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Flexible Learning Program

Flexible learning program faqs

 

 

 

At its public meeting on June 23, 2020, the Alameda Unified School District voted on the parameters for what instruction will look like for AUSD students in the 2020-21 school year. 

We know our families, students, and staff have many questions about the goals and logistics of these programs. We have tried to answer as many questions as we can here, but will be adding to this FAQ frequently throughout the summer. 

 

LEARNING PROGRAMS

 

What are the two options for school in 2020-21? 

Families have a choice between a Flexible Learning Program and a Remote Learning Program. The Flexible Learning Program is designed to alternate between in-person and distance learning depending on local health conditions.  The Remote Learning Program will be an entirely on-line program with which students will engage from home. (A separate FAQ on the Remote Learning Program is available here.)

 

Please note: Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Alameda County this summer, all AUSD schools will be starting in the distance learning phase of the Flexible Learning Program. Students enrolled in the Remote Learning Program will continue with that program.

 

What is the elementary school schedule for the Flexible Learning Program?

Under the approved schedule, elementary school students will have school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Students will receive direct instruction from the teacher ("synchronous") instruction for the first part of the day and will do "asynchronous" (independent) work the second part of the day. On Wednesdays, students will have a brief check-in with a teacher and then do “asynchronous” (independent) work, while teachers prepare their lessons and collaborate. Our flexible learning schedules are available here.

 

What are the middle and high school schedules in the Flexible Learning Schedule?

High school students will also have school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Students will receive direct instruction from the teacher ("synchronous") instruction for the first part of the day and will do "asynchronous" (independent) work the second part of the day. On Wednesdays, students will have a brief check-in with a teacher and then do “asynchronous” (independent) work, while teachers prepare their lessons and collaborate.  Students will take three classes per 18-week semester, so that by the end of the school year they will have completed six courses.  Our flexible learning schedules are available here.

 

Why can’t our students go back to school? 

Under the Governor's order of July 17, no school district can re-open its campuses until the local county has been off the state's COVID-19 watch list for 14 days. As of mid-August, Alameda County is still on the watch list.

 

Students in high school take some one-semester (half year) courses, such as Current Life and Economics. How long will those classes be now?

Those classes will now be one quarter instead of one semester.

 

If the public health situation improves, will AUSD go back to the traditional, fully in-person model?

We’re currently developing a tiered transition model for how we would move back to full-day, in-person instruction if health officials allow that. This would not be an overnight return, but yes, we are drafting plans for how that would work. We expect, at this time, that we would bring our elementary school students back full-time before middle and high school students, due to the difference in the way they experience and transmit COVID-19.

 

How do we indicate which program we prefer for our student(s)?

Families were sent a letter describing the  programs, with a link to the registration form, on June 26. The deadline for selecting a program was July 5.  Notifications about the Remote Learning Program were sent to families on July 9 and July 10. Families who registered for the remote program between June 29 and July 5 had until July 19 to decide if they truly want their student to be enrolled in that program and submit a confirmation form.

 

Please note: Families who did not submit an Instructional Program Choice form will be automatically enrolled in our Flexible Learning Program.

 

Will the calendar for  2020-21 school year change?

Yes, the  AUSD and Alameda Education Association (AEA) have negotiated and ratified changes to the 2020-21 calendar.  The primary adjustments are to:

 

  • The first day of school (August 27 rather than the previously scheduled August 17) 
  • The last day of school (June 15 rather than the previously scheduled June 9)

  • Existing professional development days (they are now concentrated at the start of the school year to better prepare our educators for the changes in teaching and learning that we are anticipating for the next school year).

What types of childcare are being planned for next year?

We understand that our working families need to know who will take care of their children when they are not in class next year and how and why that care will be provided. We have convened a working group that includes community partners who have provided afterschool care in the past. These organizations are currently putting together their plans for this fall.

 

Please note: Under the Alameda County Department of Public Health’s current orders, students can be in two, three-week long social “bubbles” or groups. One of those bubbles is school. The other bubble could be a childcare program, a club, or another extracurricular activity. As such, under the current orders, students in childcare programs will not be able to engage in other in-person activities. Health orders and guidelines are continually changing during this time, but we want to be sure all families understand what the current orders are.

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY

 

What will the health and safety protocols be for students enrolled in the Flexible Learning Program if we return to in-person instruction?

AUSD is currently exploring what will be most effective for handwashing, sanitizing, maintaining social distance, and mask wearing for our in-person classes. We will send out more details on this topic later this summer. 

 

Will you teach the children how to follow these health protocols?

Yes. This summer we will be creating posters and materials for teachers so that when students return to campus in August they can easily learn what the expectations will be for following health protocols.

 

What will you do if a student or teacher tests positive?

We are working with the Alameda County Department of Public Health to develop protocols and procedures for responding to positive cases of COVID-19.

 

What cleaning products will AUSD use in the schools? 

We have posted a list  of the products and the technical “Safety Data Sheets” that manufacturers provide with such products. Some highlights:

 

  • Bioesque Botanical Disinfectant Solution in our spray bottles and electrostatic sprayers. Bioesque is a botanically derived solution with a grapefruit and lemongrass scent. The solution is registered with EPA as a category IV toxic product, meaning that no precautionary statements or first-aid statements are required on the product label. It is considered safe enough to use on surfaces used for food preparation and also safe enough to use without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

  • A generic hand sanitizer sold by Home Depot Pro. This non-gel sanitizer contains 70% ethyl alcohol and .1% aloe. The alcohol odor dissipates as the alcohol evaporates.

Researchers are now saying that particles of the COVID-19 virus remain airborne indoors. What will AUSD do to mitigate that risk?

AUSD is following the discussions about airborne transmission closely and will continue to do so. Our understanding is that the highest risk appears to be in crowded indoor spaces that have poor ventilation. As such, while they are not disinfecting measures, we believe that three of our strategies - requiring masks, reducing the number of people in our classrooms and buildings, and maintaining stable cohorts (or “social bubbles”) -- will help to mitigate the risk of airborne transmission. In addition, we are exploring the possibility of holding classes outdoors, keeping doors and windows open where possible, and finding other ways to improve ventilation.

At the current time, we do not believe that installing powerful air filters or virus-killing ultraviolet lights in our 500-plus classrooms - as some are recommending - are viable strategies, because there is neither the time nor the sufficient funding to do this work before our schools open in August.

 

Do you have more details on how school lunches will be provided?

You can find the most up-to-date information about meal distribution on our Food and Nutrition Services website.

 

ENRICHMENT AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

 

Will students have access to Visual and Performing Arts classes? 

We are trying to make that possible and will have more information about that shortly.

 

Will students take PE?

Yes, PE instruction will be given.

 

What is happening with high school athletics? 

AUSD understands the importance of high school athletics and greatly values the role of sports in our student-athletes’ lives. On July 20, however, the California Interscholastic Federation sent a letter announcing that fall sports will not begin until the winter. For more information, please see our July 21 letter to all middle and high school families.

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

What will the schedule be for students who receive special education services?

Students in our mild to moderate classes will be on the same schedule as general education students. We are still developing the schedule for our moderate to severe classes. Strategic Academic instruction for students in the general education schedule will be delivered through a co teaching model as well as during small group time after or before the general class time.  At the secondary level the academic strategies class will not be offered as a class since we will be on a semester schedule. Academic strategies will either be held before or after the traditional classes throughout the entire year.  For more information, please see our July 15 letter to special education families.