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July 2 Closure Update: Return 2 School Task Force Updates

En Español

July 2, 2020

Dear WCCUSD Community,

We did it. Together, we made it through an unprecedented year that forced us to say goodbye physically to one another on March 13 and spend the next 13 weeks connecting and learning virtually.

In that time, a number events have gripped the world and sparked WCCUSD student leaders and families into action. Current and former students from Kennedy, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole Valley and other high schools have stepped up and called for an end to systemic and institutional racism and police brutality facing communities of color, particularly the African-American community.

Community members and staff have also rallied around one another to ensure families are fed, distributing well over 2 million meals at 21 meal distribution locations. Teachers and staff delivered food and materials to students and checked in with emails, texts, and calls to see how they were coping with Distance Learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For 13 weeks, we worked through Distance Learning to see what worked and what needed attention. We have continued that work and need the WCCUSD community to rally again. There is a task force working to develop plans for what learning and school will look like in the 2020-21 school year. The task force includes representatives from a variety of stakeholder groups. Students, families, teachers, classified employees, and school leaders are working with district staff members to ensure that concerns from all stakeholders are represented. 

With things being unsettled because of COVID-19, we have to prepare for a school year that could have students learning from home, combining distance learning with limited in-person instruction or even a full return to campus. While there are challenges with each of these scenarios, this is an opportunity to drastically rethink and improve education so that all students, in particular African-American, Latinx, and socio-economically disadvantaged students have the same opportunities and learning experiences as their well-to-do peers.

We are working on plans to meet a July 20 deadline for submission to the Contra Costa County Office of Education. These plans must meet the academic needs of students while also complying with guidelines established by county health officials to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. 

The task force has partitioned the work into four focus areas:

  1. Health and Safety
  2. Operations and Facilities
  3. Communications
  4. Learning

The work is moving at a furious pace as we seek to comply with the July 20 deadline and meet both Contra Costa County Health Services and California Department of Education and Contra Costa County Office of Education guidelines. To reach that deadline, we have created the following schedule to ensure we submit the plan on time. Here is an outline of the plan:

June 15-30: - Stakeholder surveys and focus groups

July 9: - First draft of Return to School plan

July 10: - Community Town Hall 

July 10-16: - Stakeholder input/feedback)

July 15: - Report to the Board of Education

July 17: - Finalize plan

July 20: - Submit plan to Contra Costa County Office of Education

Once we have a draft plan, we will need feedback and input from you, the WCCUSD community, to ensure that we get it right. You can also give your input at the July 10 Town Hall meeting about the plan. More details about the town hall will be shared soon.

While you are trying to enjoy this summer, I encourage you to stay engaged so that you are informed about the draft plan and are ready to provide your feedback and input.

There are also ways for your children to keep connected to learning this summer. District teachers and staff have curated a list of summer resources that can help reduce the learning loss that many students have experienced. Please take advantage of these resources and tailor them to fit your family’s needs.

Additionally, the summer meal program is still running strong. Children 18 and under can receive free meals at 21 locations throughout the district. 

Due to late resignations and retirements, there are several dozen teaching positions that need to be filled for next year across the district in different subject areas. While it will be an intense year, I believe we are going to do great things for kids and we are a great place to teach.  What an amazing opportunity to lead our youth right now!  Please encourage people in your networks to apply. Despite the challenges we have faced, I am fully convinced that this district is a destination for educators who want to have a significant impact on the lives of students and their families. You can find the full listing of open positions on our EdJoin page.

Stay healthy, take care of yourself and your family and don’t forget to continue to practice the safety guidelines outlined by the public health experts.

In community,

Matthew Duffy

July 10 5:30 to 7 pm Town Hall Meeting Flyer