best to accommodate these requests and will provide additional information regarding the process for initiating a change.
The State Legislature announced this week that schools should return students to in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible. To that end, all IUSD families will have the option to return their children to an in-person model of instruction at their neighborhood school or prior approved school of choice.
Please click here to access the survey and an overview of each academic model for Elementary, Middle and High School Programs, including our Year Round Schools.
As you consider the different academic models, we anticipate that you may have additional questions. IUSD staff is working on Frequently Asked Questions and a 2020-21 Planning webpage, which will both be available soon. In the meantime, if you have specific questions you would like addressed, please add them to the open-ended response option in the survey or email them to email@example.com.
Special Education, English Learners, and Students who receive additional supports
Students who participate in the District's Special Education programs or services, have 504 plans, or receive language development support may select any of the academic models offered. For students who are in Special Education and/or receive related services, access to those related services will be provided to the fullest extent possible either in person or virtually.
Flexible and Adaptable Planning
The rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has required IUSD to work closely with state and local agencies and officials to understand the implications for our schools and adapt as needed to serve our students and families. Please know that the safety of students, staff and our community is our priority; therefore, we will continue to be vigilant and adjust as needed to ensure our practices align with the current conditions, while maintaining academic excellence and equity for all students.
We understand that living in an environment of constant change can generate frustration, fear, and a sense of uncertainty. Please know that our District will continue to follow expert health guidance and provide our community with the most timely and accurate information available. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we engage in this complex and important work.
Finally, I would like to thank you for your partnership. Our parents play an important role in helping us deliver on our promise to provide the highest quality educational experience we can envision. Our current circumstances have challenged us all, but together we will ensure that our children continue to learn at the highest levels and to thrive both in school and beyond.
Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District