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Reopening Announcements

July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020

PGUSD Community

Over the past four months, the Pacific Grove Unified School District leadership has vigilantly monitored the on-going Covid-19 situation, reviewed guidance from local and state agencies, and implemented the best possible practices for our school community. We developed community based, as well as staff; task forces to guide us in the safe physical reopening of
schools this fall; we developed and posted Operational and Academic Re-Opening plans, maintained an updated Covid resources page on the District website, discussed those developing plans at several open Board meetings, and conducted surveys of parents, staff, and focus groups with students. We also held virtual Town Halls/Forums to answer questions and solicit feedback from stakeholders, and maintained very close communication with our colleagues throughout the Monterey County. 

This continues to be an arduous journey for all of us: parents, students, families, staff and Trustees. Every recommendation and decision were made with incredible thought, consideration and collaboration. There is no right answer when it comes to navigating what school will look like in this global pandemic.

Last night, the PGUSD Board of Education voted, on administrative recommendation, to begin the new school year in a tiered, or phased, fashion with a start in full Distance Learning only. The Board also decided to move the first day of instruction to August 12, 2020 to allow for additional teacher training to prepare remote learning activities. This decision was extremely difficult to make as we know that the best place for students is at school. However, starting out in Distance Learning is necessary given the rising infection rates across Monterey County and the lack of on-demand testing available to our school community. The health and safety of our students, staff and community is our highest priority, and we simply cannot physically reopen schools safely under these conditions. This same action has been recommended by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and implemented by a large number of school districts throughout the state and our County. 

I know this is an incredible disappointment to many parents, staff, and especially students. We acknowledge that continuing with Distance Learning will cause hardship to many families, and we remain committed to supporting families in every way possible to ensure that Distance Learning is a success and that basic needs are met. 

In the weeks ahead, we plan to continue our steadfast pace:
• Staff will receive expanded training in Distance Learning to better meet
the needs of students
• Students will receive additional training to become better Distance Learners
• Online support for parents, including parent support sessions, will be increased to make it easier for them to participate in the education of their students
• Principals will continue customized planning for the safest possible reopening
this fall using the Academic and Operational Re-Opening Plans as guides
• Students who require technology will be assisted in a similar manner as last Spring
• Meals will continue to be provided as necessary

We will continue to monitor public health conditions and plan for a return
to in-person learning, either Hybrid or full time, during the 2020-21 academic year when
COVID-19 community spread is under control, and there is regular access to testing with
prompt times.

No one could have imagined the COVID-19 events through which we are currently living! Personally and professionally, I share in the frustration that despite our collective efforts to flatten the curve in the spring we are not in a place to reopen schools safely this fall. We are committed to do everything within our power to ensure that students and staff can physically return to school safely as soon as possible.

On a final, and most important note, I wish to applaud the remarkable poise and dedication exhibited by our school district staff! Our teachers rose to the incredibly difficult task of keeping public education going as we were forced to shutter or facilities back on March 13. They continue to devote their immeasurable professional talent to creating high level instruction for all students in spite of the seemingly insurmountable challenge before us all. Our classified staff supported all our school community members through many selfless acts of service with the goal of keeping our students safe and well cared for at school and at home. Our administrative team relentlessly navigated the barrage of guideline and orders in order to maintain progress and support for everyone in PGUSD. And finally, our Trustees have continued to engage the difficult conversations and make the best decision possible in support of all our students, families and staff. 

Thank you for your continued confidence and support of PGUSD, and your patience as
we continue to plan for the best outcome that meets the health and safety needs of students
and staff. Please feel free to reach out at if you have questions.

Yours in Education,

Ralph Gómez Porras
Superintendent

*Tiered Re-Opening Plan Approved by School Board on July 16, 2020 Next Page:

 
PGUSD Administrative Recommendation for Tiered Re-Opening Schools 2020

Several County Offices and Districts throughout California, and the nation, have noted key areas for review prior to returning students to campuses, which include:

  • Level of access to testing for staff and families with rapid response times
  • Reduction in positive cases/reduced community spread in local and County areas
  • Access to health professional guidance and clear direction from local and state agencies
 
Based on review of Monterey County Health information and cases, review of procedures with County Health Department and discussion with neighboring school districts, the administration recommends a tiered approach to the 2020-21 PGUSD school year (*all dates listed are target dates and may change depending on current data):
 
Tier #1: August 12 (later start for teacher Prof Development) - October 19, 2020 (end of Fall break)
  • Distance Learning for all students initially
  • Limited on campus in-person learning opportunities for identified students in small groups, as recommended by teachers and with physical distancing and all mitigation measures in place
  • Implementing clear expectations from the State/District regarding distance learning and accountability
  • Childcare provided for staff children (TK-8), at reduced rate, who are required to work from sites 
  • Gradual return to Hybrid learning models (as presented) pending data that suggests a safe return and that measures can be met in the community
 
Tier #2: October 19, 2020 – January 5, 2021 (end of winter break)
  • Hybrid models implemented District-wide, as presented in Re-Open plans and adjusted for current situation, with all recommended protocols in place
  • Maintain Distance Learning option for families that require it, based on any new guidelines initiated by State/Local agencies
  • Limited on campus in-person learning opportunities for identified students in small groups, as recommended by teachers and with physical distancing and all mitigation measures in place
  • Childcare provided for staff children (TK- 8), at reduced rate, when children are not at school
  • Return to full time in person learning model as data and science suggest safety measures can be met in the community, or ordered to do so by State
  • Pending data, information and directives from State and County governments it may be necessary to return to tier 1 procedures
 
Tier #3: January 5, 2021 - June 2021 (end of calendar year)
  • Return to full time in person learning based on data and science with all recommended protocols in place
  • Maintain Distance Learning option for families that required it, based on any new guidelines initiated by State/Local agencies
  • Continue to monitor data and adjust model according to data and health professional guidance
  • Pending data, information and directives from State and County governments it may be necessary to return to tier 2 or tier 1 procedures