ALVORD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Distrito Escolar Unificado de Alvord

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A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Members of the AUSD Community,


If you missed this past Wednesday's Special Meeting of the Board of Education, Alvord's Trustees voted unanimously to reopen elementary schools for in-person instruction for students and staff in the hybrid program on Monday, March 22, 2021. The Board also voted unanimously to reopen secondary schools for in-person instruction for students and staff in the hybrid program on the Monday following the county's transition into the Red Tier, but no sooner than Monday, March 22, 2021.


Only elementary schools are eligible to open in the Purple Tier, which Riverside County remains in as of this past week. Middle schools and high schools are eligible to reopen in the Red Tier. The good news is Riverside County continues to trend towards the Red Tier as COVID metrics improved again this past week. The Adjusted Case Rate is now down to 11.3 (Red Tier is between 4.0 - 7.0). The Positivity Rate is already in the Red Tier at 5.8%.


Watch the presentation and discussion from the March 3, 2021 Special Board Meeting below.

Superintendent's Presentation-Reopening Alvord Schools

Below are the questions most frequently asked this past week:


Why are schools being reopened now?
Elementary schools in Riverside County have not been eligible to reopen until February 23, when the county case rate met the new threshold for elementary schools to open in the Purple Tier under the Governor's new plan. Secondary schools will be eligible when the county transitions to the Red Tier.


Do students have to come back to school?
No. Families have the choice to remain virtual if they choose to continue to learn at home. Students in the Virtual Academy and those in the hybrid program who chose virtual on the second semester survey will continue to learn from home. Principals will provide additional details on the instructional model in the days and weeks to come.


Why not remain virtual this year since there's only about 25% of the school year left?
Some students are really suffering emotionally without the support of in-person school. Some are struggling to learn too. Some have not consistently attended on-line school and are falling far behind their peers. Furthermore, social inequities have been exacerbated by distance learning and some of our students and their families have been disproportionally impacted due to circumstances beyond their control. Some students may not be suffering as much as others, but they are anxious to attend in-person school and will benefit from the social interaction with their teachers and friends. Students who choose to continue to learn at home have the option to continue to learn at home without disruption.


Do school districts have to open schools now that the Governor and the Legislature reached an agreement on a school reopening plan?

No. The new law (Senate Bill 86 signed into law March 5) does not mandate reopening schools, but states that “it is the intent of the Legislature that local educational agencies offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible during the 2020–21 school year.” The plan includes $2 billion of incentive grants for districts that open up their schools to at least K-2 grades and to cohorts of underserved students in all grades by April 1.


Incentive grant funds must be spent for any purpose consistent with providing in-person instruction, including Covid-19 testing, cleaning, personal protective equipment, facility needs, staffing costs, and social and mental health supports, including programs to mitigate learning loss now and over the summer. To qualify for the funds, the new law mandates that schools in counties in the Red, Orange, or Yellow tiers offer in-person instruction to all elementary students, as well as to at least a single grade spanning middle and high schools.


In a statement accompanying the new reopening plan, the California Department of Public Health asserted the following:


  • Research across the globe shows that children get Covid-19 less often than adults, and when they do get sick, they get less sick than adults.
  • In studies of open schools in America and around the world, children do not seem to be major sources of transmission — either to each other or to adults.
  • The growing body of evidence is particularly strong regarding lower risks in elementary schools.
  • Even in communities with many Covid-19 cases, we do not see many outbreaks in schools. That’s because the right precautions can stop outbreaks before they start.


Is COVID-testing mandatory for students who return for in-person instruction?
No. Districts are not required to test students and staff without symptoms under the new law. However, school districts are required to offer COVID-testing while a county is in the Purple Tier, but it is still voluntary. We will offer a voluntary testing program and provide a home saliva test kit to all families interested in participating regardless of our tier assignment. The more people that test, the more information local public health official have to monitor the disease. Also, counties that do not meet the state threshold for testing have their adjusted case rate adjusted upward.


Will all staff be vaccinated by the time schools reopen?
Vaccinations are voluntary. School employees have been eligible for the vaccination since January 13 when Riverside County opened up vaccinations for people in 1B (tier 1). Last week, the state announced they will set aside at least 10% of the doses needed to vaccinate teachers throughout the state. We have already received access codes and have provided them to our employees interested in the vaccinations.


What will happen if there is an outbreak on campus?
When a positive test is identified, school administration will notify all families and staff via email. All cases are also reported to public health officials. Parents of students (and any staff members) who meet the criteria for close contact (within 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes) will receive a phone call and an email notification that they may have been exposed as part of the contact-tracing protocol. All close contacts are required to quarantine for 10 days (quarantine begins the last date of contact with a positive case) from the last known exposure before returning to school. School officials will work closely with public health officials to determine the next course of action should multiple cases occur on a single campus. Parents can also monitor cases by regularly visiting our COVID-19 Data Dashboard on our web site.


When will students in the hybrid program know if they're in Cohort A or Cohort B? Cohort assignments, either A or B, will be available on Monday, March 8th through the AERIES parent portal. We will honor all requests by families in the hybrid program who indicated on the second semester survey that they preferred to remain 100% virtual if we reopen our schools for hybrid students (they will be assigned to Cohort D for identification purposes and will continue to engage in distance learning all four days). Here are the details for accessing student cohort assignments in Aeries:


  1. Log onto the Aeries Parent Portal here on Monday March 8.
  2. Choose Demographics tab.
  3. See Cohort assignment in demographics section.


How were the cohort groups selected? Groups were divided by the first half and second half of the alphabet. Then, the groups were adjusted to ensure each classroom was balanced and did not exceed the number of students allowed to meet the 6-foot social distance requirement.


How does the cohort model work?

Cohort A:
Monday & Wednesday: attend school on campus

Tuesday & Thursday: distance learning at home

Friday: asynchronous learning at home and office hours


Cohort B:

Tuesday & Thursday: attend school on campus

Monday & Wednesday: distance learning at home

Friday: asynchronous learning at home and office hours


Cohort D:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: distance learning at home

Friday: asynchronous learning at home and office hours.

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What should I do if the conditions in my home/family have changed and I cannot attend in-person even though I'm in the hybrid program?

Contact your principal or counselor and discuss your circumstances. We respectfully request that families fulfill their commitment, but we realize certain things in people's lives change. Principals will address requests on a case-by-case basis and act in the best interest of our students and everyone's safety.


Where can I see the COVID-19 Safety Plan video?
The videos are posted on the home page of our web site in English and in Spanish. Find them below:

ALVORD Re-opening Overview
ALVORD Reapertura de Escuelas

When will there be more information about reopening?
Principals will communicate directly with their students and families about the specifics related to their campus. While the basic safety protocols and rules will be the same in every school, there will be slight differences based on the physical differences of each campus and the number of students present on campus. Look for information from your principal.


Will there be bussing?
Yes. The only question that remains is if we will be able to provide it immediately upon returning on March 22. The primary challenge is securing our bus fleet since we contract with a provider for bus service and they too are reopening their business. I will provide an update next week.


Will there be an after school program (Extended Learning)?
Yes. As soon as Riverside County transitions to the Red Tier. We will offer the Expanded Learning Program for students who are on-campus for in-person school that day at all of the schools where we offered the Expanded Learning Program before schools closed, Monday through Thursday until 4:30 pm. The program includes a meal, intervention supports and tutoring, and enrichment activities including physical fitness, arts and crafts, and other creative and fun activities, including coding/robotics in our middle schools.


Will the child nutrition program still provide meals for students not attending in-person instruction?
Yes. Meals will remain free until the end of the school year. Hybrid students on campus will receive meals on-site, and take a “grab and go” lunch at the end of the day for their next day at home. Students who do not attend school in-person will be able to get their meal kits on Fridays. Principals will provide further details on the meal program. Please call the Child Nutrition Center at 951-509-6200 with your questions.


Other Q's & A's for your information....


Are current progress reports available?
Yes. Beginning March 5. Visit the Aeries Parent or Student Portal here.


Is the 2021-22 school year calendar available?
Yes. Find it below in the News Section and on our web site here.


What are key upcoming dates I should be aware of?

Next Progress Reporting Period 2/22/21 - 4/9/21

State Testing Window 03/01/21 - 05/28/21

Spring Break is 03/29/21 - 04/02/21. No classes.

Last Quarter Reporting Period 4/12/21 - 5/28/21

Last Day of School is May 28
K-8 Summer School begins June 7 through July 15 (M, T, W, TH).

Find the entire 2020-21 calendar here.


When is Summer School and what is being offered?
We are excited to offer a Kindergarten - 8th Grade (current 8th graders) Summer Academy. Summer Academy will begin on June 7th and continue through July 15th (no program on July 5th legal holiday), Monday - Thursday. No program on Friday.


ELEMENTARY: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

(lunch provided)

MIDDLE SCHOOL 8:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

(lunch provided)


Summer Academy will be focused on providing targeted support and intervention to our students in the areas of Language Arts and Mathematics by our Alvord teachers and will include enrichment activities from our Expanded Learning staff. Enrichment may include activities in arts, crafts, Science, health, physical activity, and more. Registration for this program will be available when we return from spring break. Watch for messages from your principal.


High schools will provide their own summer programs. Look for information from your high school principal and counselor.


Will there be State academic testing this year?
State testing including CAASPP (ELA and Math grades 3-8 and 11) and ELPAC (English Language Proficiency TK-12 for current English Language Learners only) will still occur in Spring 2021 regardless of whether students are learning from home or are back in classrooms. The testing will be given remotely to students that are still learning from home. Students taking the assessment remotely will be using a video secure browser that has already been installed on all district Chromebooks. Students using their own personal device for distance learning will need to download the video secure browser. The browser cannot record students, it is only designed for teachers to actively monitor students while taking the assessments. Web cams must be in working condition and turned on in order for students to take the assessments. Directions for the browser will be given to students/families. The State Board of Education has requested some modifications that have yet to be approved by the Department of Education, including a possible waiver for the CAST (Science test grades 5, 8, and 11). Testing schedules will vary by school site and will be taking place during the months of March-May 2021. Look for more information from your principal. If you have any state testing related questions, you can reach out to your child's school staff or email Assessment Coordinator, Erin Askier here.


Can I opt out of state testing for my child?
Yes. Parents may opt your student out of CAASPP (SBAC/CAST) testing for the 20-21 school year by submitting a letter to your child's principal indicating your choice to opt out. The letter needs to have a wet signature and delivered to the school site for each child.


What will graduation 2021 look like?
The California Department of Education and Department of Public Health are expected to release guidance soon on graduation ceremonies. We have begun the planning process. As we did last year, we will gather input from students and their families to inform us as we plan the event. We will be bound by the restrictions of the color-coded tier. Hopefully by late May we will have transitioned to the least restrictive tier. The guidance will also apply to promotional events and other traditional year-end large gatherings.


Celebrations....


At our March 4th Board Meeting, we recognized our Red Ribbon Week poster winners. See them and their award-winning art work below in the News Section.


On March 5th, Alvord was recognized by the National Postsecondary Strategy Institute as a recipient of the Power of Hope Award. The award recognizes school districts that engage school counselors in leadership roles that effectively organize and implement grades 6-12 college and career postsecondary enrollment strategies. See more in the News Section below. Great work by our great counselors!


On April 15, Alvord will be recognized by the State as a Model SARB District by the California Department of Education (CDE) and California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance (CASCWA). Only districts with the most outstanding and innovative programs that improve attendance and reduce dropout rates are selected. Alvord has been selected for the third consecutive year.


In closing....


A Thought Exchange on reopening was launched on March 4. Please participate and have your voice heard. The exchange is anonymous. No log-in is necessary. Your thoughts will help us plan for a smooth and safe reopening. Take the parent survey here. Student take the student survey here.


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 soon. Look for additional reopening information in my weekly message as well as from your principal as we approach March 22.


Stay positive. Stay healthy. Be well.


Sincerely,


Allan Mucerino

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REOPENING SCHOOLS FAQ

Stay current by reading and submitting questions to Superintendent Mucerino

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TAKE COLLEGES CLASSES FOR FREE THROUGH RCC AND NCC

The College & Career Access Pathways (CCAPs) are one way for college-ready high school students to enroll in college courses.

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DUAL LANGAUGE IMMERSION PROGRAM RECRUITING KINDERGARTEN

Limited space available. Click on the image to visit the DLI web site or call 951-509-5094

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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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COVID-19 Vaccine Update 011421
Vaccine 2nd Dose
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

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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