Update: CA Classroom Distancing Guidelines Amended

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Dear IUSD Community,

On March 20, the California Department of Public Health aligned the state’s guidance for K-12 schools with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and amended California’s guidance for classroom spacing, recommending a minimum of 3 feet of space between students seated in a classroom rather than the previous recommendation of 6 feet.  The guidelines also state that teachers and staff should continue to sit at least 6 feet apart from students and other staff.  The 6 feet distancing is still recommended when students cannot wear masks at lunch time, for vocal and instrumental music instruction, or during other similar types of activities.

No Changes to the Current Academic Models

The updated guidelines will not change existing IUSD academic models for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.  With just over two months remaining before the summer break, it would be too disruptive to redesign current academic models, change teacher assignments, and modify campus use and safety plans.  A fundamental shift of this nature, in such a short period of time, would also make it difficult for IUSD to continue to meet the preferences of our families and the academic needs of our students. 

Positive News for 2021-22 Planning

As previously communicated, IUSD is in the initial planning phases for the summer and the 2021-22 school year.  This amended guidance, based on science and data, is positive news for IUSD’s planning. Although the District will offer both online and in-person academic models in the fall, the revised guidelines will allow for more flexibility in the classroom, further supporting IUSD’s commitment of a five-day per week program. 

While other school districts around the state and nation are only now reopening for in-person instruction, IUSD has offered in-person instruction since September 2020 and has accommodated the needs of our students and families throughout the year, when space has been available.  This is the direct result of our partnership with our staff and families.  Similar to planning efforts last year, IUSD will work collaboratively with our key stakeholders and we will provide our community with updates as they are available.

More Evidence We Are Returning to a Sense of Normalcy

As a result of our collective efforts with students, staff and families, our district continues to take more steps toward normalcy in ways we have not seen for more than a year. In addition to the updated classroom guidelines, this includes:

  • Youth sports have resumed, in accordance with state and local guidelines. 
  • Band and choir instruction began in November/December for secondary schools and for the traditional elementary academic model in January per state and local guidelines. 
  • High schools have announced that they are planning for in-person graduation ceremonies.
  • Elementary and middle schools are also planning for in-person promotion ceremonies.
  • Our elementary playgrounds reopened as of last week. 
  • IUSD summer programs will be offered both in-person and online.
  • IUSD teachers and staff continue to receive COVID-19 vaccines as essential workers in the state’s safe reopening plans. 

Health and Safety is Our Priority

Please know that the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and families remains our priority.  IUSD continues to monitor local conditions and is working closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency and the Orange County Department of Education.  As we have done since the onset of the pandemic, we will continue to share updates and to work collaboratively with our key stakeholders as we begin planning for the 2021-22 school year.

As always, thank you for your partnership and support.  

Sincerely,
IUSD Communications

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