MVLA Update

March 25, 2020

Dear MVLA Families and Friends,


The changes in our daily lives due to the impact of the COVID-19 have been significant. Despite the challenges with sheltering in place and navigating the lists of essential businesses and acceptable reasons for leaving our homes, our community has come together as one. With today's directive from the county that our schools are to remain closed through at least May 1st, we are going to need to continue to work together.


Our MVLA team has worked tirelessly to transition from in-classroom instruction to learning in a virtual environment. Our teachers stepped up to the challenge. Our students and families are also offering their own creative and innovative solutions for caring for themselves, their families, and friends and neighbors who - more than ever - need these personal (albeit at a distance) connections.


I am grateful and proud to be part of a community that puts their students first. Below, you will find a compilation of resources and information that can help all of us. We will continue to post our updates to our COVID-19 information page and have recently added a number of materials to our Resources Section.


With thanks,


Dr. Nellie Meyer

Superintendent

COVID-19 UPDATES

With ongoing community transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the latest directive from Santa Clara County's health officer and county superintendent, along with six other Bay Area communities, is to extend school closures through at least Friday, May 1.


As the community continues to follow the March 16 order from the Public Health Department to shelter in place, notification regarding potential contacts to cases will no longer be provided, and school districts are not required to provide any notifications. Everyone, except for those providing or receiving essential services, should be staying home, especially anyone who is feeling ill. Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider for further guidance before going to the doctor. Only the severely ill should seek care at an emergency room and should, if at all possible, call first. The County will continue to provide updates on its website.


The City of Mountain View is also offering regular updates about COVID-19 response and resources. Residents may text 'MVCOVID' to 22828 to have the digest sent right to their emails every day. Here is the link to the latest issue.

DISTANCE LEARNING

Our teachers and educators are using Google Platform as our distance learning platform. They are using Zoom to conference with their students. You will continue to see more interaction via Zoom as well as information delivered virtually through Google Hangouts. This allows teachers to create virtual classrooms, distribute assignments, grade, and provide feedback. Students are able to log in from any computer or mobile device, and can interact with their teachers throughout the day. Learn more about Google Classroom here.


It's important to note that online learning cannot replicate in-person teaching, but we are focused on making sure all of our students have equitable access to learning this way. Instruction is being delivered with a phased-in approach. Here's what to expect for these first two weeks:

  • We are planning for no more than 100 minutes per school week of student work.
  • We will assign work for no more than four of the five school days.
  • All weekends will be homework-free.
  • We will focus on reviewing previous instruction and providing students feedback on improving performance.

MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS SUPPORT RESOURCES

The recent dramatic changes to our lives can certainly have an impact on the levels of stress and anxiety we're all experiencing as we figure out the "new normal." We want to reassure our MVLA students that counseling services will remain available.


For MVLA students who currently receive school-based counseling services on campus, we will be contacting them directly to offer optional continuity of care check-ins.​​ This also applies to students receiving services through IEPs. MVLA will be offering optional school-based counseling support for students currently receiving counseling services on a check-in basis from the hours of 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. via Zoom, which is ​HIPAA- and FERPA-compliant. Interested students should fill out this form to schedule a session.


We have additional details on our MVLA supports, along with a full list of local agencies and resources offering crisis support and mental health services to all members of our community available on our COVID-19 information webpage in English and Spanish.

TESTS AND TESTING

SAT and AP Testing: The College Board has canceled the May 2 SAT administration, as well as makeup test dates for the rest of March. They are providing remote supports for AP test preparation and are providing students at-home tests to take. They are posting tutorials as well as updates on cancellations, makeups, and refunds here.


State Testing: All statewide testing for California’s K-12 students has been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year. This means tests that will not be given this year include the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Summative, English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC), and the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE). High school equivalency testing is on hold until testing centers are reopened.

TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES

Students are asked to complete this form if they need access to a Chromebook and/or home internet access while schools remain closed. MVLA will contact families once all items are ready to be distributed. MVLA has qualified for the T-Mobile EmpowerED program, aimed a bridging the digital "homework gap" for low-income students by providing Wi-Fi hotspot devices so they can have access to digital textbooks and other materials off-campus. These hotspots are properly filtered and provide unlimited data. Thanks to our MVLA Foundation for generously funding the monthly costs for these devices.


Comcast is offering low-income families their Internet Essentials package for 60 days for free. Internet speeds will be increased for no cost for all new and existing customers and will remain in place going forward. Applicants can sign up at www.internetessentials.com. The website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FOR ONLINE ENRICHMENT

MVLA would like to provide parents with a curated list of digital resources that families can access at home to extend school learning or for personal enrichment. This list is by no means exhaustive, but represents a broad spectrum of thoughtful educational offerings our teachers and curriculum teams like the most. Check out our list! English / Spanish

FOOD DISTRIBUTION RESOURCES

MVLA has partnered with Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD) to offer weekday grab and go meals to all children 18 and younger. No IDs required. Meals include a bagged lunch, and a breakfast for the follow day. The meals may be picked up weekdays between 11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m. at Gabriela Mistral Elementary located at 505 Escuela Avenue in Mountain View. All Bay Area school districts will continue to provide meals during the COVID-19 closures.


211 Bay Area, a program of the United Way, is a comprehensive information referral services for Santa Clara and five other Bay Area counties. It includes referrals for food programs and food expense assistance. A more extensive list of resources is available on our website in English and Spanish.

HOUSING & FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE RESOURCES

There are a number of local agencies and community service organizations providing financial resources and assistance to area residents; some may require a specific income threshold. Most of these organizations are experiencing a very high volume of calls or online requests and ask for your patience as they may need 48 hours or longer to respond.


211 Bay Area provides an online search tool where you can identify numerous resources for providing financial assistance and emergency financial assistance. See a more extensive list of financial and housing assistance resources available on our website in English and Spanish.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

The need among local families is very high and will remain so for some time. Many of our employees and neighbors have asked how they can help. If you have the means to do so, a number of local organizations are accepting monetary donations to provide grants to organizations such as those listed above and to families directly. These include the Community Services Agency, Second Harvest Food Bank, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and others. (See a partial list in English / Spanish). The City of Mountain View also has a list.


The Governor’s California Volunteers office also has a list of ways residents can safely help their community during these difficult times. View the list in English / Spanish.

BOARD UPDATES

Our Board of Trustees continues to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 situation and its impact to our schools and community. You will find a copy of our presentation regarding our ongoing efforts here. The meeting was conducted via Zoom and included a broad discussion of our many efforts. Our next board meeting will be held on March 30, 2020, also via Zoom. We will begin Closed Session at 6:00 p.m., and Open Session at 7:00 p.m.

IN THE NEWS