Dear PUSD Families,
We understand that you have a lot of questions about our school reopening plans. School districts across the county, state, and country are grappling with the same issues and concerns around reopening as we are. At the same time, Poway Unified is among the first school districts in the county to safely reopen some of our campuses to students in person this summer. I encourage you to view this video of our Extended School Year program that opened at Design39Campus, as well as these photos from our Youth Enrichment Program summer camps at our Twin Peaks Center. I want to commend staff and families for working together to successfully ensure the proper health and safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. While the number of students on our campuses is smaller than during the school year, these programs are allowing us to fine tune our site specific plans for the Fall.
That said, based on your feedback, I’d like to let you know that PUSD will be pushing back the family commitment period to July 24-29. Many of you have inquired why we even need families to make this commitment in July. Please be aware that July 29th is only a few weeks before the start of the school year. Based on the number of families choosing each option, PUSD leadership needs adequate time to staff appropriately and plan for instructional programs, course assignments, and class configurations that can accommodate the number of students who plan to attend school in person or virtually.
This is a highly complex and complicated process, one we do not take lightly. We want to ensure our plans can be rolled out as smoothly as possible, while ensuring everyone’s safety. I assure you that you will be provided with the site specific plans ahead of time, in order to have the information you need to make the decision that fits your needs and comfort levels. Additionally, we heard from many of you who are concerned about committing for an entire school year. Based on this feedback, we will be allowing a mid-year window in December or January for families to reassess their learning pathway choice for their children. I hope this information relieves the apprehension that some of our parents are feeling. As a District, we are committed to ensuring that our reopening process remains flexible and collaborative, and we have worked hard to take your feedback into account.
In the meantime we are also working on a reopening guidebook and an additional set of frequently asked questions which will be posted next week on our reopening page, based on the questions you submitted. Some of the things we will address are the challenges around a hybrid or blended option, what would happen if due to health concerns an entire campus or the entire District has to physically close, whether those participating in the virtual learning academy can play school sports or participate in after school activities (the answer is yes), and how a student from a trimester schedule could succeed and benefit in a quarter system if they choose the virtual learning option.
As you can see, the questions and potential scenarios are endless, but we will continue to communicate and provide you with additional information over the next few weeks.
Dr. Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D.