PUSD Reopening Update & FAQ

March 3, 2021

A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald

Dear PUSD Community,


It has been nearly a year since PUSD campuses closed and the world changed. The events of the last year tested our strength, our imagination, and our ability to adjust -- all during a time of constant change and uncertainty. Every step of the way, our district community responded with thought and care. Because of all that we have been through together, because of your choices and actions to keep our community safe and strong, we are emerging forever changed. We are stronger and more determined to do the very best for students, schools, and community.


With COVID-19 case rates down and health and safety measures in place, at a special meeting on Thursday, March 4, 2021, the PUSD Board of Education will discuss possible reopening dates. [UPDATE: In-person instruction will begin phasing in April 13 for elementary (Preschool - 5th grade) The District and UTP have agreed to return to the table on March 26 about middle and high schools]


We have said from the beginning that we would not reopen schools until it was safe to do so. I believe that it is now safe for students and staff to return to in-person learning.


Health and safety protocols are being implemented, and we have worked diligently in collaboration with our labor partners. All of our employees will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated prior to the start of in-person learning. By the end of this week, nearly half of our 2,400 employees will be vaccinated.


To solidify plans and students’ schedules, it is essential that parents/guardians complete the Return to School survey with their preference for in-person or remote learning for the remainder of the school year. The survey, which has remained open since last fall, will close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 12. Complete the Return to School Survey.


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about PUSD’s return to school plans are included below. We will continue to update these and keep you informed in the coming weeks. This information is also posted at www.pusd.us/reopening.


We have been through a difficult time and have experienced losses, but what we have learned lights our path forward. We are stronger than ever and I am proud of everything that the PUSD community has accomplished together. Thank you for the part that you have played in getting us to this point.


Sincerely,

Brian McDonald, Ed.D.

Superintendent

A Day in the Life - Pasadena Unified School District

About PUSD's School Reopening Plan



Scroll down for:

  • Return to School Survey
  • Proposed Reopening Dates
  • Health & Safety Protocols
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Program Updates

Public Health Guidelines for Reopening Schools

Elementary School

Los Angeles County has reached the threshold to reopen elementary schools according to the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy. PUSD is implementing health and safety requirements and is preparing to welcome elementary students back for in-person learning with a hybrid schedule with a staggered schedule beginning April 13.


Middle and High School

According to the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy, middle and high schools (grades 7-12) can open when the county has moved to the red tier and have also followed the school re-opening guidance.

Elementary School Reopening Dates

Pasadena Unified is triggering plans for the safe return of all PreK-5th grade elementary students who wish to participate in on-campus instruction beginning the week of March 29, subject to Board approval. Schools will operate on a hybrid simultaneous learning model, with groups of students physically in the classroom with their teacher while a group of their classmates participates via distance learning.


Opening schedule, subject to Board of Education approval:

**Updated**:

  • April 5-8, 2021 - Spring Break

  • Monday, April 12 - all students in distance learning

  • Tuesday, April 13 - Student cohorts in grades Preschool-2nd grade

  • Monday, April 19 - all students in distance learning

  • Tuesday, April 20 - Student cohorts in grades 3-5 return


Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs are planning to open together with the District’s PreK-2 grades with in-person full and half-day programs.

PreK-5th grade Return to Campus Survey Form

By March 12, 2021, all PreK-5th grade parents and guardians are required to complete the Spring 2021 Return to Campus Survey Form to state your preference for your student’s learning for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Students may return to in-person learning on campus or remain in distance learning. If you have previously completed this form, you do not need to fill it out again, unless you have changed your preference. If your preference has changed, you can complete the form again.


Complete the Spring 2021 Return to Campus Survey


The Survey form is due Friday, March 12. Once results are in, schools will set up stable student cohorts.


Change: This has changed since the survey first opened last fall. Families do not have to commit to their choice for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, depending on available space.

  • Families who chose to attend school on-campus will be allowed to return to distance learning.

  • Families who opted for distance learning may switch their student to in-person only if space is available. A new student may enter the cohort if space permits. We will not be able to add new cohorts once in-person instruction begins.

Health & Safety Protocols

PUSD adheres to health and safety protocols recommended by the California and Pasadena Departments of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including:


  • Fewer students on campus at one time

  • Completing daily temperature and symptom checks for all students and employees reporting to schools and district sites

  • Requiring and providing all necessary face coverings and personal protective equipment

  • Adding handwashing and hand sanitizer-dispensing stations added on campuses

  • Conducting enhanced daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols each evening

  • Reconfiguring classrooms to maintain physical distancing

  • Installing plexiglass barriers for teachers at their workstations/desks

  • Building in time for frequent hand washing and sanitizing

  • Placing upgraded (MERV 10) filters in air conditioning units and adding commercial-grade portable high-efficiency particulate air purifiers in all classrooms

  • Posting directional and informational signage throughout school and district facilities

  • Staggering recess/nutrition breaks on campus for physical distancing

  • Following all protocols for quarantining and contact tracing

  • Limiting non-essential visitors to school and district facilities

  • Creating COVID-19 surveillance testing

  • Offering COVID-19 vaccines to all employees

The California and Pasadena Public Health Departments require all schools reopening for in-person instruction to post a COVID-19 safety plan and checklist on their website. You can find PUSD’s COVID-19 Safety Plan at www.pusd.us and here



Ventilation

All classrooms are equipped with commercial-grade air purifiers designed for 24/7 smart air cleaning for enclosed shared air environments. Filters on air conditioning units have been upgraded to MERV 10 filters rated for hospital and laboratory use.



Testing, Health Screening, and Contact Tracing

Testing

PUSD will have voluntary self-administered testing for all employees. Employees will have the opportunity to take the self-administered nasal PCR test every two weeks while LA county is in the purple and red tiers.

Daily Health Screening

PUSD conducts daily temperature checks and health screenings for students and employees. All students and employees are asked to stay home if they are sick or have been exposed in the last 14 days to anyone who has tested positive or demonstrated symptoms of COVID-19. Non-contact digital thermometers are available at all school and district facilities.

On-Campus Quarantine Protocols

Students who present with COVID-19 symptoms while on campus report to a designated isolation area and their parent/guardian is called to pick them up immediately.

Contact Tracing

Under the guidance of the Pasadena Public Health Department, PUSD implements strict contact tracing protocols in the event of a COVID-19 exposure at a school or district facility. PUSD Contact Tracers are trained through the Johns Hopkins University Contact Tracing course

Vaccinations

Since January, PUSD has offered opportunities for district employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as vaccination supplies allow. By March 5, over 440 PUSD employees will have been vaccinated through the District’s clinics. An estimated 800 employees will have received the vaccine through Pasadena Public Health. All PUSD teachers and staff are being offered opportunities through District and Pasadena Public Health Department clinics. Visit pusd.us/covidvaccine for more information.

COVID-19 Dashboard

In the coming weeks, PUSD is launching a COVID-19 Dashboard to provide accurate and transparent information to our community regarding COVID-19 cases at school and district facilities. In order to protect student and employee privacy, the Dashboard will not include names or personal information.

Frequently Asked Questions


For Elementary (PreK-5th grade) Families Wishing to Return for On-Campus Instruction

What will the hybrid simultaneous schedule look like?
To maintain proper physical distancing, Pasadena Unified elementary schools will operate with a hybrid simultaneous model. In this simultaneous learning model, a group of students is physically in the classroom with their teacher while a group of their classmates participates in classes via distance learning.


Start and dismissal times remain the same for students in in-person and distance learning.


Students in in-person learning will be grouped into stable cohorts to allow for physical distancing.


The weekly schedule will remain the same as distance learning so far this year.

  • Mondays: all students will be online for synchronous check-in (no on-campus learning this day)

  • Tuesday-Friday: a minimum of 2 days of in-person learning. The number of days on campus may increase depending on how many students select in-person learning.


Once we have the results of the Return to School survey, schools will inform parents about their student’s schedule for days on campus. We will do our best to give students who are members of the same household the same schedule.


Students on campus will be offered Grab & Go meals at dismissal. Students in distance learning can still pick up Grab & Go meals from schools.


Important Note: Students who choose to attend school on campus must adhere to all health and safety protocols, including wearing a facemask and practicing physical distancing at all times, and frequent handwashing.


What hours will students be on campus?

Hours remain the same as distance learning schedules established in the fall semester. Drop off and pick up times vary by school. All students will participate in distance learning on Mondays.


Can I choose the days my student will attend school on campus?

Careful planning is required to create cohorts that address the academic needs of students while adhering to health and safety protocols. We will do our best to give students who are members of the same household the same schedule.


What will the in-person classroom look like?

Every teacher will be equipped with a web camera, laptop, and Chromebook to provide simultaneous instruction to students learning from the classroom and students learning from home. Classrooms are reconfigured to meet classroom health and safety protocols. Students remaining in distance learning will see their teachers and on-campus classmates wearing face masks. Information about Simultaneous Learning


Will students remain with their current teacher and classmates?

Yes. Whether you’re staying in remote learning or in-person, students will remain with their current teacher and classmates.


How will students be grouped?

Students will be grouped into stable cohorts to allow for physical distancing.

  • Mondays: all students will be online for synchronous check-in (no on-campus learning this day)

  • Tuesday-Friday: a minimum of 2 days of in-person learning. The number of days on campus may increase depending on how many students select in-person.


What will be the teacher/child ratio in person?

There will be no more than a total of 16 individuals in a classroom at any time.


What will recess and lunch look like?

Recess and nutrition breaks may look different at each school, depending on the configuration of outdoor spaces and the number of students choosing to return for on-campus instruction. Grab & Go lunch and breakfast for the next day will be provided to all students at dismissal All health and safety protocols, including physical distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent hand washing will be followed at all times. School principals will share additional details with their communities in the coming weeks.


What health and safety measures are being implemented on Pasadena Unified campuses?

Daily temperature checks and health screenings are conducted at all school and district facilities. All students and employees reporting to campus are asked to stay home if they are sick or or if they have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive or experienced symptoms of COVD-19 within the past 14 days. Health and safety protocols, such as physical distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent hand washing are observed at all times. Classrooms and public areas of campus are arranged for physical distancing.


Ventilation

All classrooms are equipped with commercial-grade air purifiers designed for 24/7 smart air cleaning for enclosed shared air environments. Filters on air conditioning units have been upgraded to MERV 10 filters rated for hospital and laboratory use.

Read the Health & Safety Protocols section and watch our Return to School video to learn more about health and safety protocols being implemented across the district.


Will students need to bring their Chromebooks/chargers to school?

Yes. Students attending school in-person should bring their Chromebooks to school each day. If a student forgets their device, each school site will only have a limited number of loaner devices.


If I choose in-person learning and change my mind, can my student return to distance learning?

Although we do not encourage schedule changes because of the careful coordination involved, students who chose to attend school on-campus will be allowed to return to distance learning, if needed.


Frequently Asked Questions for Elementary Families Wishing to Continue Distance Learning


What are the hours of instruction for distance learning?

Students who continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year will continue to follow the distance learning schedule established in the fall. They will learn online while their teacher and groups of classmates learn in the classroom.


What will distance learning look like?

Every teacher will be equipped with a web camera and microphone to provide simultaneous instruction to students learning from the classroom and students learning from home. Students remaining in distance learning will see their teachers and on-campus classmates wearing face masks. See video demonstration.


If I chose distance learning for my student and changed my mind, can my student return to on-campus learning?

This has changed since the survey first opened last fall. Families who opted for distance learning may switch their student to in-person only if space is available. A new student may enter the cohort if space permits. We will not be able to add new cohorts once in-person instruction begins.

Program Updates

After School and Distance Learning Supervised Care

Since September, Pasadena Unified has offered low or no-cost on-campus supervised care for more than 430 TK-8 students through the LEARNs program. We are identifying options for the best way to support PUSD families, either during the school day or after school when students return to in-person learning. Our goal is to serve as many families as possible while maintaining the safety of staff and students.


Early Childhood Education Programs

Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs are planning to open together with the District’s PreK-2 grades with in-person full and half-day programs. To enroll, visit www.gopusd.com/ece

For updated information on ECE program, please see


Meals

Students on campus:

  • “Grab & Go” meals as students exit

  • Students receive lunch and breakfast for the next morning. Breakfast is to be eaten at home prior to coming to school

Students in distance learning:

  • Drive-thru “Grab & Go” meals provided for students who remain in remote learning