CVESD 2020-2021 Reopening Schools FAQ

This FAQ is considered a “living document” and may be updated in the coming weeks and months as the district receives more questions from families and more information from officials at the county and state.

Q: When do classes begin?

The 2020-2021 school year begins on August 31 online via an enhanced distance learning format.

Q: What learning format will be used to teach my child?

Instruction will be in a distance learning format for all students at the start of the school year.   We will continue to work  toward transitioning to  in-person instruction  but will only do so  when guidance from local health  officials supports  a safe transition back to learning on site in classrooms.

Q: What is distance learning?

  • 100% of the learning occurs while the teacher and the student are in different  locations.
  • Includes  many new components such as  daily live interaction  with the teacher, and  instruction that is aligned to grade level standards,  provided at a level of quality and intellectual challenge substantially equivalent to in-person instruction.
  • Other criteria for delivering instruction  in a distance learning model has been outlined in Assembly Bill 77, which also includes a requirement for a minimum number of daily  instructional minutes, depending on the student’s grade level. 

Q: Will my child receive a laptop for home use during distance learning?

Each school will send a survey to its respective parent community to assess which students may need a laptop and/or a WiFi hotspot. Each school will then distribute laptops and/or WiFi hotspots prior to the first day of school, which is August 31. For more detailed information, please contact your child’s school.

Q: Will a distance learning format be in place all year?

We must abide by the state guidelines for reopening for in-person instruction and because that is based on several different public health metrics, we cannot predict when we will be able to reopen. Even though the 2020-2021 school year will begin in a distance learning format, it is important to know that our District  will continue developing plans to transition into either a hybrid learning model, which is a combination of in-person instruction and distance  learning, or  a full in-person, on-site instructional model. While we are planning for a return to school, there is no certainty when that will be able to occur. Even when CVESD schools can return to in-person instruction, a distance learning format will continue to be an option for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year for those families that decide it still works best for them.

Q: What is a hybrid learning model?

A combination of in-person and distance learning.  There are many variations of what a hybrid model could look like.  Hybrid instructional scenarios would be designed to reduce the number of students on campus by up to 50% of normal.

Q: What is an in-person instructional model?

100% of the learning occurs at school, in the classroom with the teacher.  Social distancing norms and safety protocols would be in place.

Q: What if the District decides to transition to a hybrid or in-person instruction model, but my child feels safer learning at home?

Once it is safe to transition into a hybrid model or an in-person instructional model, CVESD will need to determine how many students would  like to return to learning on site and how many would prefer to  remain in a 100% distance learning model.  The District sent registration information to  families so that they may choose the educational option that best fits their  needs and  comfort level.  

Q: How does the state define distance learning? And daily live interactions?

Here is a link to the state’s FAQs: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/dl/distlearningfaqs.asp#accordionfaq

Q: What are the new guidelines imposed by the Governor?

Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced that schools are to be closed to in-person instruction until public health data indicates it is safe to return. His announcement aligned with our approach and centered on five key areas:

  1. Safe in-person school instruction based on local health data
  2. Strong mask requirements for anyone in the school
  3. Physical distancing requirements & other adaptations
  4. Regular testing and dedicated contact tracing for outbreaks at schools
  5. Rigorous distance learning

Q: How will the District align with the Governor’s order for regular testing and dedicated contact tracing for outbreaks at schools once schools reopen to in-person instruction?

The public health guidance recommends staff in every California school be tested for COVID-19 periodically based on local disease trends and as testing capacity allows. The Governor also announced recently that the state will provide resources and technical assistance for COVID-19 investigations in school settings.

Thanks to a personal connection between a District employee who endured a severe bout with COVID-19 and the Chief Medical Officer of a fully integrated bioscience company based in Irvine, we have the opportunity to bring an FDA-authorized and HIPAA-compliant testing and tracking plan to our District community.

CVESD and Kahala Biosciences have engaged in exploratory conversations around the development of a COVID-19 continuous quality improvement project. Working with 4 or 5 of our schools, the proposed project will focus on determining the level of active cases among our District population, identifying what interventions work to mitigate spread of the virus, and analyzing the emotional response by students and staff toward testing and symptom monitoring.

Specific details of the proposed project are still to be worked out, but this is one promising avenue for providing testing and contact tracing in our District.

Q: What are school districts required to provide under “rigorous distance learning”?

Under newly enacted state law, school districts are required to provide:

  • Devices and connectivity so that every child can participate in distance learning
  • Daily live interaction for every child with teachers and other students
  • Class assignments that are challenging and equivalent to in-person instruction
  • Targeted supports and interventions for English learners and special education students.

Q: How are teachers being trained for providing distance learning?

Beginning last April, teachers were offered training on various digital tools and online programs to support distance learning. These sessions were conducted live and/or recorded so anyone who couldn’t attend would have access at a later time. These trainings and support will continue for the new school year. Some of the many learning opportunities we will focus on include teaching and learning in a distance learning model, Microsoft Teams, Achieve3000, Smarty Ants, i-Ready, Illuminate, Mystery Science, digital citizenship, language development, health and wellness, visual and performing arts, and more.

Q: Where can I find the Governor’s announcement about social distancing and mask requirements?

The Governor announced on July 17 strong mask requirements for anyone in the school. In the updated guidance, all staff and students in 3rd grade and above will be required to wear a mask or face covering. Students in 2nd grade and below are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering. Students should be provided a face covering if they do not have one. In addition, CDPH [the California Department of Public Health] requires that all adults stay 6 feet from one another and 6 feet away from children, while students should maintain 6 feet of distance from one another as practicable. Anyone entering the school must do a health screen, and any student or staff exhibiting a fever or other symptoms will be immediately sent home. The guidance also provides that if anyone in a student or staff member’s household is sick, they too should stay home. Read the Governor’s full announcement here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/07/17/governor-gavin-newsom-lays-out-pandemic-plan-for-learning-and-safe-schools/

Q: The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend masks or face coverings for students under middle school age. Why does the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have a different recommendation?

CDPH recommends face masks (or face shields for very young children) at age 2 or older, so that those who cannot manage masks can nonetheless be protected. CDPH guidance requires all children in 3rd grade or later to wear masks. Increasing evidence cited by CDPH suggests wearing masks or face coverings can significantly decrease COVID-19 disease transmission. Other countries’ experiences (e.g., China, Singapore) suggests that virtually all students can be taught to handle face coverings at that age.

Q: What if an individual cannot wear a face covering?

The face covering guidance from CDPH recognizes that there are some people who cannot wear a face covering for a number of different reasons. People are exempted from the requirement if they are under age 2, have a medical or mental health condition or disability that would make impede them from properly wearing or handling a mask, or when it would inhibit communication with a person who is hearing impaired.

Q: What if a student arrives at school without a face covering, and refuses to wear one provided by the LEA?

According to CDPH, if a student refuses, the student must be excluded from on-campus instruction, unless they are exempt, until they are willing to wear a face covering. CDPH guidance indicates students excluded on this basis should be offered other educational opportunities through distance learning. Disposable paper masks are thinner and may be less effective but may still be used as a face covering to meet the requirement.

Q: What is the guidance on face coverings and physical distancing on buses?

Face coverings are required on buses. The CDPH guidance acknowledges that a full 6 feet of physical distancing may not be practicable on buses, therefore face coverings are essential. Physical distancing should be maximized to the extent practicable.

Q: What if conditions worsen during the school year?

If at any point in the school year conditions worsen and  Public Health orders  the  closure of  schools,  CVESD will be prepared to move back into a distance learning or hybrid model at any time.  

Q: I don’t think I can do distance learning for too long. What options do I have?

To  address  circumstances in which families cannot sustain 100% distance learning  at  home and  have no other option than to send students to  school for the entire school day,  CVESD will need to  be advised in advance by the parents/guardians. We are actively exploring childcare options for families who must have  students  in school full time.  We must abide by the state guidelines for reopening for in-person instruction and since it is based on several different public health metrics, we cannot predict when we will be able to reopen.

Q: What will Dual Language instruction look like while in a distance learning format?

CVESD offers Dual Language programs at 22 schools, but not at Allen Elementary School. With 20 years of experience, we are confident that we will continue to provide rich learning experiences for students. During distance learning, the goals of reading, writing, listening, and speaking will continue to drive instruction. Whether a school has a 90/10 or 50/50 model, the integrity and quality of the existing model will be maintained.

Q: How is the District supporting Dual Language teachers and schools so that teaching can more closely match in-person instruction?

The District will support Dual Language school principals through a leadership network and active collaboration. Teachers will have access to professional learning opportunities, resources, and a monthly newsletter. District technology accelerators (Smarty Ants, Achieve 3000, and iReady) will reinforce Spanish language learning. In addition, Flipgrid, immersive reader on Benchmark and Microsoft Office will support language during independent student practice time. We have faith in the resiliency and learning potential of our Spanish language learners.