Message from the Superintendent

July 24, 2020

Dear Orange Unified Community,

The OUSD Board of Education approved our Re-imagining/Reopening Schools Plan at their regular meeting last night. This comprehensive plan will guide the new school year and addresses health and safety protocols and robust educational options for students for the 2020-2021 school year. While we currently anticipate opening with 100% distance learning, we also have planned blended and full-day instructional models that will be offered as soon as we are permitted to do so.

The Orange Unified School District is prepared to pivot between the following instructional plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Phases will be determined based on local, state and county health department guidance. We are currently in Phase 1.

Phase 1: 100% Virtual Learning

  • All students engaged in daily synchronous (live) online instruction with teachers.

Phase 2: Modified In-Person Instruction Options for Families

  • Full-day on-campus instruction
  • 100% Virtual
  • Blended Model (TK-6 only)

Phase 3: Normal Operations Resume

  • Possible if the state of California moves to Stage 4 and the Orange County Healthcare Agency states that conditions support in seat instruction without the need for social distancing

100% Virtual Learning Option: Full Year, Regardless of Phase (Secondary Only)

  • Students can choose the Secondary EDGE Virtual Academy for virtual learning option
  • Specialized curriculum designed specifically for virtual learning
  • Classes taught by Orange Unified School District Teachers

The instructional models approved last night are available options for all families, including those of students with disabilities. Additionally, to address the specialized needs of students enrolled in the District’s self-contained special education classes, families will have the option to access a traditional five day in-person model, when students are allowed to be on campus.

If a student has related services such as occupational therapy, counseling, speech and language, etc., the District plans to offer those services in person, on site, to the fullest extent possible, when students are allowed to return to campus, irrespective of the instructional model option selected by the family. During Phase 1, virtual learning, related services providers will be contacting families to schedule virtual related services to the fullest extent possible.

Parents, to help us plan for adequate staffing and social distancing measures, please be sure to fill out the educational option form that you should receive from your principal.

The presentation regarding the reopening of schools is available online at Additional information will be shared next week.

Per Governor Newsom’s announcement on July 17, all public and private schools in California counties on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list shall suspend on-campus instruction until monitoring criteria from California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is met to reopen.

According to Governor Newsom’s Pandemic Plan for Learning and Safe Schools, Orange County must meet CDPH criteria before Orange Unified schools can consider resuming on-campus instruction when the 2020-2021 school year begins on August 19.

When schools are permitted to open, the CDPH practices for Health and Safety will be followed. Orange Unified staff has spent the past few months preparing to reopen schools following all CDPH, Orange County Health Care Agency, and Cal-OSHA safety guidelines. This preparation will allow us to offer full-time on-campus instruction to interested families as soon as it is safe to do so per the Governor Newsom’s directives. Virtual, in-person, and hybrid options will be offered seamlessly to all students based on current health conditions in Orange County and established by the CDPH.

Given the importance of the topic and to allow adequate time for the Re-imagining Schools Presentation and corresponding public comment, the Board of Education Voted 7-0 to post non-agenda public comments on the district website. A total of 166 public comments were received at the July 23 Regular Meeting, and the Trustees heard a summary of the topics that were submitted for non-agenda public comments. All submitted comments are available for public viewing at


Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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