Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) staff emphasized their plan to reopen elementary schools no earlier than November and, for secondary schools, no earlier than January. Planning is moving ahead.
At the Board of Trustees Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24, Debbie Jones, Director of Fiscal Services, said they are finalizing the Safety Plan that needs to be approved by the Board before students return to campus. The Board will see the reopening plan at their Oct. 8 meeting and can approve it on Oct. 22. Jones said they are incorporating the new County guidance that was released after the County stayed in the Red Tier for 14 days, now allowing schools to reopen.
When the District enters Phase 2 of their reopening plan and students return, it will be a hybrid model with a full distance learning option. They are surveying families to see if they want their students to return to campus or continue distance learning. According to Jennifer Dericco, the District’s Public Information Officer, the survey will be available in the next week or so. According to Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp, they are keeping equity in mind to make sure students who need to return to campus are among the first able to do so.
Dr. Kemp also announced new dashboards that will be available to the District community when they enter Phase 2. One is a SCUSD COVID-19 Tracker Dashboard that will show the 14-day positivity case numbers and quarantine numbers for staff and students by site. The other dashboard will track compliance with the safety plan protocols.
They also shared that they got the green light to resume giving weekend meals to families. Jones said participation in the nutrition program is on the rise.
At their last meeting, Board Member Vickie Fairchild asked staff to provide demographics of the children invited to the Learning Centers. Assistant Superintendent Kathie Kanavel provided the data showing that the centers are serving a higher percentage of high-risk students.
Additionally, the District is distributing the Learning from Home Survey to gather feedback and data on distance learning with a focus on social-emotional well-being.
California High-Speed Rail Project
The Board heard a presentation from the environmental justice team members from the California High-Speed Rail Project and learned about the effects the project may have on the SCUSD community.
They talked about the differences as well as the benefits and drawbacks between two alternatives: Alternative A and Alternative B.
According to Northern California Regional Director Boris Lipkin, their Board is leaning towards Alternative A. This alternative has no viaduct approach to Diridon Station, instead, it is at-grade and uses the existing railroad right-of-way. This alternative also has no significant noise disruptions to SCUSD schools. There are also no revenue disruptions to the District — on the other hand, Alternative B had some revenue disruptions.
The project’s Final Environmental Impact Report is expected to be done in February 2021.
Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan
The Board held a public hearing on the proposed 2020-21 Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCP). There were no comments during the hearing. The Board will have a short meeting next Tuesday to approve the LCP and turn it in to the County Office of Education before the Sept. 30 deadline.
Kanavel said they already got some revision suggestions from the County and are integrating them into the LCP.
Board Member Andy Ratermann pulled an item regarding Facilitron from the Consent Calendar. The item was to approve the 20-2021 agreement with Facilitron which would add an online work order management system. Facilitron’s system automates maintenance requests associated with events scheduled through its core reservations system.
According to Michal Healy, Director of Facility Development and Planning, the District is also using the system to have teachers and staff on campus check in and out and indicate what classrooms they have used so the Maintenance Department knows where to clean and sanitize. This is something that will be helpful when students return to campus.
They approved the Facilitron agreement, 7-0.
Additionally, many members of the public came forward to ask the Board to hire a new Director for the English Learners program. They have been without a Director since Lorena Tariba retired in July.
The Board also introduced the new Student Board Representatives: Solange Suarez from New Valley High School, Palak Parikh from Wilcox High School, Sydney Silva from Santa Clara High School and Giselle Alvarez from Mission Early College High School.
They closed the meeting in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Santa Clara Unified Board of Trustees meet next for a short meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29 and then the next regular Board meeting is on Thursday, Oct. 8.