School Year Updates

October 2, 2020 CUSD Families,
As you may be aware, new cases of COVID-19 in Stanislaus County are continuing a downward trend, which is good news for reopening campuses for in-person instruction. Current estimates are that the numbers will decrease sufficiently to allow reopening of elementary schools (PreK-6) in early November. Please note that this estimate is based on current data and could change if conditions change. Secondary schools (7-12) will take longer to reopen safely, as their potential for the spread of illness is higher due to much larger student populations and intermingling of students changing classes multiple times each day.
In reopening campuses, the safety of students, staff, and families will remain our top priority. CUSD will adhere to protocols and procedures recommended by state and local health officials to prevent the spread of illness, including frequent cleaning and sanitizing of buildings and surfaces, routine hand-washing/hand-sanitizing, and social distancing. 
To allow for social distancing, a staggered, or “hybrid,” schedule will be necessary to minimize the number of students on campus at a time, beginning when elementary schools reopen.  Students will attend school in one of two groups:
GROUP A - Monday and Thursday; OR GROUP B - Tuesday and Friday
Families will be notified the week of October 5 of their child(ren)’s group assignment. All students within a household will attend school on the same days. On the days they are not at school for in-person instruction, students will participate in distance learning.   We know you are likely to have questions in the coming weeks. Please continue to check ParentSquare for updates. In the meantime, if your child is struggling academically or has social-emotional needs that are not being met, please keep in mind that CUSD has additional resources available to support students and families during distance learning. Please reach out to your child’s teacher or school.
Thank you for persevering through extraordinarily challenging times. We are looking forward to seeing students back in classrooms as soon as safely possible.
Sincerely, Scott Siegel, Ed.D. Superintendent

August 21, 2020

CUSD Families,

I would like to address a topic that has made the press over the last day or so. Let me start by stating that I am committed to proceeding with extreme caution in regard to any action on this topic.

Stanislaus County is on the state’s COVID watch list. To come off the watch list, there are criteria that must be met, including the number of new cases, which should be under 100. (This is different than the number of newly confirmed cases each day as reported in the media. If you are interested in the criteria and how the numbers are calculated, here is a link https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID19CountyDataTable.aspx .) Stanislaus County currently is at 287. If we drop below 200, school districts will be permitted to apply for waivers to allow limited numbers of students to return for in-person instruction at grades TK-6. The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency announced yesterday that the county is dropping at a rate that might allow waivers to be submitted by the end of August. This information has been shared through some social media channels in a manner that could easily be misconstrued as advocating for a rapid reopening. I want to assure you that CUSD is not going to rush into any action in this regard.

While we will begin to explore what a waiver might look like for our district, I am cognizant of several factors. Our stakeholders (parents and staff) need to be involved. I am concerned about a rush to reopen similar to what occurred in our society in May that led us to the situation we are in now. I am not convinced that the number of new cases, testing and contact tracing are indicative of reopening at this time. I also want to be very appreciative of the fact that changing our distance learning model to include limited in-person instruction might lessen the effectiveness of what we are doing. With all of that said, I also know that we want to see our students back in classrooms. Balancing these competing interests demands that we proceed cautiously and thoughtfully.

Please know that the safety and best interests of our students and staff will drive this planning. We may also proceed more slowly than other districts. As we navigate the planning process, I would rather be careful than fast.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Scott Siegel, Ed.D.
Superintendent

July 13, 2020

CUSD Families and Staff,

As previously shared with you, we have been optimistic that CUSD would be able to welcome students back to school for in-person learning on August 12, but have also been planning and preparing for other scenarios based on the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Earlier today, during a weekly call between Stanislaus County school district superintendents and the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, we were informed that the current rate of new infections and hospitalizations in Stanislaus County does not support the safe reopening of schools.  Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that these conditions will improve sufficiently by August 12 to allow for in-person learning.  At this time, CUSD is planning for a robust distance learning program until Stanislaus County schools are allowed to return to face-to-face instruction.  We will continue to work closely with our county public health department to ensure that this happens as quickly as conditions allow, but it is not known at this time when reopening will be permitted.

This is obviously not the news we had hoped for, and we know you will have many questions and concerns as we move toward the start of the new school year.  More information will be forthcoming soon.  In the meantime, we would like to hear from you.  Please CLICK HERE to submit questions that we will use to guide our communications and develop answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

We are committed to doing all we can to support students’ learning in whatever form it takes. Thank you for your patience and support as we move forward together.

Sincerely,
Scott Siegel, Ed.D.
Superintendent