July 13, 2020 Announcement
Dear TUSD Community,
It’s hard to believe how the last four months have changed our lives—two national crises that included a pandemic outbreak and acts of inequity and violence. In response to both, TUSD has been reflecting and listening to those most affected with empathy and concern. We’ve learned the following:
- Our schools are much more than a learning institution. They provide daily care and supervision, social-emotional supports, nutrition, and a safe place for students.
- Every family has a unique story. No one learning plan can accommodate every student or household.
- Acts of prejudice and bias have occurred in TUSD as shared to me by students, staff, and parents.
Following the closure of schools in mid-March, my administrative team and I immediately directed efforts to create multiple learning models for the 2020-21 school year. Knowing our students and families longed for a return to “normal” and a schedule they were accustomed to, we began preparing a plan that would uphold social-distancing protocols to keep students and staff safe and thriving in a traditional format. However, as time passed this summer and the number of positive cases in our County significantly increased, we anticipated distance learning models might become likely. Simultaneously, communities were coming together to advocate for unity while supporting each other’s differences. It’s been a very difficult, and likely historical, time for many.
As of today, it was determined that in-person instruction will not be permitted. Based on requirements announced by State and County Public Health Officials, Turlock Unified will resume school online. This requirement is based on the increase in COVID infections in Stanislaus County and Statewide. Specific direction to Stanislaus County Superintendents included only distance learning for our August 12th start date. Sadly, this is not what TUSD had planned; however, it’s where we are in real time so we will now re-direct our efforts toward distance learning (DL) while supporting TUSD’s Hybrid Independent Learning Model. The DL model allows students to “engage” in a daily school schedule on a regular basis. The Hybrid Independent Model will allow students to engage in self-paced learning that may utilize the Edgenuity platform.
We remain optimistic about returning students to campuses as science and/or data permits. Our planning for a phase-in return includes personal protective equipment and social-distancing protocols. For now, our efforts will shift to ensuring all students have technology and Wi-Fi access to engage successfully, as well as providing resources/support to staff and parents. We will be in contact with families to provide more information on next steps and what distance learning will look like. Virtual Community Forums for families to share their input on distance learning is planned for Wednesday, JULY 22 from 11 a.m.-Noon & 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Both forums will provide the same content. More information will be provided.
And finally, I hope this communication finds every member of our TUSD community well and safe. I hope you and your families feel encouraged and respected and understand this temporary school year format is more robust than that provided last spring when we were hurried to close schools and take shelter. We’ve learned much and planned extensively since early spring. Our expectations are greater as well as our commitment to keeping students and families connected to learning, meeting the needs of all students including our English Learners, students with disabilities, and homeless/foster youth and providing social-emotional resources, nutrition, and necessary interventions and enrichments. Your confidence and patience is a critical component of a successful school year start for all stakeholders in our District.
Dana Salles Trevethan