September 1st, Update & Hybrid Implementation
Dear Los Alamitos Unified School District Families and Community Members,
As our second day of school is completed, we want to thank our entire community for a wonderful start to our new school year. Our Los Al family of educators have loved welcoming you and your children to the start of our 2020-21 school year. The early connections we have made invigorate and inspire us as we move forward in the new year.
We know that responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us to be quick on our feet to meet changing conditions; today is no exception. We want to let you know about a necessary adjustment in our plan for reopening classrooms for in-person instruction at our middle and high schools.
Governor Gavin Newsom and state health officials have instituted a new color-coded, four-tiered system for monitoring the spread of COVID-19 based on rates of new cases and the percentage of positive tests in counties. The tiers are designated by colors: Purple, Red, Orange and Yellow. In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, each tier carries restrictions on activities in a county. This new monitoring system went into effect Monday, August 31.
While the COVID-19 data in Orange County continues to move in the right direction, Orange County has initially been placed in the State’s Purple tier, the equivalent to being on the State Monitoring List under the previous tracking system. In order to move to the less restrictive Red tier, Orange County’s COVID-19 numbers must meet the lower tier’s thresholds for 14 days. Even though Orange County’s COVID-19 numbers continue to improve and already meet the Red tier requirements, the state and the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) have indicated that Orange County is expected to transition to the Red tier on Tuesday, September 8 and we must remain there for 14 days before schools will be allowed to reopen for modified in-person instruction on Tuesday, September 22.
All of which means that we have to make some minor adjustments to our hybrid implementation plan we laid out last week for reopening our secondary schools for in-person instruction.
Our elementary hybrid implantation plan remains unchanged. Los Alamitos Unified was approved for a state CDPH Elementary waiver to reopen elementary classrooms for in-person instruction even if the county remains in the Purple tier. As we announced last week, our TK-5 general and special education classes will open for in-person instruction Tuesday, September 8 under the AM/PM Hybrid Schedule described in our School Opening and Safety Plan.
Because of the new timeline set by the state, however, we must postpone the re-opening of our middle schools and high school. We will still maintain the staggered approach we described last week to manage the re-opening in the most effective manner:
- McAuliffe and Oak Middle Schools will reopen in an AM/PM Hybrid Schedule on Tuesday, September 22.
- LAHS will reopen in an AM/PM Hybrid Schedule on Tuesday, September 29.
The decision to stagger the reopening dates between our elementary, middle, and high schools will allow us to provide additional staffing and resources at each level during their reopening week, ensuring a more successful transition from distance learning to in-person learning.
Please keep in mind that the middle and high school reopening dates are tentative and depend on Orange County moving to the Red tier on September 8 and remaining there for 14 days. A new state website, www.COVID19.ca.gov, tracks the metrics for the virus and posts current tier status for each county.
Despite the schedule adjustment, we are greatly encouraged by the continuing improvement in the COVID-19 situation in Orange County and remain confident in our overall plan to re-open classrooms safely. We all must do our part by following the health and safety recommendations to limit the spread of the virus, especially as we approach the Labor Day holiday.
We appreciate your enduring patience, and we assure you that we continue to monitor the situation closely and base our decisions on the latest guidance from state and county health officials. We will alert you promptly to any change in our plans.
For more a more detailed explanation of the new COVID-19 tracking system, see this article.
Whether your children are with us through the LosAl@Home distance learning program or through the Traditional Schooling Pathway, we are all truly Better Together!
Andrew Pulver, Ed.D