October 30, 2020
Dear Students, Families and Staff,
As winter approaches, many preparations are underway to begin a safe transition back to school, hopefully sooner rather than later. Part of that work included the information the District sent out yesterday regarding the learning option parents will need to choose from for their student(s). Schools will be following up with parents to make sure a choice has been made for every student by November 6th. One common question parents ask is, “How is the In-Person/Concurrent Learning model different from Distance Learning if all students will still be learning through technology?” In answering this question, we first ask parents to understand that various hybrid models reviewed and observed in action had significant drawbacks. They included little to no contact between teachers and students on the days students were not on campus and teacher time interacting with students synchronously was reduced by half compared to our In-Person/Concurrent Learning model. In short, after a careful review by many stakeholders, students and staff agreed that while the amount of content covered in Full Distance Learning has been challenging given the limited time available, a hybrid model would make this even more challenging.
Here are three key benefits to the EGUSD In-Person/Concurrent Learning Model:
- Safety and Student Support – The In-Person/Concurrent Learning Model provides ALL students an opportunity to return to school and/or remain in Distance Learning from home. All classrooms and other campus spaces meet stringent classroom environmental and sanitizing guidelines. Personal protective equipment is available for all students and staff at school. Students attending in-person two days per week will have access to valuable student support services including small group and 1×1 teacher interactions, para educator support in certain classrooms, and the availability of live academic and social-emotional support services. Capacity for all students can be met due to the alternating schedule.
- Connection – The In-Person/Concurrent Learning Model provides opportunities for all students to re-engage in-person and interact socially with their teachers, support staff, classmates and school staff. Even though physical distancing will remain important, being able to provide live social interaction can help reduce stress, anxiety and offers students a chance to engage in live communication and rebuild connections.
- Learning Continuity – The In-Person/Concurrent Learning model is designed to maximize synchronous instructional time every day whether a student is physically in the classroom or at home. All students retain their same teachers, keep their same schedules (PreK-1 students will have an adjusted AM/PM schedule), and should health conditions or exposure require one or more students to quarantine, they can transition to Full Distance Learning instead of losing 14 days of instruction. Live in-person interaction can take place with students who are in class in addition to using the Chromebook. Teachers may project their small computer screen to the large screen in the classroom and engage with all of the students both in class and online.
Other learning models did not meet the criteria our District was aiming for to create a safe, equitable and responsive plan and in order to provide high-quality instruction, work with existing staff and limited resources and to offer an in-person experience that maintained learning continuity for all students.
As parents start making their learning model choice for their student(s), we also want to remind everyone that students must have their immunization records up to date before they can return to in-person learning. Parents can check to see if their students’ immunization records are current through the ParentVUE app or by contacting the school.
Lastly, remember that the deadline for parents to choose which learning model to place their student on (Distance Learning or In-Person/Concurrent Learning) is on November 6th and for information on how to make that choice, please visit your school’s website or the District’s COVID-19 web page.
We ask everyone to remain vigilant about wearing a face mask, maintaining social distance and handwashing and for those who can, remember to get a flu shot for you and your family.
Thank you and stay safe and stay healthy,