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January 22: Reopening Updates and Parent Reopening Advisory Applications

Dear SUSD Families and Staff,

If you were not able to watch the board meeting last night, I want to share some highlights and updates that were discussed.

As plans fall into place and students begin the much anticipated return to campus, please be respectful of individual circumstances and opinions. We are fortunate to live in a district where families are passionate about education. Each SUSD family has varying reasons for preferring in-person or distance learning. We strive to honor these needs. We are thankful for the support, patience, and hard work of our staff and families as we navigate a safe reopening together.

Ken Geisick
Superintendent


Reopening Updates

Reopening Criteria

The SUSD Board of Trustees has directed staff to open in the Red Tier (CA Blueprint for a Safer Economy) and accelerate classroom openings under new state guidance allowing reopening when the adjusted COVID-19 case rate is below 25 per 100K cases for 5 consecutive days even while in the Purple Tier. View the board presentation regarding reopening status, pulse check survey results, and Redwood draft schedule.

Reopening Advisory Groups

In preparation for reopening, two Reopening Advisory Groups, one for elementary school and one for middle school, are forming. SUSD parents are encouraged to apply. We are seeking diverse representation of parents with children in different grades, needs (English Learners, 504s, Special Education), and comfort levels for campus return. The middle school group will also be evaluating various schedule options. Scroll to the bottom of this email for more information and application.

Livestream Pilots

Students in Mrs. Waite-Lopez’ 4th grade class at Foothill returned to campus this past week. Of her 24 students, 8 were ready to return to campus for in-person learning. Mrs. Waite-Lopez donned her face shield and mask. All students wore masks, learned protocols for distancing while moving around the classroom/campus safely, and were reminded about hygiene such as frequent hand washing. Parents familiarized themselves with the daily student health screen routine and drop-off/pick up procedures. How joyous it was to hear the laughter and chatting during their recess and lunch breaks!

We are implementing a sound-bar system so that all students in the livestream pilot, whether at home or in the classroom, can learn “together” synchronously 5 days per week.

When the county enters the Red Tier, Saratoga School will pilot a 2nd grade classroom livestream. In addition, Argonaut will begin a hybrid pilot for a 4th grade class. Families in these classes will be contacted directly about a week before the pilot begins.

COVID-19 Cases in SUSD

Three SUSD staff members have tested positive this week. We wish them a speedy and full recovery.

Please be reassured that SUSD follows strict contact tracing procedures as soon as we are notified of a positive staff case or student on campus, even on weekends. In these 3 staff cases, exposure was via their household. Per county quarantine protocols, 3 additional staff are now quarantining since they came into contact with the staff member(s).

Our SUSD COVID-19 dashboard is updated regularly. So that we can accurately reflect all district cases even if your child does not come to campus, please contact our District Nurse Cristina Lee and Director of Human Resources Kym Imai (clee@saratogausd.orgkimai@saratogausd.org) if your student has tested positive during the school year. Identifying information is protected per HIPAA privacy rules. Note, all SUSD staff are required to report symptoms or positive test results even if they don’t come to campus.

COVID-19 On Site Testing

Regular COVID-19 testing for staff and students, in conjunction with other mitigation strategies, is an underpinning for a safe return to the classroom. SUSD will launch as on-site testing pilot for staff next week. SUSD is exploring options to test students on-site.

Los Gatos Saratoga Recreation Mini-Pod Enrichment Classes

Activity class for all ages are available via LGS Recreation. Classes are held locally.


From Educational Services
Reopening Advisory Groups for Parents
Applications due January 26

Saratoga Union School District staff has been working on plans for the reopening of its schools for in-person instruction. We are forming Reopening Advisory (RA) groups for elementary (TK-5th grade) and for Redwood Middle School (6th-8th grade) and are seeking parent/guardian members to help review reopening plans and provide recommendations for the return to in-person instruction. 

We are interested in having a diverse group of parents representing students of various grade-levels and student support services as well as parents eager to return to in-person instruction and those who are uncertain or want to remain in distance learning.

Time Commitment
With membership comes an expectation for regular attendance.
All meetings will be held virtually until it is safe to resume meetings in person.
Meetings will be held on: 
 
Elementary (TK-5th) Reopening Advisory Group
Wednesday, February 3, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Monday, February 8, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 10, 3:30-5:00 p.m. 
 
Redwood (6-8th) Reopening Advisory Group
Thursday, February 4, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 10, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
 Tuesday, March 9, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed. There will also be research and reading that members will be asked to complete outside of meetings.

Members are also encouraged to attend SUSD Board of Trustees meetings when recommendations for reopening are being made.

Application

Parents/Guardians interested in participating in SUSD’s Reopening Advisory Group(s) must complete an online application by Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Members will be notified by Friday, January 29, 2021.

We welcome your application! To apply, complete the online application form.

Questions? Email educationalservices@saratogausd.org