July 15, 2020
Dear Livermore Families,
Even as you are enjoying the summer, we know that you are contemplating the start of school on August 25th and wondering how it will look. As we promised when we shared the results of our Fall 2020 Planning Survey, this midsummer letter will provide you with an update on the work we have been doing to prepare for the start of school.
As you may have already realized, the changing local conditions of the pandemic have effectively ruled out the possibility of starting the school year in the traditional manner. While that may be an option later in the academic year, for our first trimester we are still actively exploring two options:
(1) a distance learning model that would have students learning completely off campus, and
(2) a hybrid model that would have students on campus part time and also learning from home part time.
Distance Learning Overview
We are fully prepared to launch a robust distance learning program that includes:
- Full online access for all students to virtual meetings with teachers and classmates as well as the online ability to learn, complete assignments, and collaborate through video conferencing, all through Schoology, our new online learning platform.
- Full online access for all parents and guardians to easily view students’ work, even while it is in progress, as well as their grades.
- High academic expectations - students will master grade level and course standards, and show their progress through elementary standards-based report cards, and middle and high school letter grades on report cards.
- Daily scheduled times for students to engage online with teachers and classmates. The schedules are coordinated so that all students would have a common lunch break, enabling midday meals at home to take place at the same time. Using Schoology, students would have a mixture of structured online learning and guided or independent learning. Time is built into the schedule to allow students to meet with teachers for individualized support and intervention.
- The opportunity for additional engagement in school activities such as clubs will also be able to take place through Schoology.
Hybrid Learning Overview
We have prepared a strong hybrid plan that complements online learning through Schoology with in-person sessions at school. The hybrid program includes:
- The same online access in Schoology that is available in the distance learning option to both students and parents.
- The same high academic standards for students that are expected in distance learning.
- The same options for support and enrichment on Wednesdays, offered online through Schoology.
- The additional benefit of face-to-face learning with a teacher and in-person interaction with classmates.
- Daily schedules that include time at school as well as time pursuing guided or independent learning at home. Students would attend school in reduced numbers for approximately 1-3 hours, depending on the grade level. The model we are currently considering has elementary students attending 4 days per week, either in the morning or in the afternoon. Middle school students attend two mornings per week, with half of their classes meeting on each day. High School students attend one class each morning. No students will be on campus during lunch time. (Meals will be available, but not eaten on campus.)
- Students and staff would complete daily screenings to ensure good health.
- Students and staff would wear face coverings, masks, or face shields throughout their time at school.
- Students and staff would include hand sanitizing and hand washing as part of their daily routine.
- Students would be spaced apart in classrooms (made possible by the reduced number of students).
- Students would have breaks, but would be kept physically distant as much as possible.
As a district, we pride ourselves on being creative thinkers and meeting the needs of our students and families. We know that our initial survey showed a strong desire for students to be on campus, and we would like to be able to offer you options. We also know that the situation with the pandemic has changed since the survey was taken. Please know that each possibility we explore is considered with the utmost concern for the health and safety of our students and staff members, along with the educational viability of the plan. We are working as a district-wide team of educators, nurses, staff members, and parent representatives, in conjunction with the Alameda County Office of Education and the Alameda County Public Health Department to determine how best we can safely educate our students at this time.
Our first day of school on August 25th is two weeks later than in our neighboring districts. Many are making their decisions now. Like many of you, we are watching most of them make the decision to offer strictly distance learning. Our distance and hybrid schedules are compatible with one another so that we could seamlessly move from one to the other. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully.
Before the end of this month we will send more detailed information about both distance learning and hybrid options, along with a questionnaire that will ask every family to identify their preferences for their individual students. At this point, our intent is to be able to offer you the choice between distance learning and hybrid learning, yet we will be prepared to launch full distance learning for the start of school, if that is the only viable option.
Thank you for your continued understanding and partnership.
The LVJUSD Leadership Team