Ocean View School District Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ocean View School District (OVSD) Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 8, 2020

To: Parents, Staff, and Community Members in the Ocean View School District

From: Dr. Carol Hansen, Superintendent

Re: Ocean View School District (OVSD) Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Introductory Information

I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone associated with our schools for their support, patience, and personal sacrifices in response to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. Our District is well served by the dedication of our Board of Trustees, staff members, parents, and community.The following information is provided to bring you up to date on the District’s plans for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. We will continue to consult and synthesize information from health experts and seek direction from local, state, and federal sources on how to respond to COVID-19. Our reopening plans will depend on the status of the virus in the fall, but the District must plan now for a variety of potential scenarios. Above all, our core values of innovation, integrity, and equity will help guide our decisions as we continue to plan for the upcoming school year.Preparing schools to safely offer the services they typically provide students, in the midst of a pandemic, is clearly a complex undertaking. Superintendents in Los Angeles and San Diego recently reinforced that complexity by saying “opening schools will not be as easy as separating desks or placing tape on the floor.” When we return to school, it is likely that operations will need to be modified.

Modifications may include:

  • Limiting group and class sizes
  • Proactive health screening of students, staff, and school visitors for symptoms
  • Social distancing in all settings
  • Requiring employees, students, and school visitors to wear face masks
  • New disinfecting and cleaning guidelines
  • Limitations and/or restrictions on school office and classroom visitations
  • Continuation of meal resources for students facing food insecurity
  • Suspension of high-touch activities
  • Modified lunch, recess, and extracurricular activities

Concerns Regarding School Operations

Ocean View School District is currently exploring several reopening options for the 2020-21 school year. There is also the possibility of offering multiple options or a blending of options.

  • Hybrid School Model (In-Person & Virtual) – In this model, schools would reopen with students attending school in-person for a portion of instruction (with a reduced student ratio), while participating in virtual/remote learning for a portion of instruction. There are many models in which a hybrid approach could operate. For example, students would attend on-campus schooling 2-3 days a week and learn remotely the remainder of the week. While students are learning in-person (on campus), we will have safety precautions and social distancing to keep students and staff safe.
  • Virtual Learning School – In this model, schools would remain closed for on-campus schooling and students wouldparticipate in a 100% virtual/remote learning program at home. Please know that a remote learning programdeployed this fall would be different than the Emergency Distance Learning program that was implemented whenschools unexpectedly closed this past March. The 2020-21 virtual/remote learning program would include allcomponents of student accountability, from attendance, completion of schoolwork and assessment, with the continuous progression through rigorous grade level standards.
  • Traditional In-Person/In-School - In this model, schools would reopen with students attending school in-personfor instruction for the full school day, 5 days a week. Under the current conditions, this is the least likely scenarioto be enacted for the fall reopening. This model would have to meet the guidelines set by state and local publichealth officials, and schools would have to be given the flexibility to reopen with limited to no restrictions on social distancing, with a traditional class size.

Health experts warn that there is a high possibility that we could experience a surge in COVID-19 later in the year. This could result in intermittent periods of our schools being entirely closed for in-person instruction, if directed to do so by health agencies. We must be ready to pivot to a virtual learning format if this becomes necessary.

Some of our plans may also require negotiations with our District wide employee groups and associations because they sosignificantly impact the working conditions for all employees.

Staggered schedules and/or blended learning configurations may increase childcare needs for many families and createnew challenges for before- and after-school programs.

We may start the school year with one of these options or a blending of the options. As the 2020-21 school year progresses,if the presence of COVID-19 begins to wane and health experts deem it safe to return to in-person 100%, we will beprepared to transition to all students in school every day.

Economic Impacts

The economic impacts of the pandemic will have a lasting effect on all schools. State tax revenues are expected to fall wellbelow those of previous years, with significant reductions in school funding. District income in future years may also fall because higher levels of unemployment may prompt families to move out of the District to more affordable areas.

State leaders are in the process of developing school district budgets but have warned districts to expect major reductionsin funding. Legislators at the state and federal levels are also exploring one-time funding options to offset new districtexpenses associated with COVID-19. School leaders are lobbying legislators for more fiscal remedies during this difficult period.

Even though we are waiting for more definitive information on funding, the District is still required to develop its budget and COVID-19 impact plans now.

Parent Survey and Conclusion

All of the information and scenarios outlined in this memorandum require the District to be flexible, collaborative with our key stakeholders, and to carefully analyze our options to address these unprecedented challenges.

Engaging with parents, staff, and community members will continue to be a top priority. We value your opinion and yourfeedback is important to us as we plan for the 2020-21 school year.

Thank you again for your ongoing support of the Ocean View School District.

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