Sat, Apr 4 5:08pm
Message from Crystal Turner, Ed.D.
Superintendent of SVUSD
Wednesday, Governor Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, announced that distance learning may continue through the end of the 2019-20 school year, as a result of increased COVID-19 cases throughout the state. Additionally, Orange County Superintendent, Al Mijares, has recommended that “school districts in Orange County cancel student attendance on campuses through the end of this academic year and channel their efforts toward adopting robust and effective distance learning models.”
What this Means for SVUSD
Based on this guidance, SVUSD will extend the closure of our school facilities and students will not return in-person to our campuses for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. I would like to emphasize that this does not mean the 2019-2020 academic year has ended. While we will continue to stay physically apart, the expectation is that our teachers will continue to provide instruction and our students will stay engaged in their learning until the very last day of school on June 11, 2020. Distance learning and SVUSD services will continue, including school counseling services, mental wellness supports, grab-and-go meals, Chromebooks and connectivity, and more. Grab and Go meals will continue to be served during Spring Recess on Monday and Thursday, as well as through the remainder of the school year.
While we recognize this extension of school facility closures may pose challenges and hardship to families, the most effective way to slow and disrupt the transmission of this pandemic is by continuing to implement physical distancing practices. During this time of physical distancing, all school facilities remain closed to non-authorized personnel. We are also patrolling all sites and lights will now be left on all night. Please assist us by not utilizing the school fields during this shut down and contact OC Sheriff dispatch if you see groups congregating on the facilities. We are grateful to community members throughout SVUSD for their tremendous prevention efforts during this unique and challenging time.
Continuity of Learning
Education is an essential service and SVUSD leadership and staff recognize the extraordinary responsibility to support continuity of learning and services for our students. To that end, within days of closing campuses to students and the public, SVUSD implemented distance learning. Our teachers and staff will continue to provide high quality distance learning, utilizing a variety of tools and resources. Our staff has been preparing for all possible scenarios and with your support, we are ready to meet this moment together. Our principals will be informing our parents and students of the specifics of extended distance learning. Please look for communications that will be sent directly from your student’s school. You may also access the SVUSD Distance Learning page for additional resources.
We know that many teachers and students are using video-conferencing during distance learning and want to ensure that parents are aware of the information regarding utilization of these technologies both in distance learning and in classrooms. Additional information may be found in this letter.
More Information to Follow
In the coming days, we will share updates from state and higher education agencies that will provide important clarification about grades, graduation and other related topics. We also know that policy changes are being made at the collegiate level to ensure that student admissions are not adversely impacted by COVID-19, including an agreement from California universities to waive SAT scores as a criteria for admission and to accept credit/no credit grades for A-G courses.
We are considering many options for graduations and end of year celebrations. We recognize the importance of these momentous life events, especially for our seniors, and we will work closely with our students, staff, and families to make these experiences as meaningful as possible for our amazing students.
Discussing this News with Students
Finally, although SVUSD and many in our community anticipated the possibility of this new announcement, it may be very disappointing and difficult to process for some. Please take a moment to discuss this news with your children and to listen and acknowledge how they are feeling. For information about SVUSD mental health and wellness supports and resources, click here.
This announcement raises many questions regarding grades, registration for next year, and more. The District will be communicating with you over the next few weeks about these topics. In the meantime, our new reality as students, educators, essential service providers, and caretakers continues to evolve as we work to meet yet another challenge to combat COVID-19. Our Saddleback Valley Unified community is strong, and I am confident that we will get through this working together. It is important that we stay connected, and you have my commitment to keeping you informed. Please continue to check our website for updates regularly as well as follow SVUSD on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Take care and stay safe,
Crystal Turner, Ed.D.