Dear UMCS Community,
It has been a little over a week since we shared our first-draft plans for reopening school August 17th. In that time we have seen many changes in local and national news, transmission rates and new cases of COVID-19, and many other schools and districts have shared their plans for safely teaching students in the upcoming school year, primarily through full distance learning programs. We are carefully tracking all of these developments and continually revising and refining our plans while focusing on our ultimate goal of having as many students and staff working and learning on campus as is safely possible. This goal is in alignment with what we know is best for student learning and new language in California Ed Code that states that LEAs (Local Educational Agencies) must “offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible” (EC Section 43504(b).
Though we look forward to the time when we can have all students back on campus, student, staff and community safety is our top priority. We are prepared to start the year in full distance learning if that is the safest option and will be sharing more soon about the improvements we are implementing to better support students in a “Learning Anywhere” scenario. As a small school we are also looking for creative ways to think outside the box and pilot other solutions that larger schools and district systems would struggle to support.
We know from our staff and community survey data that we have a range of comfort levels that include families and staff that would prefer a “Learning Anywhere” Model, others who are ready to be back on campus immediately, and many that fall on the spectrum between. With the impossibility of full consensus, we are putting our energy into exploring how to meet as many stakeholders’ needs as possible by creating multiple options for staff and families.
This week we will be holding two Community Listening Sessions to collect more information from you about our initial draft plan, your needs and the needs of your students. These sessions will be primarily focused on information gathering and collecting questions. We will answer what questions we can, but mainly take note of all questions, comments and concerns to inform our next steps. Please join us Thursday July 16, 3-4pm (Zoom Link) or Friday July 17, 9:30-10:30am (Zoom Link). You can also find these events and more on our public calendar here!
Thank you for your continued patience and support as we all navigate these unprecedented times. We are so glad to be working together with you!