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COVID-19: Messages From the Superintendent (Archived: Staff)

July 9, 2020

Good Afternoon EUHSD Staff,

Thank you for your patience through this long and challenging summer. I acknowledge that there are many concerns and considerations and recognize how incredibly challenging it is not to know with certainty what is happening. It is critical that we send out information in a regular manner to keep all of you updated on where we are in the planning for re-opening of schools. This letter will serve as an update on the school reopening plan, and we plan to provide weekly updates moving forward into August.

First of all, please know that safety and flexibility for students and staff are high priorities throughout all of the planning and considerations. The situation with COVID-19 continues to change daily, and as many of you know, currently there is an increase of cases in our county, state, and nation making the uncertainty surrounding details of the start of school even more apparent.

I want to extend appreciation to the many members of our Futures Taskforce. Their countless hours of work have led to establishing a foundation for our campus reopening plans. Here they are listed by Subcommittee:

Education Committee

Ali Aardappel
April Moore
Carlos U. Saucedo
Damon Blackman
Dave Mussatti
Jen Hughes
Jennifer Gentile
Jennifer Medeiros
Jim Chevalier
Jose Aguirre
Josh Murphy
Juan Vargas
Karin Helenschmidt
Leah Dardis
Martin Casas
Mia Funk
Michael Sovacool
Myron Kwai
Olga West
Rita Guerra
Roxanne Apodaca
Ruth Hellams
Saul Morales
Stephen Yi

Operations Committee

Adriana Lepe-Ramirez
Alicia Pitrone
Amanda Phillips
Andrea Perreault
Andrew Clark
Anna Cady
Callie Escobedo
Charan Kirpalani
Cory Gregory
Courtney Coffin
Jerry de la Cruz
Joseph Dionisio
Linda Rendon
Marvin “Tito” Smith
Miguel Velasquez
Mike Byers
Rachel Macias
Rich Watkins

If any of you have any questions related to the work that the Taskforce has been doing, I invite you to contact those Taskforce members who are from your site. They are amazing and will be able to share information with you regarding our process and all of the research that has gone into their recommendations.

Attached to this email, please find two summary documents: The Health and Safety Plan and the
Instructional Plan. Both of these documents will be shared with our Governing Board at a Special Board meeting next Tuesday night as part of the COVID-19 and 2020-2021 reopening of schools update.

I want to thank each of you who took time to complete the Blended Learning Option Survey recently. We have compiled the survey results and are providing them to you below for your information.

As you can see, while the survey results were mixed, the 2-Day Blended Model garnered 41.8% support overall. A weekly schedule of this graphic is summarized below:

This schedule was a recommendation from the Taskforce and is strongly supported by Health and Safety protocols. We believe that this model will provide a safe environment for all and an equitable learning environment which can be easily adjusted depending upon the ever-changing public health conditions. After taking all into consideration, the learning models which will be recommended for Board approval at a Special Board meeting next Tuesday include Independent Study through the Learning Center and the 2 day Blended Model as outlined above.

It is critical to note that these models will be contingent upon successful labor negotiations as well as contingent upon the public health conditions in place when school starts in August. For example, if the cases of COVID continue and worsen, we would delay the reopening of our school campuses and the students opting for the Blended 2 day Model would begin with fully virtual instruction using Canvas.

Our current 2020-2021 school calendar identifies August 11 as the start of school for students. As we examine the amount of preparation and training which still needs to take place in order to be ready for the start of school, and in our conversations with Elementary District partners, we are considering a later start to the school year by two weeks and will be recommending a change to the 2020-2021 school calendar so that the start of school for students is moved to August 25.

Whether or not we start in the 2-Day Blended Model or in a completely virtual environment is yet to be determined. We will continue to monitor public health conditions weekly and make a determination as we get closer to the student start date. We have another regularly scheduled Board meeting on August 4, and will provide an update on conditions to our Governing Board at that time.

Thank you for your continued dedication to EUHSD, to our students and to one another. We value you, we continue to have your safety in the forefront of our planning considerations, and we will send you weekly updates on our reopening status.

Take care,
Anne

May 7, 2020

Dear EUHSD Staff,

This week we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Nurses Day. I sincerely wish that our circumstances were different and that we could celebrate all of you in a more personal way. Please know how special you are to all of us. This past month and a half we have been challenged in ways we never imagined. On behalf of all EUHSD, know that your efforts, which go above and beyond with seeking the welfare of our students and engaging in meaningful educational experiences through distance learning, are appreciated. You are heroes in our organization, and in our community. We appreciate you and we miss you tremendously. Thank you for all that you continue to do.

Working together, across all school sites, we have done an amazing job with reaching out to ensure we are connecting and engaging with all of our students. Next week we will begin welfare checks with the small remaining numbers of students who we have been unable to reach since our campus closure. We know that may of our students are facing a myriad of challenging circumstances within their households during distance learning. Thank you for continuing to acknowledge our students individually and communicating with them in the most appropriate ways possible. You are making a difference!

We are working together with our school and district leaders to finalize graduation plans for our seniors. Recently seniors and their parents were surveyed about their graduation preference during this time of social distancing. This week ASB student leader meetings were held in an effort to more accurately hear student voice on this very important matter. Student voice is critical as we make decisions on graduation celebrations. A recommended district graduation plan will be brought to our Governing Board at our meeting next Tuesday. A communication will be shared following that meeting.

I’d like to thank our high school principals, leadership teams, teachers, and staff for the many hours spent redesigning traditional end of year processes, procedures, and celebrations for our students. This Coronavirus pandemic is unlike any event we have experienced as a district, community, and country. While this year’s graduation ceremonies may look different, our hope is that families and our community can celebrate the Class of 2020 safely, knowing that their best accomplishments are yet to come. Expectations of normalcy should not outshine this moment for our seniors.

In closing, there are many more opportunities for us all to make things happen. With just three weeks left in the school year, let’s continue to work together, take care of ourselves, and do what we can to stay EUHSD Strong!

Sincerely,

Anne

Anne L. Staffieri Ed.D.
Superintendent
Escondido Union High School District
Office: (760) 291-3202

April 29, 2020

Dear EUHSD Staff,

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones in good health and good spirits as we approach the month of May and extending our continuation of distance learning. It is hard to believe that we are now just a little over four weeks away from the end of our 2019-2020 school year. Our situation continues to unfold, you may have heard Governor Newsom unveil yesterday additional details on the indicators needed to modify the California stay-at-home order. During his address, Governor Newsom referenced the possibility of starting the 2020-2021 school year as early as July or August amid concerns of learning loss. He did not mention any funding or logistics of making such a shift possible, or any acknowledgement of previously agreed upon school calendars.

Our EUHSD Board approved school calendar for 2020-2021 already identifies a start to the new school year in early August, on August 11. At this point in time, we do not anticipate that the Governor’s comments yesterday would result in a change to that schedule.

When we are given the ability to re-open our school facilities we will likely have changes to the educational environment which reflect social distancing and other guidelines and protocols which will be outlined by our public health department at that time. We will share this information with you as it becomes available.

Last night our Governing Board convened a Special Board meeting during which the student grading survey results were shared and the current grading policy recommendations were supported. This means that our students will continue to be issued letter grades (A, B, C, D, F) during distance learning. We are using a “hold harmless” model so no student will receive a lower grade than they were earning as of March 13. However, students will have the opportunity to raise their grades through learning experiences assigned by teachers moving forward. Further detailed information on grading will be sent out from Educational Services to all teachers soon.

In addition, our Board approved an Administrative Regulation granting flexibility for graduation requirements for students with individual circumstances during this time of emergency school facility closure. The Administrative Regulation and Exhibit are available your reference. Further information on this topic will be sent out from Educational Services to all counselors soon.

In the very near future we will be recognizing our graduating Senior Class of 2020. Currently we are gathering input on the options for graduation through a survey sent to all Senior students and their parents. Results of this survey will be taken into consideration along with the public health guidelines in order to determine the most appropriate celebration possible.

As a reminder of our obligation as mandated reporters, I am sharing the following letter from our County Office and Deputy District Attorney. We are all aware that in times of crisis and economic instability, risk factors for child abuse and neglect increase. However, reports of child abuse and neglect in San Diego County have declined dramatically as our school facilities have closed. The ability to speak up for students’ safety is crucial at this time. Our students not being physically in school classrooms brings new challenges to reporting abuse, but our obligation as mandated reporters remains unchanged. While campuses are closed and we have transitioned to distance learning, all school employees still have a duty to report child abuse, which can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, or neglect of any person under the age of 18. Thank you for helping ensure our students are protected.

Beginning this Friday, May 1, we will be distributing weekend meals. In addition to picking up two breakfast and lunch meals on Friday, families will be able to pick up four meals for the weekend. These are available during our regular hours of operation, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at San Pasqual High School, Orange Glen High School, and Escondido High School. Meal Distribution reminders include:

  • Parents/guardians may pick up meals for children who cannot get to a meal distribution site
  • Meals are for children in the household age 18 and younger
  • Parents/guardians may go to one location per day regardless of the school of attendance

Thank you for sharing this new opportunity for our families in need to obtain weekend meals beginning this Friday.

Every day, our empty classrooms remind us that we have no complete substitute for the in-person connections that all of you develop and sustain with our students. For many, these interactions and life lessons exchanged between our students and our staff members shape the direction of our young people’s lives. While we are apart, I know that all of you strive to continue these critical connections. It is encouraging to see how expressions of support for one another, no matter how small, help us all to stay stronger. Thank you for spreading kindness and working through these challenging times together.

Stay strong and let’s continue to look forward to the day when we can be together on our campuses once again.

Sincerely,
Anne

Anne L. Staffieri Ed.D.
Superintendent
Escondido Union High School District
Office (760) 291-3202
Fax: (760)480-3063


April 1, 2020

Good Morning EUHSD Family,

Welcome to Wednesday! Today begins a wonderful opportunity for all of us to send some positive shout outs of gratitude and recognition. Let’s hear your words of encouragement or message of gratitude. Use this link to send a shout out to each other – and feel free to get creative! You can upload a picture or video in addition to your words of encouragement. We will compile and share with everyone over our social media throughout this time of closure. Let’s inspire each other as we adjust to a new way of education! We may be socially distancing but we can still stay connected. Together we are #EUHSDStrong!

We have created a section with resources for all EUHSD staff on our website. We invite you to visit this link to access a variety of information. We will continue to update with messages from the office of the Superintendent as well as well as other tools, such as FAQs and Tech Tools. To access the information in the staff page please use password EUHSDTeam and review the information available.

Many of you may have heard on the news that the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction shared his opinion that schools may not reopen this school year. Additionally, Governor Newsom’s “stay at home” order, and a similar local order, remain in place, as do federal guidelines around social distancing that extend through April 30. Please know that we are monitoring all the guidance carefully. I know all of these changes are unsettling, but I want to be clear that in San Diego County, there is no definitive date for when schools will reopen. Here in the Escondido Union High School District our message is that all of our schools are currently closed until further notice. All decisions about reopening will be made in conjunction with state and local public health officials.

Please check our website and your email regularly and adhere to all orders and recommendations. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. We will continue to communicate regularly as we learn new information. In the meantime, please continue working together. We are #EUHSDStrong! We look forward to reading and seeing your positive shout outs and inspirational pictures.

Take care,

Anne

March 27, 2020

Good afternoon EUHSD Family,

As we approach the end of week two of our school closures, let’s pause for a mindful moment. This has been another stressful and exhausting week for everyone in our EUHSD community, I’d like to take a moment and offer something simple you can do, right now, with your loved ones or alone, to help you de-stress heading into the weekend:

Gratitude: In the midst of far-reaching uncertainty, and as we jump into on a whole new way of engaging with each other (at home, at work, and virtually) there is no better time to filter through all of the unknowns to determine what we can be thankful for.

Gratitude is more than just saying “thank you” to someone who has been helpful; in fact, researchers consider it a “life orientation,” where feelings of gratitude stem from noticing and appreciating the positive things in life (Wood et al., 2010). This mindset of gratitude can be especially helpful during periods of stress and transition (very much like what we’re experiencing now!).

People who regularly practice gratitude experience more:

  • positive emotions
  • feel more alive
  • sleep better
  • express more compassion and kindness
  • have stronger immune systems

Pausing to remember all we have to be grateful for in every circumstance will help us stay EUHSD strong.

Payday is Coming

We continue to receive questions surrounding payday and paychecks. Our Governor has informed us that school funding will continue as usual for this school year and I want to reassure you that you are going to continue to receive your paycheck as scheduled at the end of March and beyond. For those of you who receive direct deposit, your pay will be processed as normal. Payday issue date is March 30.

For those who receive a paper check, paychecks will be available for pick up at the District Service Center on Monday, March 30 between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 pm. Social distancing will limit one person at a time for check pick up at the lobby doors. Please plan accordingly. After 4:00 p.m., any checks that remain will be mailed out to the addresses on file.

Volunteer Opportunities
We have an opportunity for continued service. Any of you who would like to join with our Administrators and others from the Escondido Elementary District and volunteer at our student meal distributions please sign up here.

Distance Learning

As we move into our distance learning for students, please take time to review the FAQs attached and linked for your reference.

Our professional learning week kicks off on Monday, March 30. We encourage all certificated employees to participate in 4-8 hours of professional development or work within their PLCs. Please watch for an email Monday morning which outlines professional development options for the week.

Thank you for continuing to stay EUHSD strong. I hope everyone has a safe weekend. We will be back in touch next week!

Sincerely,

Anne


March 26, 2020

EUHSD Family,

As we are now in the midst of school closure and launching our distance learning plan, many of us may find ourselves asking, “Is all of this really necessary?” In three simple words: Yes, it is.

I really recommend watching this video that explains why. It’s a few minutes long, but it lays out in simple terms why it’s critical for each of us to do everything we can to flatten the curve and give our health professionals the capacity to property treat individuals who are ill. Last night the San Diego County Public Health department held a press conference and shared an update of where we are in terms of the spread of the Coronavirus in our area. I encourage all of you to read the summary article here.. Staying home as much as possible and adhering to social distancing are essential actions we all need to take. We can all absolutely play a part in fighting this virus.

Thank you for your flexibility during this time and for your cooperation and dedication to the education of our students. Please remember to take care of yourselves, wash your hands, and stay healthy out there!

Sincerely,

Anne