WUSD granted TK-2 waiver
Wiseburn families and friends,
Last month, the District submitted an application to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) for a waiver that would allow the district to consider a return to campus for our TK-2 students at Anza and Cabrillo in small and stable cohorts and for limited amounts of time.
LADPH has now granted us the TK-2 waiver. The waiver brings us one step closer to bringing some students back for the critical in-person instruction our students, families, and staff have missed since the start of this pandemic, and we are grateful for all of the time and work that our team has put into this process to allow us to even have that possibility.
What does this waiver mean for the district?
LADPH's waiver grants us some autonomy to bring TK-2 students back to campus, and it is a permission we do not take lightly. The waiver certifies that we have implemented the advised safety measures required to reopen in this limited capacity. The District continues to monitor the data and guidance from county health experts at the LADPH and the California Department of Public Health to ensure we reopen when conditions are right for our community.
When will Wiseburn begin bringing TK-2 students back to school under this new waiver?
Currently, we are experiencing record-high levels of daily coronavirus cases in the county (40.3 new cases of COVID-19 per day per 100,000 residents of Los Angeles County), and must prioritize the health and safety of our staff, students, and community first and foremost by reducing the possibility of adding to community spread of COVID-19. Currently, we are limiting our on campus activities to the in-person assessments and specialized services that began November 2 and have occurred without incident. These services allow the District to support students who receive special education services, English Language Learners, and others most at risk in our TK-8 educational program.
At this time, we are planning for the possibility of bringing cohorts of our TK-2 students back beginning on January 25, 2021 at the earliest, due to the current risk COVID-19 presents in Los Angeles County. In the meantime, the District will engage a staff leadership and advisory team to solidify our plan for the reopening of TK-2 in-person instruction under the waiver. We will communicate our plans directly with TK-2 families as the plans materialize and we approach our potential return date.
What steps has the school taken to help ensure the safety of students returning to campus? What should I/my student(s) expect upon a return to campus?
The most critical aspect of our ability to bring students back is our implementation of cleaning and safety operations to mitigate outbreaks of COVID-19 and reduce the risk to our community.
We have already implemented these protocols on our campuses, as the District has been open since November 2 in a limited capacity for in-person services for students with special needs and many staff members have also worked from our sites, in gradually larger numbers, since March.
Under our implemented safety measures, we have not had an outbreak of COVID-19 on our campuses.
For those returning to campus for the TK-2 instruction, you can expect some of the following enhanced cleaning and safety operations as required by Wiseburn policy and the LADPH Reopening Protocols for K-12 Schools:
- All students, staff, visitors, and other stakeholders are required to wear face coverings when on District grounds.
- Students will remain in stable cohorts of no more than 12 students throughout the day with two supervising adults.
- All staff, students, parents/caregivers, and other essential visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 on a daily basis at the entry point and before physically entering the site.
- Staff members will be provided the appropriate PPE including face masks, face shields, and gloves. PPE will be provided to students upon request. Wiseburn will also provide desktop plexiglass shields and hand sanitizer stations.
- The District will coordinate with the custodial staff to be sure all assessment locations and associated materials are regularly and sufficiently cleaned and disinfected to LADPH and CDC standards. Our custodians have checklists and sign off on cleaning assignments at their required intervals on a consistent schedule.
- Site administrators will continually send information to our families about ongoing safe and healthy practices at each site to ensure community compliance.
- All sites have already been and will continue to be visited by LADPH to ensure compliance with all health and safety requirements.
There are more requirements beyond this list, and we encourage you to review the parent health and safety guides via the Health and Safety section of our website, and to watch the WUSD Safety Q&A presentation recording from earlier this week here to better understand our operations under the waiver.
What if I don't want my TK-2 student to return to in-person instruction?
We will still be providing students, families, and caregivers with the choice to opt in or out for in-person education as we are able to provide it. Our in-person learning and our distance learning model will operate concurrently with more details forthcoming.
What about students in 3rd-8th grades?
At this time, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health does not offer waivers for in-person instruction for these grade levels. The waivers intend to prioritize younger learners who may have the most difficulty in adjusting to a distance learning model of instruction.
However, currently some students in 3rd-8th grades do come back to campus for in-person specialized services based on student need, an exception provided by the LADPH to help us better support our students. As a waiver for upper elementary and middle school does not exist, we will continue to review these alternate options for bringing our students back, in some capacity, for greater support.
What does this waiver mean for childcare?
We are simultaneously exploring opening our extended day program and preschool enrichment program in January 2021. Priority will be given to those who have completed registration and paid a deposit. We will inform parents regarding the process to enroll as we further solidify plans around this prospective reopening.
How can I support school safety efforts?
Parents and caretakers should review the Parent Guide to Reopening Schools for 2020-2021 (English / Español) and follow all applicable safety measures, including conducting self-screenings and wearing a mask.
Generally, all families in our community can follow the recommended guidance:
- Wear a mask in public.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Keep at least six feet of physical distance when in public.
- Limit mixing with people you don't live with.
The District and our school sites will be in direct communication with our TK-2 families with more information as our planning solidifies and we approach our potential return date of January 25, 2021. Please continue to monitor your inbox for updates.
The granting of this waiver is a recognition from our local health experts of our efforts in prioritizing safety and a milestone in our progression toward in-person learning where possible and safe. We thank our students, parents, caretakers, families, staff, and community at large for your support and partnership throughout this process and year as a whole.
Yours in partnership,
Blake Silvers, Ed.D.