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Update on the Start of School Fall 2020

Dear LVUSD Staff & Families,

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying a restful, safe summer vacation.  Last week we shared our potential LVUSD reopening plan that was carefully designed to create an optimum, in-person learning model for students.  I, like so many of you, have continued planning with the hope and intent that our school district would be in a position to safely reopen all of our campuses on August 19th for our students and staff.  

We recognize that there are countless benefits to students participating in on-campus learning. There is nothing we want more than to restore that sense of community, connection, and learning.  We absolutely want all of our students and staff on our campuses.  

We have made significant investments in safety and health upgrades, and we were preparing to welcome students and staff back to campuses in August.  The California Department of Education Coronavirus Response and School Reopening Guidance states, “Schools should not open unless there is a sustained decrease in new cases of COVID-19.”  Unfortunately, we are in quite the opposite situation in our county and region, with cases rising significantly each day.

The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, and community come first.  

Given the recent public health trends, the School Board and I have made the difficult decision to start the school year, August 19th, with all students engaged in a virtual learning format.  We hope we can allow students to return to campus possibly as soon as after Labor Day.  I also want to acknowledge that this is an optimistic goal, and it depends on improving public health data.

As I shared last week in the video message, we need to remain flexible and nimble.  Things will change.  We will be working hard and communicating frequently in the next five weeks to ensure we have an excellent start to the year.  We have learned much about how to effectively provide virtual learning and we will aggressively apply those best practices to ensure learning.  We will provide clear and consistent schedules of class time.    

We are still asking families to select either the Virtual Academy or the on-campus option through our online form at http://lvusdupdates.org prior to 5:00 pm on Friday, July 24th.  Students who are in the Virtual Academy will have a 100% virtual experience for at least a trimester (elementary ) or a semester (secondary).  

Students who request the on-campus option will be assigned a regular school schedule and classroom assignment as they would during an in-person school year. While their school experience will begin with their teacher(s) virtually, they will exit the virtual learning model and return to their school campuses with the same classroom teacher(s) as soon as safely possible.

Our team will continue to offer scheduled update webinars on July 30th and August 4th. Additionally, continued updates will be sent regularly through This Week in LVUSD and our Social Media platforms. Please check our website at www.lvusd.org for updates.

Reopening our schools is a herculean task. Let’s continue to stay positive, take care of one another, and follow health and safety guidelines.   

Dan Stepenosky
Superintendent
Las Virgenes Unified School District