The Natomas Unified School District Board of Trustees held a Special Board Meeting in late May to discuss how we will be able to return our students to school in a safe, healthy classroom environment for 2020-21. Specifically, staff outlined what social distancing would look like in the classrooms and reiterated parent options for their students. Here are some of the recommendations that staff made to the Board and that we are considering for a safe return:
- Parents will be asked to Screen at Home for their student’s temperature (more information will follow). Additionally schools will be able to support parents with temperature checks as needed.
- Masks would not be required at elementary schools which is in alignment with the Sacramento County Public Health Departments’ recommendation. Requiring masks at secondary schools is not a recommendation that has been made yet.
- Parents have the option to allow their students to wear their own masks and NUSD has purchased 1(one) mask per student and disposal backups should they forget
- Social distancing in classrooms with students 6 feet apart where possible
- Clear screens/shields where 6 feet distance will be tighter
- NUSD wants to provide families options that include:
- Safely having their students in physical classrooms 100% of the time – social distancing and clear physical barriers (when 6’ distance is not possible), or;
- We also know that some parents may not feel comfortable yet with their students returning to their school sites, so we have an Independent Study option that will come with district curriculum and teacher support, and;
- We are trying to negotiate a Hybrid Option that will allow students to learn, engage, and stay connected with their teachers and peers at times in person, at times through virtual learning (that will look different from this past spring). As soon as we have more details, we will share them with you.
- Ideally we could have 60-70% students in class every day, and the other 30-40% on Independent Study or in synchronous learning from home.
Meanwhile, we are planning for an Early Start Program for students with remediation needs and a small group of students to serve as peer leaders and helpers to start July 20. If we are able to move forward with the Early Start Program, we will contact the parents of the students who have been recommended to attend. The current status of the state budget and negotiations may limit the size of this program or lead to its elimination.
Natomas Unified has already invested in plastic barriers, masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, thermometers, cleaning machines, new desks to temporarily replace tables, chargers for Chromebooks, and new charging tools for Chromebooks in classrooms, wipes, and clear shields for teachers/aides who need students to see their mouths move for learning (to name a few items). We hope to allow teachers to get into their rooms soon and organize their rooms during this new environment. And we would like to hire movers to assist teachers with any moving of equipment and desks. All of that is in the beginning stages of negotiations.
The first day of the 2020-2021 school year is August 13. That’s a little over two months away. We have some time, but there is work to be done. We will continue to update you throughout the break on our reopening of schools and other pertinent information as necessary, so please continue to check your email.