Communication » Moving Forward Together: The 2020-21 School Year

Moving Forward Together: The 2020-21 School Year

Alameda County Red Tier Status: What This Means for PUSD Schools as we Move Forward Together 

On September 22, California upgraded the Tier status for Alameda County from Purple to Red in the State’s monitoring system. 

In our most recent Bulletin to the Board, a weekly public communication to our Board of Trustees in which our PUSD divisions illustrate our ongoing efforts to support our staff and families, I shared the following update to help build understanding of the relationship between the State’s new tiered monitoring system and our ongoing work in PUSD. 

*Allowable School Operations: Aligned with Alameda County Public Health guidelines following the District’s reopening plan approved by the Board of Trustees on July 14, 2020.  

Please keep in mind that even in the Red Tier, the risk level remains “substantial” and warrants continued focus on preventing community spread of the virus. During our September 24th meeting of the Board of Trustees, we will discuss the color tiered system and what each shift could mean in terms of impact to students, staff and the community.

Our team is working diligently to determine PUSD’s readiness to meet reopening standards and requirements. The Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) clarified in their update that schools must continue distance learning until such time that local conditions support in-person learning. The ACPHD has the authority to take a more incremental approach to re-opening in an effort to minimize significant increases in disease transmission, even as the County meets the State’s less restrictive criteria. They will use the next two weeks (through October 6) to ensure our county metrics remain stable, and will release a phased plan for reopening that includes schools at that point.

The current requirements and guidelines districts must meet to physically reopen schools are significant, and involve careful planning and collaborative efforts with stakeholders to help ensure the safety and health of our students, staff, families and broader community. Given the current reality, there are no realistic scenarios under which we can assure the implementation of the State and ACPHD guidelines that would enable a full reopening of our campuses. 

At the point these requirements can be met, we will plan on following our school reopening plan approved by our Board of Trustees on July 14, 2020. Our reopening plan follows state and county guidance for a phased approach beginning with our youngest students and those struggling to access remote learning. 

A return to in-person learning, in any capacity, will be facilitated when families and staff can be ensured of a safe, stable, and high quality learning environment. To that end, staff is working diligently to prepare for implementation of the County’s current safety protocols. Please understand that a return to on-campus instruction represents a significant shift for staff, students and families who have shown amazing perseverance and resilience in the face of numerous changes and challenges over the past several months. Your continued patience and understanding is much appreciated.

We are also working toward providing support to students who are having difficulty accessing remote learning. We know this pandemic has exacerbated structural inequities and achievement gaps, and many students and families have struggled with remote learning. This is especially true for emerging readers, English learners, homeless and foster youth, students with special needs, and those at-promise students requiring significant intervention who are best served by in-person learning. Recent guidance allows for small groups of students, in stable cohorts, with additional restrictions relating to size and distancing. More details will follow, as our plans are solidified. 

We will continue to discuss our plans with labor partners, Board Trustees, site leaders, staff and community stakeholders. You have our continued commitment to approaching any return to on-campus learning with a “safety first” mindset. 

As always, we will continue to keep you informed and engaged as we learn more and move forward to best serve and support our community. We are and continue to be in this together. 

#PUSDLearns: Share Your Successes (and Struggles) With Us As We Move Forward Together

Watch a short video from Superintendent Haglund on how to support your students moving forward, and share your experiences with us using #PUSDedu or #PUSDLearns 



Important Information & Helpful links:

To request tech support or a device/internet hotspot, click here 

Find remote learning resources and information here
Be Patient as We Learn Together: As with any new school year, the first several days are routine- setting, and our teachers' priority will be to establish meaningful connections between the students, their classmates and their teachers. While we have been planning throughout the Summer, this is a brand new learning model for all of us. least two weeks to smooth out some of the road bumps we might experience as we begin school in a manner very different from any year in history
Attendance and Reporting Absences: Student attendance will be taken on a daily basis according to their schedule. If students are absent, the parent or guardian should notify the school site attendance line to report the absence. Please know that teachers will likely be going back to adjust attendance, especially in the first few weeks of school. If you see your child is absent when they were actually present, this may be adjusted later as we all are learning through our new remote model. 
Grading: This year, students will earn performance marks and/or grades, according to the typical district process regarding grading policies
Weekly Schedules and instruction: Both synchronous and asynchronous instruction will occur on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. During these days, you should expect that your student will have at least the minimum minutes for all combined work:
TK/K: 180 daily minutes;
Grades 1-3: 230 daily minutes
Grades 4-12: 240 daily minutes.
This will include a combination of live check-ins, pre-recorded lessons, independent assignments, use of curricular digital apps, and other group activities. As part of the afternoon independent learning time, please note that your student is still "in school" and  should be working on assignments, and attending any additional instructional meetings as assigned by their teacher
Wednesday Schedule - Teacher Check Ins & Independent Learning: On Wednesdays, students will be required to attend a live teacher check-in.The time for the check-ins will be communicated to students via email. Elementary students may also have class on this day for music, PE or Science. This will vary from site to site. All students will be given independent learning activities to complete on Wednesdays.
Homework: Homework may be given in addition to the minimum instructional minutes and will be assigned regarding the district's homework policy.
FLEX Academy: Students who selected FLEX Academy will attend their classes (at-home) at their schools of residence.The original requests for secondary FLEX were far higher than we anticipated.This presented unexpected challenges that were difficult to mitigate without negatively impacting student course selections across the secondary level. 
Remote Learning Resources and Support: Find resources and support on remote learning here:

Board Unanimously Approves Plan to Begin the 2020-21 School Year Together with Remote Learning Districtwide

In a letter to the community, Superintendent David Haglund shares the PUSD's recommendation to begin the 2020-21 school year together through remote learning Districtwide. The remote start applies for all TK-12 schools as well as Harvest Park Preschool. Read the full letter: EnglishSpanish I Chinese

Beginning the 2020-21 School Year Together: Educational Options



Remote and In-Class

Elementary At-Home Learning 

or FLEX Academy (6-12)

Long Term Independent Study


Grades TK - 12

At the start of the school year:

All students will engage in a remote learning program. Students will be required to attend daily via Zoom/or a scheduled check-in with a certificated teacher on a fixed schedule.

School may “stretch and slide” between remote instruction and in-person instruction over the course of the school year, pending health department guidance.


When deemed safe to return, students will be brought back using a staggered approach:

Grades TK - 2 will attend school in person in either an AM or PM session on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Grades 3 - 5 will attend school on an AM/PM or 2-1-2 schedule, pending current conditions.

Grades 6 - 12 will attend school on a 2-1-2 block schedule in person on Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday.

On Wednesdays, students in all grades will engage in remote learning activities with check-in from a certificated teacher.

Grades TK - 5

Elementary At-Home Learning is a full-day remote learning program taught by PUSD teachers. Students will be required to attend daily via Zoom or check-in on a fixed schedule. On Wednesdays, students in all grades will engage in remote learning activities with a check-in from a certificated teacher.

This is intended to be a long-term program that spans the school year. Students will be able to return to their home sites in the following year, and if space is available, mid-year. 

Grades 6 - 12

FLEX Academy is a full-day remote learning program taught by PUSD teachers. Students will be required to attend daily via Zoom or check-in on a fixed schedule. On Wednesdays, students in all grades will engage in remote learning activities with a check-in from a certificated teacher.

This is intended to be a long-term program that spans the school year. Students will be able to return to their home sites in the following year, and if space is available, mid-year. Students may participate in activities, including graduation, at their resident school.

Grades TK - 12

Long Term Independent Study (LTIS) does not require daily, in-person, or virtual attendance.

Curriculum, activities, and assessments are provided by a credentialed PUSD teacher. 

Students will be required to check-in with the teacher one-hour per week with parent/guardian support in providing direct instruction. Adequate academic progress is expected, and a daily schedule is not provided.

This program works best for students who are already reading, and who can be successful independently on a daily basis with parent/guardian support.

Pre-K - 12+ grade students with an IEP should select their preferred choice of program for 2020-2021. An IEP meeting may be needed to determine any change of placement in services. Students with a 504 Plan should also select their preferred choice of program for 2020-2021. A 504 meeting will not be needed prior to starting the program, but may be needed at a later date if accommodations need to be reviewed or updated based on the selected learning program.

The following will be true for all PUSD students regardless of the option chosen:

  • Special Education students will have access to all available learning models, as facilitated by their IEP team and process
  • There will be regular, scheduled check-ins by teachers
  • All classes will maintain consistent grading practices and daily/weekly schedules
  • There will be a consistent delivery of online instruction through similar online tools
  • All students will be assigned a ChromeBook at the start of the school year
  • Our IT Help Desk will be available by phone or email for any technology issues
  • We will increase our cleaning procedures at all PUSD facilities
  • Meals will be distributed and details provided by the August 11 school start date

Important Next Steps

By Wednesday, July 22nd & no later than Friday, July 24th families can submit a final commitment form for each of their students, selecting the educational model of their preference (again, for each student). 

July 20 - August 6: Bell/daily schedules prepared and shared with families. 

August 11: First day of instruction