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May 19 District Closure Update: New county guidance allows car-based graduations; locker, classroom clear out process out this week

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May 19, 2020

Dear WCCUSD Families,

Summer is rapidly approaching  and we have a lot of work to do to end the school year positively and productively. I know that you have been waiting to get answers to some pressing questions, especially regarding graduations and clearing out classrooms and lockers. After a lot of back and forth and many false starts, we finally have clear direction from the county health department.

I will begin with graduations. On Friday, Contra Costa Health Services released new guidance that allows for car-based gatherings, which includes religious services and graduations. We are extremely relieved to finally have clear guidance that will allow the Class of 2020 to be acknowledged in person. Our high schools will hold car-based ceremonies for the Class of 2020 that comply with the new county guidelines.

Currently, the plan is to have our largest schools spread the ceremonies over two days in order to maintain the appropriate social distancing and staffing and all graduations will be by appointment. Additionally, each graduate will be limited to one car and that must only include people who live in the same household. The high schools are finalizing plans and will submit them to Contra Costa Health Services for review and approval. You will receive details about the events from your school principals.

Each school will also put together a graduation video to commemorate the Class of 2020.

Here are the tentative dates and times of the celebrations. 

Drive Thru/Appointment Graduations
School Days, Time
Hercules High School
May 27: 11 am to 1 pm; May 28: 11 am to 1 pm
Middle College
May 29 or May 30: 11 am to 1 pm
El Cerrito High School
June 1: 10 am to 1 pm; June 2: 12 pm to 3 pm
De Anza High School June 1: 2 pm to 4 pm; June 2: 9 am to 11 am
Richmond High School June 3: 3 pm to 6 pm; June 4: 2 pm to 5 pm
Kennedy High School June 4: 10 am to 1 pm; June 5: 4 pm to 7 pm
Pinole Valley High School June 4: 4 pm-7 pm; June 5: 10 am to 1 pm
Vista High School June 5: 3 pm-6 pm
Sylvester Greenwood Academy June 6: 3 pm-6 pm

I encourage you to stay in touch with your school to get your graduation time and learn more about the specific requirements for your school’s ceremony. 

We are also finishing up the plans for closing out schools and allowing staff and students back to clean out classrooms and lockers or drop off materials. Again, each school will schedule times for students and staff to return to the campus while maintaining appropriate social distancing and following other health guidelines. You should begin getting information on this activity later this week.

Students who are returning to a District school will keep their Chromebooks over the summer. Students transitioning from elementary to middle school will exchange their Chromebooks for new devices in the fall. More specifics will come from each school.

Finally, we need your help on two things. First, as we continue to bring students, staff members and families to schools for meals, technology exchanges and to pick up and drop off items, it is important that we all remember to follow the health guidelines, particularly around social distancing and face coverings. Please wear a mask or face covering when you are outside of your home and particularly when you are interacting with others. We have employees who are working to provide resources to students and families, but that does not mean we should put them at risk by exposing them to people who do not wear masks or face coverings.

Second, your child’s school will be reaching out to inform you about some important meetings to get feedback and to start preparation for next school year. This is particularly important for the African American Parent Advisory Council and the English Learner Advisory Committee. Your participation in school-based groups like these are the most immediate and effective way to ensure that your voice is heard in the way your child’s school operates.

Thank you for continuing to support this district.

In community,

Matthew Duffy