ALVORD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

OCTOBER 4, 2020

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A Message from the Superintendent

This coming Thursday, October 8, at our next Regular Meeting of the Board of Education, the School Board will discuss a timeline for opening schools for in-person instruction for hybrid students and staff. Based on the metrics reported on September 29, Riverside County has met the 2-week requirement and will remain in the Red Tier (Substantial). Find the latest status update on Riverside County below in the section titled, COVID-19 Reopening Monitoring Data. While schools in the Red Tier are eligible to reopen without a waiver following CDPH/CalOSHA reopening schools guidelines, localized epidemiological data, preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing, and testing in our community are also among the primary considerations for reopening.


Input from our students, families, labor partners, and school site leadership teams are also primary considerations. To that end, we launched our latest Thought Exchange this past Friday. Principals sent a message to all parents and students at their school with a link to the exchange. Each group (students, parents, staff) has its own link. We asked the same question of each group, "How do you feel about students returning to campus on the hybrid model?" For families new to Alvord or unfamiliar with the Thought Exchange, it's a crowdsourcing platform that allows stakeholders to anonymously share their thoughts on a topic of interest to all stakeholders so that decision-makers have candid and unbiased input from everyone who will be affected by the decision. Participants are encouraged to visit the exchange at least once a day to rate new comments that appear or add additional comments of their own. Students can participant in their exchange here and parents here. There is no log-in necessary. It's totally anonymous. It is moderated, however, and comments that are off-topic are removed. Participants also can report comments that are offensive or inappropriate. The exchange is open until midnight, Wednesday, October 7.


As of today, 1061 students have participated. The top five student thoughts are as follows:


  1. I’m a little nervous because I hope people wear masks either way and that it should be mandatory to keep others safe as well just in case. It’s important because we should still social distance and stay clean.
  2. I do not feel comfortable returning to school I know people who have had the virus and I don’t want to get it.
  3. I think it’s unprofessional to return because regardless of the safety regulations some teenagers don’t care and you’ll have cases within a week. It’s important because a lot of us might get it due to someone who was careless and some have asthma or a family household with asthma. It’s not safe.
  4. I understand that the percent for a young person dying is 0.1% but we would still be miserable with it and we could pass it on to older people if we don't know we have it or live with other people. Come on people we are smarter than this.
  5. Yes, it will help my grades go up because my grades are low right now.


Below is a word cloud representing all student thoughts. The larger the size of the word, the more it appeared.

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As of today, 1581 parents have participated. The top five parent thoughts so far are as follows:


  1. Thank you to all the teachers that have been working tirelessly to put their work together. You have done everything possible to educate our children. We appreciate you!
  2. I would rather my son continue doing virtual learning because he is only 6 and doesn’t understand the seriousness of keeping distance. This is important because he can catch the virus and spread it to our entire household.
  3. Take care of our teachers (we know Alvord is great at this!) Teachers are struggling. Reward and take care of them so they can be there the most for our kids! Also support them in being creative and realistic.
  4. We would prefer to finish off 1st semester virtually. My kids just got the hang of it to change it on them once again with only 2.5 month left in this semester.
  5. I think we should stay virtual at least maybe till new year Flu season is coming very soon.


Below is the word cloud for all parent thoughts.

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Find a 3-minute tutorial on how to use the ThoughtExchange below. Choose English or Spanish.
Thought Exchange 10/07
Intercambio de Pensamientos 10/07

The Thought Exchange and the other survey tools we use to gather input are limited since everyone's voice is not always heard. But survey tools are one of many strategies we use to gather stakeholder input. We also rely heavily on principals and their teams to provide detailed input from their respective school communities based on their constant contact with students, staff, and families. Another highly-valued source of input are comments and questions that the Board of Education and staff are asked by stakeholders. Together, the collection of input from a variety of diverse sources provide the School Board and staff with a well-rounded picture of our reality.


Practically all of the questions I have received this week relate to reopening. Here are the most frequently asked questions and my answers.


When will the Board make the decision to reopen schools? During a scheduled Regular Meeting of the Board of Education this coming Thursday, reopening schools is on the Agenda as a discussion item to debate the risks and benefits of reopening and consider input from stakeholders. No action will be taken on Thursday. I expect a Special Meeting of the Board of Education will be scheduled for the following Tuesday, October 13 to take action.


Why wait until October 13 to take action? Two primary reasons: (1) the state will have released its third week of data relative to the county's status in the Red Tier; and (2) the Board will have been afforded the time to thoughtfully consider and understand all of the information and input from the October 8 discussion.


If schools were to reopen for in-person instruction, what would the earliest date be? November 2, because it's the Monday following the end of the Second Reporting Period (October 30) and would provide families and staff 2 1/2 weeks to prepare.


Does elementary, middle, and high schools all need to reopen at the same time? No. The dynamics are different at each grade level, as exemplified by waivers being available at the elementary level only. At the TK-5 level, students and teachers/staff stay together throughout the school day, which minimizes exposure for everyone across the school environment. By limiting cross-over of students, teachers, and staff, exposure to or transmission of COVID-19 is minimized. Also, contact tracing, targeted testing, quarantine, and isolation of a single cohort instead of school-wide measures in the event of a positive case reduces the potential impact of an outbreak. The cross-over of students, teachers, and staff at the 6-12 level is also limited and controlled through a block schedule (3 classes per day instead of 6), but there is more cross-over and mixing than at the TK-5 level and there are more students and staff on campus at any given time since our secondary schools are larger.


How will the daily schedule change for TK-5 hybrid students and their teachers if schools do reopen for in-person instruction? Currently, all TK-5 students meet with their teachers on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for instruction, and have the option to meet with their teachers during daily office hours. Friday's are used to offer specific supports, teacher office hours, and/or supplemental instruction opportunities (i.e. music, PE, intervention). When hybrid in-person instruction begins, TK-5 students will meet with their teachers two days a week (either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday) for the entire school day. On the days students are not in attendance, they will complete asynchronous work assigned by their teachers. Students will retain their laptops and use them to access curriculum and communication. Friday remains a day teachers offer open hours as currently scheduled to provide additional support as needed.


How will the daily schedule change for 6-12 hybrid students and their teachers if schools do reopen for in-person instruction? Currently, all 6-12 students meet with their teachers on a block schedule Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for instruction, and have the option to meet with their teachers during daily office hours for support at the end of the school day. Friday’s are an office hours day with designated times to meet with each content area teacher. Students must check-in with each period on Fridays. When hybrid in-person instruction begins for 6-12 students, they will meet with their teachers for periods' 1, 2, and 3 one day a week and for periods' 4, 5, and 6 the other day of the week in a block schedule format (either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday). On the days students are not in attendance, they will work independently on lessons and tasks assigned by their teachers. Students must check-in to designated periods on days they are working independently, as well as each period on Friday. Students will retain their laptops and use them to access curriculum and communication.


If schools do reopen for in-person instruction for hybrid students, can a hybrid student opt out? We built our hybrid/virtual model based on the condition that students will remain in their chosen program for the first semester, at which point students/families can decide if they want to remain in their program of choice for the second semester. If a student's or his or her family conditions or circumstances have changed, please discuss it with your principal. Changes prior to the semester will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and depend on available space and the impact the change may have on the student and the two programs.


If schools do reopen for in-person instruction for hybrid students, can a virtual student switch from virtual to hybrid? As stated in the previous answer, we built our hybrid/virtual model based on the condition that students will remain in their chosen program for the first semester. Also as stated above, changes prior to the second semester will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and depend on available space and the impact the change may have on the student and the two programs.


Does Alvord need approval from the Riverside County Public Health Officer before opening for in-person instruction? No, as long as we remain in the Red Tier for the minimum of 2-weeks, which we will know this coming Tuesday, October 6. Also, school districts are strongly encouraged to work closely with local public health officers to ensure that in-person instruction is conducted in a safe manner consistent with state and local public health guidance.


It seems like there are numerous federal, state, and local official organizations providing guidance. Which set of guidelines are schools expected to follow? Under the operative executive orders (PDF) and 2020-21 Budget Act, schools must comply with orders and guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health and relevant local public health departments.


Will school staff be COVID-tested in Alvord and how often? Yes. All teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, janitors, bus drivers, or any other school employee that may have contact with students or other staff are provided with the opportunity to COVID-test at no cost to them. We will follow the frequency model recommended by CDPH: 100% of staff are tested every 2 months regardless of any symptoms.


Will students be COVID-tested? Students will not be COVID-tested by schools. But, we strongly encourage all students and their families to COVID-test regularly with their health care provider or a state-operated or community testing site. Find a local testing site here. For additional information on testing, see the video from the Director of Public Health below in the News Section and visit the COVID Testing FAQ here. Appointments can be made for any of the County of Riverside testing sites by calling (800) 945-6171. Appointments for the State of California testing sites can be made online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.


Do students or staff have to report results? No. It's strongly encouraged but is voluntary. Schools will only know a positive test result if a student or staff member self-reports.


NOTE ON TESTING: Part of the plan on safely opening the State of California as well as the County of Riverside relies on testing to monitor COVID-19. The more people are tested, the more information local health officials have to track the disease and its affect on specific areas of a community.


Will there be procedures in place for the active symptom screening of students, staff, and other individuals entering campus?

Yes. At this point in time we intend to use hand-held, no-touch thermometers to take every individual's temperature as they enter the school site. However, that may change since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not currently recommend universal symptom screenings (screening all students grades K-12) be conducted by schools. In California, we follow CDPH/CalOSHA guidelines and as of August 3, they still recommend screening for all staff and students entering the facility.


Why does CDC not recommend daily symptom screening of students? According to the CDC, symptom screenings are not helpful in identifying individuals who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic (they have not developed signs or symptoms yet but will later). Instead, CDC strongly recommends that parents or caregivers monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day.


What are the procedures if a student exhibits flu-like symptoms at school? Every school has an isolation space where students can be closely and safely monitored until they are released to their parent/guardian. The family will be encouraged to get COVID-19 tested.


What impact will flu season have on reopening schools? According to public health officials, while it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.


Will families and staff be notified if a student or staff member tests positive? Principals will communicate to all staff and all families if a positive test result on campus is confirmed. Also, principals will communicate with all families of every student who was in close contact (in the same classroom or within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes). Riverside County Department of Public Health officials will be also notified and they will contact the student/family as part of the contact tracing process. Except when reporting to the Riverside County Department of Public Health for contact tracing purposes, every effort will be made to communicate the information in a manner that the student or staff member is not personally identifiable.


Will families and staff be notified if a student or staff member initiates self-quarantine due to confirmed or suspected exposure to a person that has tested positive? No. Only reported positive test results will be communicated to all staff and families.


Do students and staff have to wear face covering? Yes. All children in 3rd grade and above must wear face covering. Face shields for very young children or for children who cannot manage masks. All staff will wear face covering.


What if an individual cannot wear a face covering because of a medical or mental health condition or disability that would impede them from properly wearing or handling a mask, or when it would inhibit communication with a person who is hearing impaired?

Cases will be handled by school principals. Please contact your principal to discuss an exemption.


NOTE ON FACE COVERING: If a student who is not exempt from wearing face covering refuses to wear it, the student will be excluded from in-person instruction and taught remotely in the virtual program.


Do students have to wear face coverings on the bus? Yes. Face coverings are required on buses. While every effort to provide 6 feet of physical distancing on the bus will be made, in some cases it may not be practicable.


If schools reopen for in-person instruction, at what point would a school have to close again? A school would close if 5% of its total population (both students and staff) test positive during a 14-day period. The school would close for a minimum of 14-days.


NOTE ON CLOSING AND REOPENING SCHOOLS: Closing/reopening schools will be done in close consultation with the Riverside County Department of Public Health.


If schools reopen for in-person instruction, will they have to close if Riverside County is moved back into the most restrictive tier (Purple/Widespread)? No, schools will not be required to close. Closure requirements will be based on the 5% benchmark outlined above. However, if six or more schools in Alvord close due to the 5% benchmark, the entire district will be closed, per state guidelines.


Is the district considering opening schools for in-person instruction for small set of students—such as students with disabilities and other students with special needs? Yes. We are currently working with students and their families, as well as staff, to explore options for students with disabilities or special needs.


How will the daily schedule change for TK-5 hybrid students and their teachers if schools do reopen for in-person instruction? Currently, all TK-5 students meet with their teachers on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for instruction, and have the option to meet with their teachers during daily office hours for support at the end of the school day. When hybrid in-person instruction begins, TK-5 students will meet with their teachers two days a week (either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday) for the entire school day. On the days students are not in attendance, they will work independently on homework and other tasks assigned by their teachers. Students will retain their laptops and use them to access curriculum and communication. Friday remains a day teachers offer open hours as currently scheduled to provide additional support as needed.


How will the daily schedule change for 6-12 hybrid students and their teachers if schools do reopen for in-person instruction? Currently, all 6-12 students meet with their teachers on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for instruction, and have the option to meet with their teachers during daily office hours for support at the end of the school day, just like TK-5 students. When hybrid in-person instruction begins for 6-12 students, they will meet with their teachers for periods' 1, 2, and 3 one day a week and for periods' 4, 5, and 6 the other day of the week in a block schedule format (either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday). On the days students are not in attendance, they will work independently on homework and other tasks assigned by their teachers. Students will retain their laptops and use them to access curriculum and communication. Friday remains a day teachers offer open hours as currently scheduled to provide additional support as needed.


If schools do reopen for in-person instruction for hybrid students, can a hybrid student opt out? We built our hybrid/virtual model based on the condition that students will remain in their chosen program for the first semester, at which point students/families can decide if they want to remain in their program of choice for the second semester. If a student's or his or her family conditions or circumstances have changed, please discuss it with your principal. Changes prior to the semester will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and depend on available space and the impact the change may have on the two programs.


If schools do reopen for in-person instruction for hybrid students, can a virtual student switch from virtual to hybrid? As stated in the previous answer, we built our hybrid/virtual model based on the condition that students will remain in their chosen program for the first semester. Also as stated above, changes prior to the second semester will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and depend on available space and the impact the change may have on the two programs.


For the second semester, when will students/families have to decide if they want to remain in their current program or switch? October 30. All students/families will be asked to complete a survey sent by their principal. The reason why we need to know by October 30 is to ensure there is enough time to properly plan and reschedule students.


Is the district considering moving the second semester start date from the current January 4 date to later in January since COVID-19 data from the holiday season will not be known for at least 2-3 weeks after New Years Day? Depending on the conditions and our tier at that point in the year, I expect we will consider revisiting our second semester start date.


On behalf of the Board of Education, please know that the decision to reopen schools for in-person instruction, and when, will be made thoughtfully and in consideration of the core indicators, stakeholder input, and the implementation of key mitigation strategies.


Thank you for your support. We value your input and appreciate your partnership. Our children are the beneficiaries.


Stay healthy and be well.


Allan Mucerino

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ENCOURAGE READING
The ultimate goal of National Book Month is to encourage reading — an activity with many proven benefits. Reading can help anyone develop better vocabulary, improve memory, expand knowledge, and lower stress.

RECOGNIZE GREAT BOOKS AND GREAT WRITERS
National Book Month helps recognize the greatest books and authors, which in turn gives young children diverse role models. It's important to show young people that literature and authors are still relevant and important.

ENCOURAGE FAMILY TIME
National Book Month encourages families to enjoy new books together. Reading aloud or discussing new works around the dinner table supports family time and bonding.


How you can observe National Book Month


  1. Start a new book - One of the best ways to celebrate National Book Month is by opening a book you've never read before. It may be your 20th of the year, or your first. Either way, you're embracing what this month is all about.

  2. Share an old book - There are so many powerful, funny, touching and life-changing books out there. Take one of your favorites and share it with someone.

  3. Post on social media - Use #NationalBookMonth to let your friends and followers know what you're up to this month. Tell them what you're reading and why, and encourage them to do the same!
COVID TESTING VIDEO: RIVERSIDE COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH

Covid-19 testing is now available at multiple locations throughout Riverside County. Click on the button above to find a testing facility near you closest and schedule your test.

Antigen tests
Don't miss this Wednesday's virtual workshop titled, Día de los Muertos, Altar Drawing. This project is another celebration of our rich Hispanic heritage. Join community artist, arts advocate, and Alvord staff member Cynthia Huerta to create your own alter drawing. This project is sponsored by the Alvord Unified School District Family Engagement Office.
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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
  • CELEBRATING NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

    Alvord schools are honoring the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

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    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline [Call 800-273-8255 (TALK)] offers free, confidential crisis counseling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People do not have to be in crisis to call. Or text NAMI to 741-741. NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, among the numerous organizations we work closely with to prevent suicide. Another great resource is CareSolace, an online resource with a live 24/7 Help Line designed to assist individuals in finding local mental health related programs and counseling services. Email CareSolace at weserve@caresolace.org or call 888-515-0595. Their counselors speak English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Tagalog and Korean.

    ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2020

    Click on the image below for election tools, deadlines, dates, rules, and links. Deadline to register online to vote is 10/19/20. Deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) 10/19/20.

    The Story of Alvord's 2019-2020 Financial Report
    Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan
    COVID-19 REOPENING MONITORING UPDATE

    We transitioned to Tier 2 on September 22, 2020. The chart below is based on the most current data, reported September 29, 2020.

    CHILD NUTRITION SERVICES UPDATE

    Contact your school's principal for details.

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    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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