February letter from the Superintendent
Wiseburn families and friends,
Throughout the pandemic, state and local guidance that Wiseburn must follow regarding reopening for in-person general education has changed as global understanding of the coronavirus has evolved.
Last month, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released a new framework for reopening that has now consolidated and superseded all past directives. The newest requirement most relevant to our families is that counties in the Widespread (Purple) Tier must reach a newly defined metric to reopen schools that have not previously reopened for in-person instruction.
Essentially, schools that have not physically reopened for in-person instruction already cannot proceed with a physical reopening until their county is at or below a COVID-19 adjusted case rate of 25/100,000 residents. This case rate reflects recommendations from the Harvard Global Health Institute analysis of safe school reopening policy.
Given the new framework, Wiseburn proposed at our last school board meeting on January 28 our own framework for reopening in-person general education instruction that complies with all state and local directives. The proposed framework hinges on meeting milestones relating to the CDPH-required COVID-19 adjusted case rate in Los Angeles County, the availability of vaccines for teachers and staff, and the implementation of COVID-19 testing on site.
Wiseburn's proposed reopening framework metrics that we must meet to consider reopening are:
- The COVID-19 adjusted case rate in Los Angeles County must be at, or below, 25/100,000 residents. The current adjusted case rate for the county can be found through the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy webpage
- Vaccines for teachers and staff must be available. Reopening can be considered once our teachers and staff have been afforded the opportunity to receive a vaccine.
- Wiseburn must have implemented on-site COVID-19 testing capabilities. We should consider reopening once a recommended testing plan is in place to support frequent testing of on-site personnel and students.
Provided we meet all state and local requirements for reopening, the Wiseburn framework allows us to approach reopening safely, guided by reaching specific milestones rooted in proven virus mitigation efforts.
Though we cannot know precisely when we will hit the first milestone for the adjusted case rate, we are approaching Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout, which is expected to begin in early February. This phase prioritizes those at risk of exposure at work in the education and childcare sectors, among others. As we await further information on these state-run efforts, preparations are already underway to establish our on-site testing capabilities. We are aiming to have these capabilities in place toward the end of February.
While guidance from state and local health officials continue to evolve, we maintain focus on our efforts to reopen safely for in-person instruction. As our team shared during the board meeting — which I encourage our community to view below — our priority has always been to get our students back to campus when it is safe to do so for our students, families and caretakers, teachers, and greater community.
We continue to look forward to the day we can begin bringing all of our students back to campus, and thank the Wiseburn community for their support and patience throughout this pandemic.
Blake Silvers, Ed.D., Superintendent