As we learned earlier today, Governor Newsom announced that all public and private schools located in California counties on the state’s monitoring list for rising coronavirus infections will be required to close for in-person instruction until the counties are off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Because Orange County is currently on this list, all school districts in the county, including IUSD, will be required to start the 2020-21 school year in a distance learning format until conditions improve.
Implications for In-Person Academic Models
For IUSD, this decision does not affect the Virtual Academy but will temporarily affect the following approved 2020-21 in-person academic models:
- Elementary - Traditional, Hybrid and TK/K
- Middle and High Schools - Hybrid and Blended
- Special Education - Hybrid and Traditional
While the current number of COVID-19 infections preclude in-person instruction at this time, we remain hopeful that the day will come when conditions in Orange County improve enough to be removed from the monitoring list. In anticipation of this day, IUSD will proceed with planning for all approved academic models with the caveat that all in-person models (hybrid, traditional, and blended) may be modified to start the school year in a temporary distance learning mode. Once we are permitted to open for in-person instruction, these affected models will revert to the originally planned design.
Academic Model Selection Process
Please keep this temporary distance learning requirement in mind as you select your preferred academic model. A parent must select one of the in-person options if they want their child to participate in on-campus instruction once conditions permit. Students will begin the year in distance learning with the same assigned teachers they will have once in-person instruction is allowed to start.
We understand that the Governor’s announcement may generate additional questions and concerns; therefore, we are extending the deadline for families to select their academic model to Wednesday, July 22 at 5 p.m. Families must select their models by this date to allow our schools sufficient time to align necessary staffing and to build schedules so that we can honor our families’ preferences and implement the Board approved academic models for the 2020-21 school year.
Rigorous Distance Learning
As you consider your choices for this fall, please understand that, even if we begin the school year in a distance learning format or spend some portion of the year in distance learning, students' experiences will be very different than in the spring of last year. Just as our Virtual Academy will provide rigorous, high quality differentiated instruction, distance learning will also provide tightly structured and standards aligned lessons, with frequent synchronous learning, individualized support, peer to peer collaboration, and an infusion of new learning resources. Our students, regardless of the format, will receive the rich instruction, support, and connection they need.
While we realize that the COVID-19 pandemic has generated uncertainty and fear, and our families and staff have had to adjust and make so many sacrifices, know that we remain committed to providing educational equity and excellence. Our schools will work closely with our families to ensure that our students receive the support that they need, and we will do everything in our power to deliver on our promise to create the highest quality educational experience we can envision.
IUSD will send a follow up communication early next week, including additional resources to support our staff and families. Thank you for your understanding and partnership.