Dear SLUSD Community,
With yesterday’s news that Alameda County has moved into the Red Tier from the Purple Tier under the State of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy1, you are likely wondering how this affects SLUSD. I will explain how this new information relates to our planning, and what this means for us right now.
What does Red Tier mean for schools?
Alameda County will have to remain in the Red Tier for two weeks, starting yesterday, before our public health department can even consider allowing schools to reopen for in-person instruction2. Currently, Alameda County Public Health is requiring school districts to continue with distance learning and will provide a phased reopening plan before October 6. This means there are no immediate changes for San Leandro Unified.
What does the Phased Reopening Plan require?
The Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) has shared that a phased reopening plan for schools will have to meet many stringent safety requirements before schools can transition from distance learning to a blended/hybrid in-person instructional model.3
The most significant barrier will be the requirement for frequent and rapid employee testing. This means that each school district will have to contract with a private testing provider and bear the associated costs. We are exploring partnerships with local health agencies to provide this service, but currently, we are logistically and financially far from being able to meet this requirement, as are all public schools in Alameda County.
Can we get an Elementary Waiver and provide Small Cohort Support?
We have let ACOE know that we are interested in the possibility of being allowed to serve small cohorts of students under the guidance of our county educational and public health agencies. However, as I mentioned before, the stringent requirements necessary to apply for this waiver and the quick deadline of October 2 to apply means we will not be pursuing this option at this time.
We need feedback from our families.
With distance learning as our current reality, we want to know how it is working for our students and families. Families will receive a feedback survey tomorrow so we can continue to improve while we also plan for our phased reopening.
We also want to know our families’ current preference for having children return to in-person learning, given the current public health situation described above.
The decisions we face in reopening our schools are hard, complicated, and allow for absolutely no margin of error. When we do welcome students back to our classrooms, every student, staff, and family member must be safe. As a parent, I would expect nothing less for my own child and will provide nothing less for your children and our staff.
I will continue to keep you updated and I truly appreciate your support,
Dr. Mike McLaughlin