ALVORD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Distrito Escolar Unificado de Alvord

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A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

Dear Members of the AUSD Community,


Yesterday, March 20, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) updated K-12 Schools Guidance to align with the latest science, as reflected by the Friday, March 19 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The state's updated guidance now recommends distancing of at least 3-feet for students in classrooms with universal mask wearing (compared to the current guidance that our school safety plan is based on which states: Under no circumstances should distance between student chairs be less than 4 feet. If 6 feet of distance is not possible, it is recommended to optimize ventilation and consider using other separation techniques such as partitions between students or desks, or arranging desks in a way that minimizes face-to-face contact.


The new guidance also recommends at least 6 feet of distance:


  • Between adults in the school building and between adults and students.
  • In common areas, such as school lobbies and auditoriums.
  • When masks can’t be worn, such as when eating.
  • During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band practice, sports, or exercise. These activities should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.
  • In community settings outside of the classroom.

Given the timing of this new guidance, we will move forward with our current COVID-19 Safety Plan (choose Spanish here) and reevaluate it as further details of the new guidance is presented and operationalizing it is better understood.


The final ThoughtExchange results (see details below) provided a revealing picture of the our school community's feelings about reopening. The impact of the pandemic, in addition to the distance learning experiences of students and their families, are reflected in the range of responses. When we welcome back hybrid Cohort A students tomorrow, Monday, March 22, (B cohort starts Tuesday, March 23), we will continue to adjust to the needs of our students as they transition to this new instructional model. It's important that we give each other, and ourselves, grace as we navigate this latest transition.


This has been a year of transitions. The lessons learned extend well beyond academics as our students, their families, and our staff have all had to grow resilient and adapt to change while doing the best they could under the circumstances. This latest transition to the Red Tier and hybrid schooling is a phase closer to reopening our schools full time for all students, hopefully in the not-too distant future. Students in our Virtual Academy will continue uninterrupted in their program, except for a slight alteration in the daily schedule to align with the hybrid schedules.

DETAILS ON THE COHORT ASSIGNMENTS....

You should have received reopening details specific to your school from your principals this past week using the usual communication platforms they utilize to keep their students and families informed.


Hybrid student cohort assignments are available on the Aeries parent portal.


  1. Log onto the Aeries Parent Portal here.
  2. Choose Demographics tab.
  3. See Cohort assignment in demographics section.


Students have been divided into Cohort A or Cohort B. Hybrid students who are not returning to campus have been assigned to Cohort D.


In order to provide equitable access and opportunities for daily, live instruction with their teachers, hybrid students are assigned the following instructional schedule:


Cohort A:

  • Monday and Wednesday: In-person learning at school.
  • Tuesday and Thursday: Distance learning at home through Google Meet/Zoom while Cohort B students are physically present in the classroom.


Cohort B:

  • Tuesday and Thursday: In-person learning at school
  • Monday and Wednesday: Distance learning at home through Google Meet/Zoom while Cohort A students are physically present in the classroom.


Cohort D:

  • Monday through Thursday: 100% Distance learning at home through Google Meet/Zoom

All Cohorts on Friday:
  • Asynchronous assignments and intervention and support during office hours (in the same format we have had all year).

BELL SCHEDULES FOR THE HYBRID PROGRAM...

Start times and dismissal times for some of our elementary schools may vary slightly. The middle school and high school schedules are the same at all middle schools and at all high schools (see below).
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THE SAFETY PLAN BASICS...

  • Physical distancing: Campus spaces (4-6 feet) and classrooms (6-feet) are designed for students and adults to maintain the maximum distance possible given the space and amount of time expected to be spent in that space. Barriers and table/desk shields are used to add an additional layer of safety.
  • Outdoor spaces: Utilized whenever and wherever possible.
  • Hand hygiene: Frequent hand-washing with soap and water will be encouraged.
  • Hand sanitizer stations: Available all over the campus and in classrooms.
  • Temperature checks: All students' checked upon entry. Families are expected to monitor students' health and keep them home if they have a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater, or any signs of illness.
  • Exposure: If a student or staff member has close contact with someone known to have SARS-CoV-2 infection, they are expected to quarantine for at least 10 days from the day they were in close contact (Close contact means being within 6 feet of the person for a total of at least 15 minutes within a 24-hour period).
  • ​​Symptoms at school: Schools will take the temperature of anyone who feels ill during the school day. Schools have a specific Care Room to separate students who don't feel well.
  • Cleaning & disinfecting: Schools will follow CDPH guidelines on proper disinfecting and sanitizing classrooms and common areas, including nightly Clorox 360 and deep cleaning every Friday.
  • Bussing: Bus riders are socially-distanced and required to wear a cloth face coverings on the bus. Windows will be partially open. Parents are expected to take their child's temperature before they leave for the bus stop. Temperatures will not be taken by bus driver. Student temperatures will be taken again when they arrive at school.
  • Campus spaces and signs: Marked with one-way arrows and distancing markers on the floor to reduce clustering.
  • Outdoor activities: Using the playground in small groups will be permitted.
  • Cloth face coverings: All students and staff must wear masks or cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth at all times, except when eating or drinking.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON FACE COVERING FROM THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS...

Along with physically distancing and good hand washing, masks or cloth face coverings are an effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many parents have asked me questions or expressed concerns about cloth face coverings. Below are the most common questions and answers from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Can wearing a mask make it harder​ for my child to breathe?

There have been concerns that cloth face coverings can reduce oxygen intake, and can lead to low blood oxygen levels, known as hypoxemia. However, cloth masks are made from breathable materials that will not block the oxygen your child needs. Masks will not affect your child's ability to focus or learn in school. The vast majority of children age 2 or older can safely wear a cloth face covering for extended periods of time, such as the school day or at child care. This includes children with many medical conditions.


Can masks interfere with a child's lun​​g development?

No, wearing a cloth face covering will not affect your child's lungs from developing normally. This is because oxygen flows through and around the mask, while blocking the spray of spit and respiratory droplets that may contain the virus. Keeping your child's lungs healthy is important, which includes preventing infections like COVID-19.


Do masks trap the carbon dioxide ​that we normally breathe out?

No. There have been false reports that cloth face coverings can lead to carbon dioxide poisoning (known as hypercapnia) from re-breathing the air we normally breathe out. But this is not true. Carbon dioxide molecules are very tiny, even smaller than respiratory droplets. They cannot be trapped by breathable materials like cloth masks. In fact, surgeons wear tight fitting masks all day as part of their jobs, without any harm. However, children under 2 years of age should not wear masks since they may not be able to remove them without help. Children with severe breathing problems or cognitive impairments may also have a hard time tolerating a face mask and extra precautions may be needed.


Can masks lead to a weaker immune​ system by putting the body under stress?

No. Wearing a cloth face covering does not weaken your immune system or increase your chances of getting sick if exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Wearing a cloth face covering, even if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, helps prevent the virus from spreading.


How do masks prevent the ​​spread of COVID-19?

When worn correctly, cloth masks create a barrier that reduces the spray of a person's spit and respiratory droplets. These droplets play a key role in the spread of COVID-19 because they can carry SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Masks also can protect you from others who may have coronavirus but are not showing symptoms and who could come within 6 feet of you, which is how far respiratory droplets can travel when people sneeze or cough or raise their voices.

WATCH THE ALVORD SAFE REOPENING PLAN VIDEO IN ENGLISH OR SPANISH...

ALVORD Re-opening Overview
ALVORD Reapertura de Escuelas

COVID-19 TESTING IS VOLUNTARY...

The passage of AB 86 on March 5 eliminated the COVID-19 testing requirements for students without symptoms. But we will still offer a voluntary COVID-19 testing program at no cost to families using a take-home rapid diagnostic antigen test. The test is administered in the home. Results take about 10 minutes. Principals will provide details on how to sign up for the free voluntary program. We will begin the program on April 5 when we return from Spring Break.


Students who exhibit symptoms associated with Covid-19 while on campus will be sent home and encouraged to COVID-19 test and inform the school as soon as they confirm, positive or negative, so the school can follow through with the contact-tracing process and notify anyone potentially at risk.


We are also working with the City of Riverside and our Curative Care Network partners to provide free COVID-19 testing at the following local sites below or from a mobile testing van on our campuses at scheduled times during the week. See the Curative flyers below in the News section or on Peachjar.


Drive-Thru Locations

Mission Grove Drive-Thru Location
Appointments ONLY
Appointment Info

355 E. Alessandro Blvd

Open daily (except holidays)
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed noon – 1 p.m.)


La Sierra Park Drive-Thru Location
Appointment Info

5215 La Sierra Avenue

7 days a week (except holidays)

Open daily (except holidays)
11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (closed 3 – 4 p.m.)

UCR Lot 26 Drive-Thru
Appointment Info

3443 Canyon Crest Dr.
Riverside, CA 92507

Open daily (except holidays)
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed noon – 1 p.m.)


Riverside Sears Building
Appointment Info

6852 Streeter Avenue, Riverside, CA 92504

Open daily (except holidays)
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed noon – 1 p.m.)


Kiosk Location
Appointment Info

3900 Main Street

Open daily (except holidays)
8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (closed 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

UPDATE ON FEDERAL/STATE ACADEMIC TESTING...

In last week's message I explained Alvord's opposition to federal/state academic testing this year due to the lack of validity of the test data, the difficulties of testing students learning from home, the harmful effects of high-stakes testing on students' well being, and the significant amount of time testing would take away from in-person instruction once we reopen tomorrow. We joined forces with the Riverside County Office of Education and many Riverside County school districts and other districts, organizations, and prominent leaders around the state, including United States Congressman and La Sierra High School graduate Mark Takano, representing the 41st Congressional District of California, in formally opposing the federal testing requirement. I'm happy to report that this past Tuesday, the State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the following recommendations from CDE which provides the flexibility that we were seeking in our collective advocacy. The details are as follows:


The California Department of Education (CDE) recommends that the SBE delegate authority to CDE and the SBE Executive Director to prepare a general waiver to be submitted to the US Department of Education, to the extent necessary, to include the following:


School districts may use the most viable option for assessment in their local context that:


  • Are aligned with California Common Core State Standards for ELA and mathematics.
  • Are available to assess students in grades three through eight and grade eleven.
  • Are uniformly administered across a grade span, school, or district.
  • Provide results that can be reported to parents/guardians, educators about individual students, and to the public by school and by district, and are disaggregated by student group.


Look for more details from your principal and our assessment coordinator Erin Askier.

AN UPDATE ON GRADUATION 2021...

We still have not been provided guidance by the California Department of Education and Department of Public Health on graduation ceremonies. We intend to plan both a drive-through ceremony as we did last year, as well as a traditional graduation ceremony, in the event we are in a less restrictive tier. Gathering of large groups are limited by the tier assignment. I will provide regular updates on our plans. It is our intention to provide a formal graduation ceremony if we are able to safely do so. It would have to be approved by local public health officials.

INDOOR AND OUTDOOR SPORTS ARE NOW APPROVED, WITH RESTRICTIONS...

CIF Season 1 sports, January through April, are now underway, indoor and outdoor. See details in the CIF graphic below, updated March 16, 2021. Find more details on the CIF web site here. Find more details on CDPH guidelines for youth sports here.


Among the big news this past week was CDPH's decision to allow sideline cheer after initially not allowing it as of March 18. Band, drum line or other supporting groups are still not allowed to attend sporting events at this time. Additional guidance is forthcoming to address these other youth activities.

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STUDENT THOUGHT EXCHANGE FINAL RESULTS...

Our students provided 2,626 separate thoughts and provided 51,461 ratings. That's a high rate of participation. The ThoughtExchange measures similarities and differences, among other themes. The results reflected not only differences, but extremes. Here are the top five thoughts for the two primary themes:


In the happy and excited to return category, the top five thoughts were as follows:


  • Excited. I am exited to go back to school. I think it is better having class in person than online.
  • Yes, it will help my grades go up because my grades are low right now.
  • It would help if we go back to school. It's important because a lot of kids would learn more and pay more attention in person.
  • I’m excited. I think going back to school is important, because since everyone is at home we’re getting lazy and don’t do our work.
  • I get more motivation to work when I'm at real school.Grades will improve because more people will actually want to work.


        In the not ready to return category, the top five thoughts were as follows:


        • I don't think we should return to schools yet. Not everybody's recovered from the impact the virus has caused and there's a good chance the teachers or students will catch the virus and spread it.
        • I don’t feel well going back to school. I personally am doing way better online due to having the assignments on the classroom page.
        • I’d rather stay virtual Many students have family members with disabilities or they live with elders. It would be devastating if someone catches covid and they don’t survive.
        • We shouldn't go back to school because corona virus is still out there.We wouldn't be able to focus in our masks.Also everyone would get close.
        • Don't feel it's time to go back yet. It's too soon with winter coming in.I feel wait till next year.


        Below is the word cloud for the student exchange. The bigger and bolder the word appears, the more often the word was used.

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        PARENT THOUGHT EXCHANGE FINAL RESULTS...

        Our parents provided 470 separate thoughts and provided 11,212 ratings. The ThoughtExchange measures similarities and differences, among other themes. The parent results reflected not only differences, but extremes, similar to students. Here are the top five thoughts for the same two primary themes:


        In the happy and excited to return category, the top five thoughts were as follows:


        • I'm ready. Because she's ready.
        • I believe it’s really important since I see my child very unmotivated to pay attention to her teacher.
        • I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m not sure how the schools will meet all of the requirements, but I’m glad my child will have a chance to go back.
        • Great isolation from his peers is making him depressed. He cannot focus or learn properly online.
        • Good news my children and I are excited to socialize and accept the new world with all the pros and cons, adapt to all changes without fear.


              In the not ready to return category, the top five thoughts were as follows:


              • If at all possible I would prefer my daughter to stay virtual for the remainder of this school year. At the present time I am still wanting to stay on the err of caution.

              • I disagree with my child returning. There is no way to guarantee that our children won't be exposed to Covid 19 and I don't want to put my child at risk.
              • As a parent I’m disappointed that the reason the schools are reopening is because of money that is being given if they open before April 1st. The safety of our children, community and staff is MORE important than extra money.
              • I feel everyone is under pressure to reopen the schools. Although we need to wait till no more cases are reported. Why risk it? I don’t see the point! I prefer to have a student with low academics then another family member dead.
              • I don’t feel comfortable sending my kids back to school. There’s still no vaccines available for our children.


              Below is the word cloud for the parent exchange. The bigger and bolder the word appears, the more often the word was used.

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              CONGRATULATIONS SCIENCE FAIR AWARD-WINNERS!!!

              Congratulations to Riverside County Office of Education Science and Engineering Fair Award Winners:


              ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:
              Gold Award Winner: Builders from Mars, Johnny Pool (McAuliffe)

              Silver Award Winner: Hardness in Water, Gabriel Evans (Stokoe)

              Bronze Award Winner: Spark-Leen, Bentley Rivera (Orrenmaa)

              MIDDLE SCHOOL:

              Bronze Award Winner: The Breeze, Julian Alonso (Arizona)

              HIGH SCHOOL
              Gold Award Winner: Uranium Radiation, Andrew Pool (Hillcrest)

              AFTER SCHOOL EXPANDED LEARNING BEGINS TOMORROW WHEN WE RETURN

              Expanded Learning is accepting registration forms to attend HALF-Time and PRIME-Time in person for the remainder of the 20-21 school year for students in Cohort A or B. Students at Arlanza, Collett, Foothill, La Granada, McAuliffe, Myra Linn, Orrenmaa, RMK, Stokoe, Terrace , Twinhill, Valley View, and all middle schools are encouraged to register. The program will run from school dismissal until 4:30 PM Monday - Thursday. You can register here.


              Additional details and registration information are included on the flyer in the News section below. We will also continue to provide academic support online for students from 2:45-4:15 Monday - Thursday. Google Meet log in codes are available on the Expanded Learning webpage here.

              BELOW IN THE NEWS SECTION...

              See our 2021-22 School Year Calendar.

              Find the after school program details.

              Find the Thought Exchange LCAP link.

              Find Summer School 2021 information.

              Watch the latest video from RivCo Public Health on vaccinations.

              And much more....

              IN CLOSING...

              On behalf of the Board of Education, we are excited to bring our students and staff in the hybrid program safely back onto our campuses this week. Cohort A on Monday and Wednesday and Cohort B on Tuesday and Thursday.


              Visit the Frequently Asked Questions about reopening on our website here for additional information or to submit a question.


              Stay positive. Stay healthy. Be well.


              And Welcome Back to those of you we will see this week on campus!


              Sincerely,


              Allan Mucerino

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              Congratulations RCOE Science & Engineering Fair Awards

              Congratulations Johnny Pool, Gabriel Evans, Bentley Rivera, Andrew Pool, and Julian Alonso

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              2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

              CALENDARIO DEL AÑO ESCOLAR

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              SUMMER SCHOOL 2021

              Click above or on the images below for more details

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              REOPENING SCHOOLS FAQ

              Stay current by reading and submitting questions to Superintendent Mucerino

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              MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

              Find multiple resources from SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

              THIS WEEK'S COVID-19 RISK LEVEL

              Click on the image below to visit the City of Riverside's COVID-19 Information Web Site

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              ALVORD COVID-19 DATA DASHBOARD

              Click on the image below for more details on COVID-19 data in Alvord

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              WATCH THE VACCINATION UPDATE FROM PUBLIC HEALTH

              English and Spanish versions below.

              COVID-19 Vaccine Update 031121
              COVID-19 Vaccine Update Spanish 031121
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              DONATE TO ALVORD CARES

              ALVORD CARES is committed to support Alvord families suffering from food-insecurity, home-insecurity, or who may be struggling as a result of unemployment or other adverse circumstances.

              FAMILY ENGAGEMENT WORKSHOPS

              View the Family Engagement Home Page Here for the Latest Workshops

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              The Riverside County Department of Education (RCOE) also provides many services for school-age children and their families. Click on the image below or here to visit the RCOE Parent Portal. To browse by topic, click on the links below for detailed information.

            • Child Care for Essential Workers
            • Child Care Assistance and Resources
            • Child Care Finder
            • Head Start
            • Migrant Head Start
            • State Preschool
            • Teen Parent Program
            • Infant/Toddler Special Education Programs
            • GOOGLE CLASSROOM AND TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT

              For more details click above to visit the FAQ and choose Just Technology.

              SEE WHAT'S NEW ON PEACHJAR

              We use Peachjar's digital flyer management solution to deliver important school and community resources to our students and their families.

              CLICK HERE FOR THE SCHOOL DIRECTORY

              Find contact information and connect to each school's web site

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              Have a Question? Submit It Here With Today's Date

              Click on the button above to submit a question or make a comment to Superintendent Mucerino on Google forms. It's anonymous. Your questions will be answered in the FAQ