Dear PUSD Community,
We appreciate your engagement and patience in our ongoing conversation regarding how we move forward towards reopening our schools. On Friday, the Board of Trustees considered a recommendation from staff to begin reopening elementary schools with our youngest students and our students with special needs. This would have been done while continuing to serve additional students within our small cohort groups throughout the K-12 grade span.
During the board meeting (watch a recording of the meeting here), our team shared the extensive health and safety preparations that have gone into our school opening plans. These efforts are led by State and County public health department guidelines, which continue to change as conditions evolve. Earlier in the week, we hosted nearly 2,000 individuals in community and employee town hall meetings. Throughout these conversations, it was clear that while many are eager to return to school, others had questions and concerns regarding a return to school before the holidays.
In the end, the Board voted to continue only with the small cohort groups, at this time, and to establish January 4th as the date to reopen PUSD’s elementary schools. Middle and high school reopenings will be considered, once the County authorizes school districts to do so.
Regardless of when each of our campuses reopen for in person instruction, we remain committed to finding ways to serve each of our students to ensure they have access to learning support and resources, as well as tending to the isolation and mental wellness issues presented by remote learning. We simply can and must do better for our students and their families, while at the same time caring for the health, safety and wellness of our school communities.
I am encouraged by the progress made in the initial stages of our small cohort programs, which are already serving hundreds of our students with special needs, english learners, and those who have struggled to access remote learning. I appreciate the classified staff and site administrators who made these programs possible for our students, and to our Kid’s Club team who has been serving families since this past Summer.
We are grateful for the innovation and resilience of our teachers. They truly have developed remarkable remote learning experiences for our students. I am especially grateful to our classified team members and paraeducators who have staffed the small cohort programs to ensure in person support to our students who need it most. I am personally inspired by, and incredibly grateful for, their commitment to our students and to the community.
We will continue to move forward together in finding new ways to serve our students and families. Thank you for your ongoing collaboration and support.
Superintendent of School