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November 6 Friday Update: Preparing for a Return to In-Person Instruction When it is Safe To Do So

En Español

November 6, 2020

Happy Friday WCCUSD Community,

Thank you for the kind encouraging words of support on Thursday, following the announcement that this will be my final year as your Superintendent of this fantastic District. I look forward to working with the new board in its search for a new superintendent and will do everything I can to ensure a smooth transition.

A smooth transition includes continuing to do everything we can to care for WCCUSD’s students, families and staff during this pandemic and distance learning. We started a very important conversation Wednesday at the Board meeting about preparing to safely return to some form of in-person instruction when all safety conditions are met.

We heard the frustration, anxiety, fear and uncertainty from you on Wednesday. I know this is not easy. Families, students and teachers are all struggling with Distance Learning, the isolation, and the loss of connection with their peers, teachers and other community members. I have three kids--two school aged and one preschooler--who miss their friends and teachers. My wife is a teacher and I see her working hard every day dealing with independent and live video instruction. She misses her students, her colleagues and her school.

The same feelings and scenarios are playing out throughout WCCUSD, the Bay Area and the country. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic is not showing any signs of slowing down. On Thursday, new cases topped 118,000 nationwide and Contra Costa County Public Health Services issued this release earlier this week in response to an increase in COVD-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The presence and spread in our community are currently too high for all our schools and communities to return safely. (You can view the  zip code data for Contra Costa County, including all WCCUSD zip codes here. Download the census tract data to see zip codes.)  However, the data doesn’t mean we can’t continue to fully prepare for what a return would look like.

If you missed Wednesday’s Board meeting, you can view the presentation and read the preparation steps we are taking and the options we are doing. As we prepare, we need your assistance. In the next few weeks, we will be releasing surveys to help gather input and data, perceptions and thoughts on Distance Learning, reopening schools, safety and the type of support you and your family need.

The District preparation includes:

  • Auditing each school to determine the capacity and ability to safely host students and staff
  • Determining ways for students to gather and safely interact through music and sports while also following physical distance guidelines
  • Determining district hubs models
  • Defining criteria for priority students based on learning loss research and WCCUSD student data
  • Creating a District Dashboard to track requirements to reopen safely
  • Planning an extensive summer 2021 learning loss program for WCCUSD youngest students

When we release the surveys, please take a moment to complete them and then share widely with your friends and network. We will need the input and data from all of WCCUSD’s community.

Lastly, I want to continue to remind EVERYONE to complete the Multipurpose Family Income Form and to fill out an application to join the Redistricting Commission.

The Multipurpose Family Income Form benefits families that qualify and are a key source of funding that directly benefits students at your school and supports programs throughout the District.

Finally, after a historic week in which the District held its first trustee area elections and will have four of the five new members on the WCCUSD Board of Education, we need one representative from each of the five areas to join the Redistricting Commission. Commission members will review and possibly revise the trustee area boundaries for future elections using 2020 Census data.

Applications are due November 30 and we have yet to receive any applicants from District 2 or 5 or two from residents outside of WCCUSD but within Contra Costa County. Applications are available here and you can find your voting area here.

Thank you again for your support and for reading. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to take care of yourself, practice social/physical distancing and wear a mask when you are out and about.

In community,

Matthew Duffy