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Update #10 COVID-19

Update #10 COVID-19 and School Closure Extension

As of March 20, 2020, we were given direction from the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) that the current school closures across Los Angeles County will be extended until Tuesday, May 5, 2020, (staff will return on May 4 to prepare).

While we know that this is an important step in flattening the curve in the spread of the virus, we also know that everyone is concerned about the prospect of continued learning for all of our students. I want to reassure everyone that SUSD is working to ensure that learning will be more than maintained during this extended closure. Our District Office team have been working during the week to prepare a distance learning protocol that will allow equity for students and will be able to be implemented by teachers and other service providers so all students can progress in their learning despite remaining "safer at home."

We anticipate being fully prepared to launch the enhanced distance learning format by March 30, 2020. During this weekend and early next week, families will receive more information on future schedules, availability of technology, platforms that will be used by the district, etc. Please check each Parent Square update to ensure you have all of the information needed to assist your child(ren) in being successful in their learning. We will also be communicating with staff during the weekend to ensure we prepare for future activities.

We know that many families have multiple children in multiple levels of school. We are examining best practices in homeschool instruction format to help us with time frames and allow us to make schedules enabling parents and students to access the important learning opportunities without competing interests for all children within a household. We hope to have some general schedules available by Wednesday, March 25.

We hope you will be patient with us and with yourselves during this time. Teaching is challenging. None of us have ever "done school" under these circumstances. Please know we are here to support you and your children. In SUSD, we believe that together we achieve more! Together we will accomplish learning during this health crisis.

Please continue to check Parent Square and social media updates for information on accessing internet services and meal provision for children under 18, etc.

Remember to continue social distancing and using preventative measures - wash your hands often.

Take care and look for future updates,
Colleen

Coronavirus Update

Updates as of March 18, 2020

Good Afternoon!

At 7:30 a.m. this morning I participated on a conference call with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and the 80 LA area superintendents to discuss the current situation surrounding COVID-19 and Governor Newsom's comments yesterday that "students would not be returning to school any time soon". Then at 10:00 a.m. I participated with over 5000 other educational leaders around the state in a teleconference with Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, State School Board President, Linda Darling-Hammond, and many other California Department of Education (CDE) officials to discuss the currently known information around COVID-19, school closures, and other school related issues.

During each phone conference it was made clear that no decision had been made, at this time, for schools to be closed longer than we have originally scheduled. The Governor's staff explained that his comments were merely ideas he had shared as just another California parent and not as an executive order. We have a weekly meeting with CDE on Friday so we can receive additional information and direction related to school closures and other school related business. We also have a daily LACOE meeting to discuss the most recent updates and information.

As soon as we have information related to an extended school closure, we will share that with our community. Until that time, we are closed until April 3, 2020, and we will remain closed for spring break April 6 through 10, 2020. As of today, we anticipate students returning to school on Monday, April 13, 2020.

Distance learning and instructional continuity continues to be a topic we examine and refine. Originally, we were encouraged to plan for a two to three week closure, equity of access for students without Internet and devices, and work that would maintain skills during the closure. Now we are being asked to examine, if we are closed for a longer period, to attempt to provide distance learning that is more targeted towards introduction of new grade level learning. As we formulate our plans of operation for this new expectation, we will communicate with staff and families to prepare them for this work. We do not anticipate having any change in student lesson opportunities, format, or structure until March 30, 2020. This will only occur if we are anticipating being closed longer than is currently planned.

In the event we are closed longer than the three weeks we were originally told to anticipate, we want to ensure that students are accessing new curriculum, however, we need to arrange appropriate access for all students and ensure each teacher is prepared to engage with their students in a distance learning environment. We expect to receive additional guidance on this in the coming days and we will update you as information becomes available. Please know if a change in format is required, we will work with families to help provide access to devices, possible internet solutions, and potential technology support that may be required. Making this type of transition will require some work, but we are working toward it if we need to be closed longer than anticipated.

We thank everyone for their patience and support during this health crisis. Please stay healthy and continue the appropriate preventative measures.

Colleen Hawkins, Ed.D

Updates as of March 16, 2020
Update #6 Food Services for Children During School Closures

Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency (School Day Café) will provide student meals to all children at any of the designated locations. You do not need to be an enrolled student in order to receive meals at any of these locations. One bagged/boxed lunch per child (18 years and younger) will be provided.

Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency (School Day Café) proporcionara comidas a todos los estudiantes durante el cierre de todas las escuelas, en los lugares designados. No necesita ser un estudiante en nuestro distrito para recibir comida.

Central Kitchen (Cocina Central):
  • This Wednesday (3/18) through Friday (3/20) from noon to 2:00 p.m., a drive-up service for families for lunch service will be provided at the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency, 25210 Anza Drive, Santa Clarita, 91355. One bagged/boxed lunch per child (18 years and younger) will be provided.
  • Este Miércoles 3/18 hasta el Viernes 3/20 del mediodía hasta las 2:00 pm, en la Agencia de Servicios de Alimentos de Santa Clarita Valley, 25210 Anza Drive, Santa Clarita, 91355. Se proporcionará un almuerzo en bolsa/caja por niño (18 años o menor). Sera repartido como servicio rápido en su auto.

School Sites (Escuelas):
  • Beginning Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3, drive-up lunch services will be provided from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the following locations during school days (Monday to Friday). One bagged/boxed lunch per child (18 years and younger) will be provided.
  • A partir del Lunes 23 de Marzo hasta el Viernes 4/3, se brindarán servicios de almuerzo para llevar del mediodía hasta las 1:00 p.m. en los lugares siguientes durante los días escolares de Lunes a Viernes. Se proporcionará un almuerzo en bolsa/caja por niño (18 años o menor). Sera repartido como servicio rápido en su auto.

Saugus Union Schools where meals will be provided for any child age 18 or younger are the following:
  • Santa Clarita Elementary - 27177 Seco Canyon Rd, Saugus, CA 91350
  • Cedarcreek Elementary - 27792 Camp Plenty Rd, Canyon Country, CA 91351
  • Rio Vista Elementary - 20417 Cedarcreek St, Canyon Country, CA 91351
In addition, Hart Union High School District has added the following sites:
  • Rancho Pico JHS
  • La Mesa JHS
  • Arroyo Seco JHS
  • Rio Norte JHS

Updates as of March 13, 2020

Good evening to our very large Saugus Family!

After much behind the scenes work from our County Office of Education Superintendent, Debra Duardo, Ed.D., and many of our county superintendents over the last few days and nights, WE were finally given the permission we required so we could make the decision we have wanted to - closing schools in the interest of public health and safety. While safety of students and staff are our number one priority, school districts must consider the bottom line and how school closure (lack of ADA funding) and the demand of paying employees impacts any district's ability to function in the best interests of students in the future. We must also consider how school closure impacts our mandated instructional minutes to meet the Education Code requirements. Without the assurance from the California Department of Education that these waivers would be granted it was impossible for us to make the decision to close.

Thankfully, all of the various government agencies and officials worked together overnight to allow our county districts and others to make the decision that our stakeholders were pleading us to make. Now, we have the challenge of what the decision to close involves. The following is a list of information that we know to date:

  • All Saugus Union School District (SUSD) schools and programs are closed effective March 16, 2020 through April 3, 2020.
  • Regularly scheduled Spring Break closure will be in effect April 6, 2020 to April 10, 2020. Child Development Program (CDP) services will be available during the regular Spring Break schedule for those who have registered to attend (CDP will send additional information).
  • Parent Conferences are cancelled for the remainder of the school year. Parents desiring to speak with their child's teacher about progress should contact that teacher to arrange a phone conference or in person meeting when students return to school after April 13, 2020.
  • Student report cards will be sent home with students beginning Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
  • Parents of special education students should expect to receive a Prior Written Notice (PWN) letter next week via email and regular mail. The PWN details the process that will be implemented during the school closure and how services will be addressed when students return in April.

On Monday, March 16, 2020, SUSD will send out information to parents regarding maintaining instructional continuity during the closure. Our teacher-on-special-assignment team has put together lessons for each grade level that students can complete during the closure period to assist them in maintaining their skills and continue their learning. These lessons can be accessed online OR we can provide individual student packets. Parents who desire printed packets should email their school principal by 9:00 am on Monday, March 16, 2020. We will have packets prepared and ready for pick up at school sites on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Please understand that we are closed and only essential employees will be available beginning March 17, 2020. If you have questions or needs during this period, you should use Parent Square to communicate with school employees (i.e., teachers, office staff, administration). While they may not answer immediately, someone will answer your request if possible.

Remember that this health crisis is still very volatile and fluid. We have imposed time-frames for closure and reopening. As things progress over the next days and weeks, we will continue updating families of any major changes (i.e., additional closure time, resources available, etc.). This time is for SOCIAL DISTANCING and trying to remain healthy so we slow the spread of this virus. Please continue to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control for prevention and general health practices (i.e., regular hand washing, covering nose and mouth when sneezing, etc.).

Finally, I want to thank all of the Saugus Union employees for their dedication to students, their patience, and their support during this health crisis. Without their calm and dedication to service we would not have been able to make this transition so quickly. I especially want to thank the administrative team, including Cabinet and Extended Cabinet, for their efforts to ensure that we addressed all known concerns prior to closure and during the initial phases of the crisis. The ability for me to have confidence in their service and expertise allows the entire organization to benefit, but bottom line OUR KIDS are all good!

Stay healthy, stay apart, and take care of each other.

Colleen Hawkins, Ed.D

Coronavirus Update

As you have heard from a variety of news outlets in recent days, and most recently from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the coronavirus is a growing concern around the world. Currently, there are relatively few confirmed cases within the United States, however, we must be conscious of the preventative measures provided by the Health Department and CDC. The district leadership and the district nursing staff have received communications from these entities and are responding based on their advice.

We have been encouraged to follow these procedures as preventative measures:

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Use "respiratory etiquette".
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.

To read more about the recommendations and the steps we are taking, please read the entire coronavirus parent staff letter.

Updates as of March 12, 2020:

Saugus Union School District (SUSD) is continuing to actively monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and refine our response based on the information provided from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH), California Department of Education (CDE), and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). This is a dynamic situation that is rapidly evolving each day, and we want to apprise you of the immediate and proactive steps we are now implementing. We invite you to learn more by reading through our March 12, 2020, update letter.

Updates as of March 6, 2020:

We continue monitoring information from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH), the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for information related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the recommendations for how school districts should proceed in preparation for potential cases as well as in preventing potential cases from occurring.

We want to emphasize that we currently do not have any known cases of COVID-19 within the Saugus Union School District.

To reassure families, however, that we are being proactive regarding the potential spread of COVID-19 or any other cold or flu illness, we want to let everyone know that our schools are implementing or regularly implement the following procedures:

  • Regular classroom cleaning.* The regular cleaning process includes wiping down surfaces (i.e., desks, door knobs, counters, etc.), vacuuming, cleaning of sink areas, etc. It also includes daily cleaning of the restrooms and lunch areas that students and staff use. In instances where we may have students with sensitive immune systems, we implement the use of hand-wipes or hand-sanitizers regularly in addition to our regular cleaning. If we have a situation where there is a known issue of recurring flu, whooping cough, etc. within a classroom or school, we add a layer of sanitizing by use of our "sani-gun" tool. This tool allows a charged mist to surround smaller objects (i.e., pencils, crayons, blocks, etc.) to be easily sanitized. 

  • Regular scheduled hand washing.* School site administration and school staff have been advised to implement regular scheduled hand washing for all students. This includes having all students wash, with soap and water or use of hand sanitizer, their hands prior to eating lunc
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