November 18, 2020
Dear FUSD Community,
I am sure you’ve heard or seen the headlines regarding significant changes across the state, and especially the Bay Area, related to the spread of COVID-19. In the Bay Area, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Napa, and Solano counties all moved to the Purple Tier. While today’s announcement reflects the need for a return to more restrictive measures, it is important to remember that Alameda County Public Health is the authority for our local restrictions. On Monday, as part of its larger press release, Alameda County Public Health released the following statement about schools, “Any school that currently has students attending classes in person may continue to do so. Effective November 18, no additional schools may open for in-person instruction, and Alameda County is not offering a waiver process for elementary schools. Schools that are not open are encouraged to utilize the State’s school-based small cohort guidance (State’s FAQ). Alameda County Health Care Services Agency in partnership with the Alameda County Office of Education will continue to support local schools with guidance and technical expertise.” If you’d like to review the entire ACPH statement, it is linked here: ACPH Statement
As I’m sure you’ll agree, education is considered an essential business and thus we are permitted to continue doing the important work of providing a high-quality distance learning program, providing meals for students, and ensuring that when school sites are used to deliver distance learning experiences that they are properly cleaned and sanitized.
Additionally, the California Interscholastic Federation stated today that the California Department of Public Health’s much-anticipated regulations for youth sports guidance would be delayed based on the movement of so many counties to the Purple Tier. Thus, the current guidance remains in effect. We will make some additional modifications to our athletic conditioning programs to ensure they are maximizing all safety efforts, only using outdoor spaces, not sharing any equipment, along with all other mandated protective measures.
Last week during our Board of Education meeting, we were scheduled to discuss a future return to campus. As you may recall, I shared information and links to the presentation to this discussion in my previous newsletter. Due to time constraints, the decision was made to table the return to campus discussion for our December 16th Board Meeting. In that spirit, none of the dates for a return to campus were ever intended to be absolute. As evidenced today, things are very much subject to change. As a community and as a school district, we must be nimble in our thinking and our planning.
We will continue with the important work of developing comprehensive plans for a safe return to campus so we can be prepared for a time in the future when it may be safe to return staff and students to campus. While none of us may know when that exact moment will arrive, we can continue our collaboration and preparation for such circumstances. Until then, I offer my continued gratitude and appreciation for all the incredible efforts of our staff as well as your commitment to working as a partner with us to support student learning.
I am hopeful the recent shift to more restrictive measures serves as an affirmation of our collective responsibility to practice proper techniques for health and safety precautions, wearing masks properly, using physical distancing, and working together to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
School Resource Officers
As noted in my prior communications, it is always my intent to provide timely and factual information to our community. On occasion, the subject matter of such communication can be something that generates discussion and debate. In this case, I wanted to provide an update that during the November 12, 2020, Board of Education meeting, the decision was made to end FUSD’s agreement with the City of Fremont to keep our current School Resource Officer Program. As FUSD moves forward with building other structures of support for school safety and student wellness, while reshaping practices and protocols, we also acknowledge and appreciate that although SRO’s won’t be on campus each day moving forward, a successful collaboration with the Fremont Police Department must remain.
This subject has generated a great amount of interest within our community, just as it has across the Bay Area with other school districts who had or continue to have School Resource Officers. Regardless of your individual support and/or opposition to this decision, I am hopeful you join me in offering our thanks to the officers who have committed so many years of their time and energy to the service of our community and our schools. As I’ve shared in other messages, regarding other topics, what happens in our larger community will always impact our schools in some manner. While the SRO program may no longer be in place, as a community, and as a school district we must rely on many measures and a wide range of agencies to support the overall safety and wellbeing of our staff and over 34,000 students.
I have heard from many of our community members on this important topic. If I have not yet had a chance to respond, please know that I do value your communication and I have read your messages.