Updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

This is a rapidly evolving situation. IUSD staff frequently updates this FAQ as we have new information. Please check back regularly and continue to visit iusd.org/COVID19 for the latest updates.

For questions about COVID-19 and related cases in Orange County or Irvine, contact the Orange County Health Care Agency (see below).  For medical guidance; federal, state and county health guidelines; travel advisories; health screenings at U.S. ports of entry; quarantines and other government agency related questions, visit the resources below:

IUSD Closures

Q: Why did IUSD close schools?
A:
The Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) closed our schools and facilities to students and the public aligned to health agency guidelines and Governor Newsom’s executive orders. The public health crisis created by COVID-19 continues to escalate throughout Orange County and California which warrants swift action to prevent the spread of illness. Click here to read the full message from Superintendent Walker.

Q: What is the anticipated return date?
A:
Governor Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Thurmond announced that all California schools will remain closed to students through the end of the 2019-20 school year, as a result of increased COVID-19 cases throughout the state.  In recent weeks, the State of California has continued to escalate its efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, through the executive order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, calling for California residents to stay at home, with exceptions for attending to essential needs. A presidential Major Disaster Declaration also acknowledged the scope of this crisis and bolstered California’s emergency response efforts.

Locally, the Orange County Health Care Agency tightened restrictions on public and private gatherings and the Orange County Superintendent of Schools, Al Mijares, expressed his support for Orange County school districts to extend school closure dates. “Keeping children home from school is a drastic measure, one that shows how seriously health officials and educators are taking this public health threat,” said Mijares. “We must do our part now to flatten the curve.”

Q: What if conditions change?
A:
If IUSD learns, prior to the end of the 2019-20 school year, that circumstances have changed and that we can safely reopen our schools, IUSD and our dedicated staff will do so at our earliest opportunity. To that end, the District will continue to monitor closely the guidance from federal, state and local authorities and coordinate our actions and responses with expert health agencies and other OC school districts.

Mental Health and Wellness Supports

Q: If my student needs mental health and wellness support, where can we find information?
A:
The outbreak of COVID-19 can result in various forms of stress, especially for students who may be struggling to process all of the implications of this health challenge and the impact of social distancing. IUSD’s Prevention and Intervention team, as part of the District’s Speak Up We Care initiative, has developed resources that may be helpful for students and families. This includes information about available IUSD supports, how to talk with children and teens about COVID-19, community mental health providers and resources, maintaining a sense of connection, and other healthy practices. Our staff will continue to be actively engaged with students both academically and in support of social-emotional wellness. More than ever, it is critical that our students sustain a sense of hope, confidence, and optimism. Click here to learn more.
 

Emergency Distance Learning, Assessments, and Instruction

Q: Will Emergency Distance Learning opportunities continue through the end of the school year?
A: Yes, Emergency Distance Learning (EDL) opportunities will continue through the 2019-20 school year. Principals and teachers will consistently communicate with parents and students, so please remain in close contact and reach out to your school, if you have questions or need additional support.

Our principals, with support from District staff, will remain in close contact with their teachers to ensure they have the resources needed as they diligently work to provide distance learning to our TK-12 students. Teachers will continue to have access to school sites as needed, while observing social distancing guidelines, and obtain technogical support, office equipment and other educational resources as needed.

As EDL extends through the end of the school year, district leadership, principals, teachers and staff will continue to work with students and families, soliciting feedback and adjusting instruction to optimize learning outcomes and support our families.

Q: What is Emergency Distance Learning? Do I need to enroll?
A:
Emergency Distance Learning (EDL) refers specifically to days in which school buildings are closed to students and the public due to emergency conditions, but learning is continued off site with the support of classroom teachers and in collaboration with students and parents. During EDL days, students engage remotely in meaningful learning activities that support and continue current classroom learning. Using curriculum tools and technology, our teachers provide opportunities for students to both ask questions and receive feedback on their learning. The overarching goal of an EDL day is continuity of learning and the preservation of academic growth and progress.

Your student is automatically enrolled in EDL and your child’s teacher will supply everything you need to access instruction.

Visit our EDL webpage for additional information and resources.    

Q: What happens if my student is not participating in Emergency Distance Learning?
A:
Student participation in Emergency Distance Learning (EDL) equates to student attendance in class, which is required under compulsory education laws. Site administrators may conduct home visits (following social distancing guidelines) to ensure the welfare of students who have not responded to school communication or participated in EDL.

Q: Since school sites are closed for the remainder of the school year, how is enrollment being handled?
A:
School site staff are continuing to enroll students for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. Visit our Enrollment webpage for additional information.  

Q: Will there be Emergency Distance Learning options over the Spring Break?
A:
There will be no Emergency Distance Learning over Spring Break. Spring Break for year round schools is March 23 to April 3, and March 30 to April 3 for traditional schools.

Q: What is IUSD doing to support students with IEPs?
A: 
As IUSD continues to provide learning opportunities during this public health crisis, we are committed to supporting students receiving IEPs and other supports. Under the guidance of the California Department of Education (CDE) and the U.S. Department of Education, the District is collaborating with our teachers and support staff as we work to meet the needs of students with IEPs. CDE has established a workgroup of special education practitioners and other experts to help brainstorm best practices that they plan to share in the coming weeks. We’ll continue to keep our families informed and continually review how we can best support our students with special needs. For questions or concerns, please contact your teacher(s) and principal.

Q: Will my child still have their annual or triennial IEP meeting while the schools are closed?
A:
If your child has an Annual or Triennial IEP due during the time that Emergency Distance Learning is occurring, their case manager/education specialist will be reaching out to you to see if you would like to hold the IEP virtually/telephonically or postpone it and hold it within 30 days of students returning to campus.

Q: My child has related services on their IEP, how will those supports be provided?
A:
If your child receives any related services, such as occupational therapy, counseling, speech and language, etc., those providers will be contacting you to share how they will be supporting those areas of need during emergency distance learning.  This may include, but is not limited to, consultation with parent/staff, direct interaction with your child via virtual platforms or by telephone, and provided activities to be completed in between virtual/telephonic sessions. Anything provided will be in compliance with federal, state, and local health official’s guidance related to social distancing and consistent with the District’s main priority of keeping its students, teachers and service providers safe and healthy.

Q: My child’s school is closed. Will they still be expected to participate in state testing?
A:
No. Governor Newsom issued an executive order last week to waive this year’s statewide assessments in light of the current public health crisis. Students will not participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics, the California Science Test, or the California Alternate Assessments during the 2019-20 school year. The Physical Fitness Test (PFT) has been placed on hold until students return to school.

Q: Will teachers use video or other interactive learning opportunities?
A:
IUSD thanks our students and parents for their patience and partnership. IUSD Emergency Distance Learning is only a few days into this extraordinary situation and our teachers are diligently working to prepare learning opportunities for students. They are working with their peers, our Education Technology team and other District staff to avail themselves of a wide range of tools and resources to support direct and/or interactive learning. Some teachers are already using these tools and students should start to see more of this engagement in the coming days and after the spring break.

Please reach out to your teacher and/or principal for questions or concerns. As mentioned in Superintendent Walker's letter, our sites may be closed but education is not. Staff is working and we are here to help support you and our students during this unprecedented time. For additional information, updates and resources, visit iusd.org/COVID19. If you don't see your question addressed in this FAQ, email info@iusd.org.

Q: How will I know how my child is doing in school without state assessment results?
A:
State assessments are just one of multiple measures of student achievement. As always, your child’s teacher is the best resource for information about their learning needs. Teachers are leveraging online learning tools, including a variety of resources to gather evidence of student learning. Student work samples, checks for understanding, assessments, and course grades can all be used to identify student learning strengths and needs.

Q: Will AP exams still be offered?
A:
Yes. The College Board will offer at-home testing for AP exams this year. Complete details are available here. Highlights include:

  • Students can take a 45-minute online exam at home using any device—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.
  • The AP exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.
  • The College Board is providing free remote learning resources.

Q: How will my child’s teacher(s) grade and give classroom tests remotely?
A:
Teachers will be monitoring student progress in the distance learning environment to check for understanding and identify learning needs. District guidance regarding grading expectations and timelines are currently being developed.  If you have specific questions about your child’s progress or performance on assessments, please contact their teacher(s).

Q: Are the GATE identification and APAAS placement processes impacted by Emergency Distance Learning?
A:
No. All Multiple Criteria Measures (MCM) used in the GATE and APAAS processes were completed prior to the transition to Emergency Distance Learning (EDL). The GATE MCM screening process will be finalized in mid-June and parents will be notified via email at the time if their student is GATE Identified. The APAAS application closes on March 31. Applicants will be notified of program acceptance in mid-April.

Please see the IUSD Gifted and Advanced Learners webpage for additional information and updates: https://iusd.org/department/gifted-and-advanced-learners

Q: What will the impact of school closures be on graduation, student transcripts, and college application and acceptance?
A:
The scope and impact of this crisis will require conversations at the state and national level to address these critical questions.  For that reason, we will continue to communicate regularly and work closely with other school districts and institutions of higher education to determine how to resolve issues that could impact our students, including completion of graduation requirements, college admissions, promotions, commencement, and other end of the year activities. 

Q: What are the district plans for summer school?
A:
At this time, the District is moving forward with plans and registration for summer school. More information will be available shortly. IUSD will continue to monitor the situation and inform our community of any changes.

Student Access to Technology

Q: What are device and internet options for students to connect to Emergency Distance Learning?
A:
Teachers are working diligently to provide lessons that can be accessed from any personal device at home. District Chromebooks or devices are not needed to access Emergency Distance Learning but are available for students who do not have access to devices at home.

IUSD Chromebooks:
If your child does not have a device to use for EDL opportunities, IUSD will provide one. To support social distancing guidelines, the technology checkouts will require an appointment in advance. To request an appointment, please complete this Technology Access Form.

Internet Access:
If your family does not have internet access at home, we will work with you to help you get and stay connected. For more information about free and low-cost internet options, please see our Support Center. If you would like additional support or have other questions about home internet access, please complete the Technology Access Form.

Click here for more information about student access to technology. For additional questions related to devices and connectivity, email helpdesk@iusd.org.

Q: How can I get help with technology issues related to Emergency Distance Learning?
A:
IUSD has step-by-step tutorials available for students and parents for Canvas, Google Classroom, online textbooks and many other educational software programs at http://support.iusd.org. You also may send a request for support to our Technology Help Desk at helpdesk@iusd.org. Please make sure to include your student’s full name, school site, the student’s teacher or course name, and a description of the issue they are having.
 

IUSD Meals and Community Assistance

Q: Will IUSD provide meals to students who need them?
A:
While schools are closed, IUSD will provide breakfast and lunch to any IUSD student in need. Please review the information below carefully as services will change during and after Spring Break:

  • March 23-27: Breakfast and lunch will be available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • March 30-April 3: Food Service will not be available during Spring Break. However, IUSD has connected with our community partner Families Forward, which offers a drive thru food pantry (M-F) 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. with non-perishable items each week. (See below for more details.)
  • April 6- June 5: Beginning April 6, Nutrition Services will provide free breakfasts and lunches to any IUSD student who needs them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the same locations and hours of service currently in place. The meals provided on Monday will include meals for Monday and Tuesday, meals provided on Wednesday will include meals for Wednesday and Thursday and there will be meals provided on Friday. Pick-ups for this new grab-and-go schedule will continue at the same locations listed below from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This change is being made to reduce parent trips and better align our practices with the principles of social distancing.
     
  • Cadence Park School - 750 Benchmark, Irvine
  • Culverdale ES - 2 Paseo Westpark, Irvine
  • Cypress Village ES - 355 Rush Lily, Irvine
  • Northwood ES - 28 Carson, Irvine
  • Oak Creek ES - 1 Dovecreek, Irvine
  • Southlake MS - 655 West Yale Loop, Irvine
  • University Park ES - 4572 Sandburg Way, Irvine
  • Venado MS - 4 Deerfield Ave., Irvine

Meals will be provided for the days and locations listed above at no cost, in the parking lots of these schools, using a drive thru grab-and-go system to support social distancing and safety. Walk-ups are welcome. For families who cannot visit these school sites, email info@iusd.org.  For more information about meals and updates from IUSD, visit iusd.org/COVID19. 

Q: What if my family needs food assistance over the Spring Break or long-term assistance, what are some options?
A:
IUSD has connected with our community partner Families Forward to augment IUSD meals and to help link students and families during Spring Break and long-term food assistance, along with other vital services.

Families Forward has set up a drive-thru food pantry (M-F) 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., located at 8 Thomas Drive in Irvine. The drive-thru stations will provide non-perishable items to families each week, including Spring Break from March 30-April 3. No appointment is necessary. Visit Families Forward for more information.

Families Forward also offers counseling services, housing programs, career services and more. If any family is facing a housing crisis as a result of COVID-19, please click here.

The following resources also offer supports to families (language support services available):

  • Second Harvest Food Bank – Can help connect families to food resources in general and during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • 211 OC – Is a resource center to link families to a variety of Orange County services, including food, the CalFresh program, housing, military and veteran services, and more.
Childcare

Q: Is childcare available?
A:
Childcare programs for IUSD families are run through the Irvine Child Care Project (ICCP), which is a community based program. Click here for more information and contacts. As of April 6, below is the status of ICCP sites:

Directives from Authorities and Expert Health Agencies

Q: What are the recent executive orders and guidelines issued by authorities and expert health agencies?
A:
In recent weeks, the State of California escalated its efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, through the executive order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, calling for California residents to stay at home, with exceptions for attending to essential needs. A presidential Major Disaster Declaration also acknowledged the scope of this crisis and bolstered California’s emergency response efforts.

Locally, the Orange County Health Care Agency tightened restrictions on public and private gatherings and the Orange County Superintendent of Schools, Al Mijares, expressed his support for Orange County school districts to extend school closure dates. “Keeping children home from school is a drastic measure, one that shows how seriously health officials and educators are taking this public health threat,” said Mijares. “We must do our part now to flatten the curve.”

On April 1, 2020, Governor Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Thurmond announced that all California schools will remain closed to students through the end of the 2019-20 school year, as a result of increased COVID-19 cases throughout the state. 

Q: Who is making health and policy decisions related to COVID-19 for our County?
A:
The executive order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, calling for California residents to stay at home, with exceptions for attending to essential needs, is a statewide order. A presidential Major Disaster Declaration also acknowledged the scope of this crisis and bolstered California’s emergency response efforts.

In line with these orders and measures, the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) recently tightened restrictions on public and private gatherings. OCHCA is required by California law to take measures necessary to prevent the spread or occurrence of additional cases of specific diseases or any other contagious, infectious, or communicable disease. As part of this mandate, OCHCA is responsible for health and related policy decisions.

OCHCA is working with and taking guidance from the Governor, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to inform and support our state and county, including IUSD. For questions about COVID-19, County health guidelines, travel advisories, quarantines and other government agency related questions, visit or call:

Q: Who do I contact regarding Orange County or Irvine COVID-19 cases?
A:
The Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) is responsible for questions and information related to COVID19 cases for our city and county.  Please visit their website at ochealthinfo.com.  As a school district and in accordance with student and other privacy laws, IUSD cannot and will not communicate this information.   

Q: Is IUSD coordinating with other agencies?
A:
IUSD continues to monitor the situation and closely work with expert health agencies and other local and state agencies. In addition, Orange County TK-12 schools, private schools, universities, colleges, municipalities and other local agencies are participating in weekly conference calls led by the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) to ensure all have the same accurate information.

Prevention and Mitigation

Q: How can parents and students help prevent illness?
A:
Please adhere to the following guidelines from CDC:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Click here for handwashing tips from the CDC.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough into your elbow/upper arm and teach these habits to your children.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get the flu vaccine every year.
  • More healthy habits can be found by clicking here.  Follow all expert healthcare agency guidelines.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Q: What are social distancing guidelines?
A:
Expert health agencies advise that to effectively support social distancing and the extraordinary measure of closing schools, students should stay home and minimize social contact as much as possible to keep caregivers and adult family members safe. While children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus, these steps are critical in supporting public health as they can transmit the virus to those most vulnerable.

Public health officials recommend that families make arrangements for childcare during closure that avoid leaving children with elderly people who are more vulnerable to the impact of the virus.

Staying Connected to IUSD

Q: How will I receive information from IUSD and schools and where do I go for questions?
A:
Although the District Office and school sites are closed to the public, education is an essential service and our sites remain staffed, while following all expert health agency guidelines. For questions related to your school, please call the front office. If you have questions for the District, after reviewing the information on iusd.org/COVID19, including this frequently asked questions (FAQ) page, email info@iusd.org.

Schools and IUSD will continue to stay in touch with families during this time by email or other forms of established communications. Updates will be regularly posted on iusd.org/COVID19 and IUSD social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

Make sure your contact information is up to date in the Parent Portal. If you have unsubscribed to District or school emails, you will not receive updates. To re-subscribe, email helpdesk@iusd.org.