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January 15: Reopening Updates from Superintendent Ken Geisick

Dear SUSD Families and Staff,

I want to share with you the benchmarks for reopening school classrooms for in-person instruction.

Key metrics to note:

  1. On January 7 the Board of Trustees reaffirmed that SUSD will begin the phase-in of reopening schools for hybrid instruction when the county has stabilized in the Red Tier for two weeks. Our youngest students will phase in first. The hybrid model enables safe distancing to be maintained in the classroom per county/state health guidelines.

  2. A 4th grade class at Foothill Elementary will be our first pilot to test out 5-days per week instruction on campus with live-streaming for classmates who prefer to remain Distance Learners. That pilot begins January 19. A similar pilot at Saratoga Elementary will begin with a 2nd grade classroom when we enter the Red Tier. Live streaming equipment for an additional 30 classrooms is on order.

  3. Redwood is piloting an after-school in-person Learning Lab program which opened this week. This program is for middle school students needing targeted support.

    Some TK-5 Learning Lab spots are available at each elementary school. Learning Lab enables students to have an “on campus” experience while remaining with their current teacher online. Feedback has been very positive, especially the social interactions that take place during recess, lunch, and in the classroom cohort of 12 students. If interested in enrolling your TK-5 student, please contact your principal. Learning Lab is free.

  4. Student assessments for English Language Acquisition and Special Education are taking place in-person on campus. Services are taking place via Zoom or in-person.

  5. To date, 58 staff members have received training on proper PPE usage. PPE supplies and facilities upgrades are in-place for reopening (e.g. isolation sick rooms, disinfection equipment and protocols, maximum outdoor air pull setting on HVAC units, MERV-13 air filtration, one-touch student restroom faucets, no-touch hand sanitizer dispensers in every classroom, plexiglass shields for teacher desks).

  6. SUSD is actively recruiting and interviewing for temporary teachers, custodial staff, and aides in preparation for our next phase of reopening.

  7. Final results of this week’s Pulse Check Survey will be presented to the board on January 21. Our county remains in the Purple Tier. County stay-at-home orders have been extended. Please note, where there may be conflicting reopening guidance between state and county levels, public school districts must adhere to the stricter directives.

  8. The SUSD COVID-19 Dashboard is updated regularly. So that it is as accurate as possible, if your child tested positive at any time during this school year, even if they do not come to campus, we request that you contact our District Nurse Cristina Lee, clee@saratogausd.org. Of course students who come to campus are required to report.

Thank you for your continued support of students and teachers. As warm weather returns, medical treatments improve, vaccination roll-out gains momentum, and COVID-19 positivity rates decrease, we will make significant progress in welcoming our students back to their classrooms.

Ken Geisick

Superintendent