SLCUSD Family Communication #13
Monday, May 18th
Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent The airwaves are swirling with budget concerns and continued uncertainty regarding the spread of COVID-19. Governor Newsom shared the undeniably painful news about the state’s budget shortfall in his May budget update. Dr. Fauci proclaimed that starting schools in the fall is a “bridge too far” while the President encouraged the nation to open up and get back to work. From every direction, we are getting conflicting information which adds confusion to an already difficult situation. We all want our kids to be safe, but school closures place tremendous pressure on families and the overall welfare of our community. As a San Luis Coastal parent recently shared with me, “We have been diligently sheltering at home, face-mask wearing, social distancing, etc. But the challenge of "homeschooling" two elementary school kids, with a toddler at home, with a restaurant struggling to keep the doors open, and with a full time job... it is too much, and the kids are suffering. I am one of the lucky ones who still has a job. But I am now faced with the terrible choice of keeping my job - and keeping food on the table and a roof over our heads - or devoting my day to my children's education.” I am constantly aware that while we are all in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. I recognize the different struggles among families in our community which is why we need to get this right.Strong leadership is essential as we navigate critical decisions even while information changes daily. We have an excellent team of people in our district who are working to reopen school on August 17, 2020. We are cautiously optimistic that by then, San Luis Obispo County will be in Phase 3 of Governor Newsom’s Roadmap to Reopen. However, given the changing nature of the pandemic, we are formulating plans for distance learning in the event that the fall brings additional shelter at home orders.These options are important and necessary, allowing us to be nimble this next school year. I am in close conversation with our County Health Director, Dr. Penny Borenstein, and she has agreed to work with us to ensure each of our options are viable and safe for our students and employees. As we explore options to regain a sense of normalcy in our lives, let’s try to seek the positive during this closure period. At our last Superintendent's Student Senate meeting, I was struck by how many of our students were able to find silver linings in the small things we adults might miss. I am reminded of Bob Dylan’s words, “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” Stay safe and healthy.
Ryan Pinkerton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Governor Releases Budget UpdateGovernor Newsom delivered his May Revised Budget address yesterday. It contained a lot of information that we will need to sift through in the coming weeks. I’ll be working with the Director of Fiscal Services, Julie Lang, to determine the actual effect this budget will have on our district. We remain optimistic that our conservative budgeting practices along with strong reserves will help cushion the impact on our employees and programs in the 2020-2021 school year. We hope to see our Federal Government provide support during this difficult time. I will keep you updated as we learn more.BG&T Prepares CampusesOne of the ways we are taking steps to prepare for students and staff to return to our campuses when allowed is by looking at increasing hand washing stations as well as installing hand sanitizer dispensers throughout our schools. Maintenance is completing projects throughout the district and setting up new spaces due to construction. In Grounds, teams are working on projects that have always been pushed to the backburner due to lack of time. Transportation continues to step up to help out wherever they’re needed.Meanwhile, Measure D construction continues and we are getting extra projects done at our sites during this closure.Extra Food Benefits Available to FamiliesCalifornia will be offering an extra food benefit called Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) to children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school. It will provide $365 per eligible child to help California families buy food while schools are closed due to the coronavirus emergency.Families with children who get CalFresh, Medi-Cal, or Foster Care benefits do not need to apply. Most will get their P-EBT card in the mail during the month of May. Families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and who do not get their P-EBT card in the mail by May 22, 2020 must apply online before June 30, 2020. The online application will be available beginning May 22, 2020 at ca.p-ebt.org.Food Services Continues to Feed KidsFood Services continues to serve weekly meal kits to SLCUSD students with the support of our transportation team. We are planning on an eight-week weekly meal kit program starting June 10. The summer sign up sheet will be released soon! Since schools closed on March 16, we've served 133,184 meals to our students!
Kimberly McGrath, Assistant Superintendent of Educational ServicesReopening Our SchoolsAs we all know, the state and county are beginning to release the shelter-at-home order in a phased plan. As a school district, we must stay aligned with the orders within our county. Our desire is for students and staff to be back in person on August 17th. We miss our students! However, we are planning for all scenarios in case different plans are needed. Important points:
- We will start back to school on August 17th.
- We are hoping that we are allowed to offer in-person instruction.
- Our goal is always safety of students and staff combined with student achievement and wellbeing.
- We do not know what the public health status of our community will be in August. We are optimistic that we will be in Stage III of our state’s plan so that we can open in-person.
- Input is being gathered from a variety of sources. We are creating three different plans:
- Plan A is in-person instruction with additional safety precautions and a limited distance learning option
- Plan B is a complicated plan that involves social distancing with in-person instruction, and a distance learning component. We will implement this plan if required to do so.
- Plan C is a complete distance learning plan with the understanding that we might be asked to go in and out of this plan with additional shelter-at-home orders.
- Our goal is to have these plans in place by June 1st.
- All of these plans take a variety of factors into consideration including, but not limited to: safety, wellness, mental health, food service, transportation, facilities, equity, technology, and academic achievement.
- The summer will be utilized to add more specificity to the plans and monitor the situation.
- In August, we will decide on which plan needs to be implemented and inform everyone.
- We continue to plan and adjust as the latest information is provided.
Remember that in these times, we all need to provide an extra dose of grace to those around us. Take care of one another. We will get through this together. I appreciate your understanding and flexibility.General Education Summer Program Offerings Shifts to Incoming 9-12 Graders Only
With the ongoing closure of schools and continuing stay at home order we have had to adjust our summer program offerings. We cancelled our K-6 summer school program and the 7-8 Summer Experience program. We are focusing our efforts on planning our return in the fall. We will continue with a distance learning program for incoming 9-12 graders and currently have over 500 students signed up for classes. All courses will be conducted entirely online with no in-person meeting requirements. Students can take courses for credit and grade recovery as well as for original credit. A link was sent out via ParentSquare and information is posted on high school websites.New Student and Parent Portal Coming Soon!IS&T at San Luis Coastal has been working hard to transition our student information system from PowerSchool to Aeries. After July 13th, you will have a new student and parent portal. In the next couple of months, we will be reaching out to you with more about how to access your new portals.
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