OCTOBER 18, 2020

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A Message from the Superintedent

This past Tuesday, during a Special Meeting of the Board of Education, the School Board delayed reopening schools for in-person instruction for the remainder of the first semester. Watch the meeting in English or Spanish by clicking on the image below. Click here to view the announcement on the decision.

January 19 has been set as a tentative date to reopen schools for in-person instruction for all students and staff in the hybrid program. Families have between October 19 and October 30 to choose between the hybrid and virtual program for the second semester (see more details on choosing hybrid or virtual later in my message).

AUSD Special Board Meeting October 13, 2020 6 PM
*En español* AUSD Special Board Meeting October 13, 2020 6 PM

The most frequently asked questions I've received since Tuesday's meeting are as follows:

Why did the district decide to delay in-person instruction?

The decision was a difficult decision and was made only after careful consideration of stakeholder input and the latest science, data and facts related to the risk versus the benefit of reopening for in-person instruction. With over two-thirds of the first semester behind us, many students and their families, and many staff members, felt strongly that continuity of teaching and learning, as challenging as distant learning is for everyone, outweighs returning at this point in time, given the COVID-19 risk indicators locally and in the County. While no one can accurately predict future conditions, risk indicators continue to trend in the wrong direction and all indications are that the outlook will not improve significantly enough for schools to safely reopen and remain open as we enter the flu season and the holiday season.

Why did the district choose January 19 as the tentative date to reopen for in-person instruction?

Our second semester will still start on January 4, but instruction will remain remote, until at least January 19. Waiting until January 19 provides a window of time to ensure conditions do not worsen as a result of the holiday season. Risk level data lags behind the date it is announced. For example, the current October 13 COVID-19 Dashboard Data (see graphic below) is based on results from the week ending October 3.

Is Riverside County in the Red Tier (Substantial) or the Purple Tier (Widespread)?

Riverside County's metrics failed to meet the criteria to remain in the Red Tier as a result of worsening metrics (see below) over the course of the past two weeks. However, state officials allowed Riverside County to remain in the Red Tier (Substantial) after County officials requested to enter an adjudication process that gives the County an additional week to meet the metrics to remain in the Red Tier. This coming Tuesday, October 20, the state will update Riverside County's status.

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What will happen if Riverside County is moved back to the most restrictive tier (Purple)?

Schools are not permitted to reopen for in-person instruction while a County resides in the Purple Tier. Only elementary schools that are granted a waiver from the County and State may consider in-person instruction. Waivers are granted based on the localized risk level and school readiness related to safety measures.

Is Alvord considering applying for a waiver to reopen elementary schools?

Not for the first semester. However, depending on the conditions in January, we may consider a waiver if Riverside County is in the Purple Tier, but all indications point towards conditions improving, not worsening.

Is the district still planning on offering targeted, specialized support and services for subgroups of students with exceptional or extraordinary needs?

Yes. School officials are working closely with families and staff to provide limited services following California Department Public Health guidance for limited services.

Why can't students in the hybrid program who want to attend in-person come to school, and those who do not want to attend in-person, stay virtual?

It's a great question since families chose between the virtual and hybrid programs back in July in anticipation of schools reopening when the conditions became safe to reopen. Unfortunately, Riverside County has only been in the Red Tier (eligible to reopen) for the past two weeks and the current trend may lead to its transition back to the most restrictive tier.

In addition to our eligibility to reopen, many hybrid students and their families expressed concerns about returning at this time for in-person instruction given the combination of the increased risk level and how deep we are into the semester. Not many of our families expected Riverside County's conditions to be what they are at this point in the school year. Our Thought Exchange results echoed a common sentiment that principals have also heard from many of their students and their families: Given the risk level and where we are in the school year, they believe it is best to wait until the second semester.

The final results from the Thought Exchange are below. For the student exchange, 2,545 students contributed 2,626 thoughts and 51,461ratings. See the overarching student sentiment in the word cloud below.

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For the parent exchange, 3,989 parents contributed 4,691 thoughts and 140,437 ratings. See the overarching parent sentiment in the word cloud below.

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Why do students/parents have to choose again to be in either the hybrid or virtual program in the second semester?

We asked students/parents to make a one-semester commitment back in July for planning purposes. We are following the same process for the second semester so that all of our families have a choice in the event they feel differently than they did in July or if the conditions in their lives have changed. Principals will send out the request form tomorrow via email. Students/families have until October 30 to decide. Every family must submit a form. Please contact your principal if you do not receive the email.

Why do we have to decide on virtual or hybrid by October 30 when the second semester doesn't start until January 4?

Even the smallest changes impact class schedules and teacher assignments. Principals and counselors need time to effectively reschedule in the event there is a significant amount of program change requests.

What if I change my mind in January when students in the hybrid program return to campuses for in-person instruction?

We are again asking for a semester commitment for effective planning and to ensure that when schools do reopen for in-person instruction, all of the students in the hybrid program attend. Students in the virtual program will remain in the virtual program regardless of whether or not schools reopen for in-person instruction.

Will my child have the same schedule and/or teacher(s) for the second semester?

If everyone remains in the same program they were in during the first semester, there will few if any changes. If there is student movement from one program to the other, there will be scheduling changes depending on the number of changes and the impact those changes have on class sizes and teacher assignments. Principals will work closely with students, families, and staff to minimize the disruption.

Will seniors in the virtual program during the second semester be able to participate in their home school's end-of-the-year events, including graduation?

Yes. Depending on the conditions in the spring and exactly how the events will be conducted, seniors in both the virtual and hybrid programs will have equal access to all events. Our high school administration teams and ASB leaders will communicate their school's plans for senior activities and other commonly held events.

Will 5th graders and 8th graders in the virtual program during the second semester be able to participate in their home school's end-of-the-year events, including promotion?

Yes. Like our high schools, our administration teams and ASB leaders will communicate their school's plans for promotional activities and other commonly held events to ensure equal access regardless of whether a student is in the virtual or hybrid program.

On behalf of the Board of Education, please know that we will continue to do everything in our power to provide our students with as positive and rewarding an experience as possible, for now and for the remainder of the school year, whatever that may hold for us all during these uncertain times.

Stay healthy and be well.

In partnership,

Allan Mucerino

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On October 21, learn about GoGuardian and how parents can improve the on-line experience for their children and keep them safe too.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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