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October 2: Updates from Superintendent Ken Geisick

Dear SUSD Families,

We have good news to report! Santa Clara County COVID-19 data continues to trend in the right direction. The county has been in the Red “Substantial” Tier 2 for over 3 weeks. Under the state’s framework and county’s risk reduction order, K-12 schools are permitted to start the reopening process after 14 consecutive days in the Red Tier.

SUSD has already begun a gradual reopening with small groups of students coming to campus:

  • In-person 1:1 services and assessments started in September for English Learner and some Special Education students. 
  • Starting Monday, October 5, high-needs students from our middle school Special Education classes are returning to Redwood for half days with their teacher. 
  • Tree House has been in operation for 5 weeks with successful cohorting. 
  • Staff working with students in-person have received training on temperature screening, PPE, face shields, and health/disinfection protocols.
  • All SUSD staff are completing a daily health screen per Santa Clara County Public Health Department directive.
  • All SUSD staff have completed mandated training about the coronavirus and cleaning/disinfection techniques in the classroom.
  • Note: parents will be contacted directly if their child is recommended to come to campus for services, assessments, or instruction. Parents may opt their child out if they are not ready to return.

We are also in the process of developing a Learning Lab model where some students may return to campus during Distance Learning time with supervision by SUSD staff. The Learning Lab would bridge the gap between now and when school campuses are reopened at all grade levels. More details will be provided soon.

As part of our preparation for phased reopening, the Return To Learn Guide has been updated to include new county directives, online health screening, response protocols if there is a positive COVID-19 case at school, and more.

As stated in earlier communications, SUSD is taking a deliberative and cautious approach for reopening schools based on these factors:

  • County numbers and CA tier status are stable enough that we would not bounce back and forth between being open for Hybrid Instruction and Full Distance Learning.
  • We are continuing to learn and refine processes to ensure the safety of students and staff as we welcome small groups back to campus. As we ramp up gradually, this learning prepares us for when larger groups can return.
  • Adequate PPE, testing, and contact tracing must be available. 
  • Staff and families must have the confidence to return.

While we are hopeful about the progress we are making towards reopening campuses for instruction, as we’ve learned from this pandemic circumstances can change quickly for better or for worse. Flu season, with it’s similar symptoms to COVID-19, is coming up. As businesses and schools reopen there may be an uptick in positive cases in our county.

We will be resurveying parents and working with employee groups to determine readiness to return, instructional models, and matching available staff with student groups.

In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, please complete the Distance Learning Survey that was sent yesterday afternoon. Your feedback is important. Responses are due Sunday.

Lastly, as a reminder there IS school next week on Monday-Tuesday, October 5-6. The 2020-2021 calendar was modified in early August as part of the pivot to Distance Learning to move Professional Development days to the week before school started. The one page calendar download is posted online. Please discard any old calendars prior to August 6.

Have a good weekend. We will continue to keep you posted. Be safe and well.

Ken Geisick, Ed. D