ACUSD Update from Superintendent Slavensky
Hello Amador County Public Schools Families & Staff,
I’m reaching out with a very important update about the new school year. After working with our labor partners this week, we have reached agreements to begin school on Monday, August 17. Teachers will return to work on Monday, August 10 to plan and prepare for a smooth start to the school year, including distribution of textbooks, Chromebooks and other instructional materials.
Today, our Board of Trustees held a special meeting at the request of the Amador County Teachers’ Association (ACTA) to revisit their July 20 decision. Based on comments from ACTA members and new information from Amador County Public Health Officer Dr. Kerr about increasing COVID19 cases in our county, the Board had discussion and amended their July 20 decision as follows:
School reopening options will include: (1) full-time distance learning and (2) North Star Independent Study School (secondary) or home school (elementary).
COVID19 conditions will be on the agenda of every upcoming Board meeting for discussion/action as needed.
Before the beginning of each school quarter, the Board will re-evaluate if students can safely transition to a hybrid learning model (part-time on campus and part-time virtual learning) or full attendance on school campuses, based on guidance from the Public Health Officer.
We are very excited to welcome our students and staff back to school on Monday, August 17 in a manner that fosters health and safety. More information will be provided from your school principal very soon. Thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we continue to adapt to circumstances that are changing every day.
Dr. Amy Slavensky, Superintendent
The safety and wellness of students, families, and school personnel are the highest priorities of all Amador County Public Schools. We will continue to communicate with Amador County Public Health Officer Dr. Kerr and follow directives given. Schools are currently closed until further notice.
Amador County Unified School District has had two stakeholder committees meet to explore different scenarios for the reopening of schools in August.
In an effort to sync up the work of both teams, we will now move to two smaller subcommittees (elementary and secondary) composed of a cross-section of the two larger committees to
(a) look at the data from a new family survey requested by the committees,
(b) understand families’ preferences and needs,
(c) further develop scenario details using the data, and
(d) bring a recommendation forward by July 15.
The goal is for the subcommittees to collaborate and forward their best scenario recommendation to Superintendent Slavensky by July 15, with the Cabinet and Board making a decision by July 20. This timeline allows time to learn what the final enacted state budget will be, in order to ensure the required financial support for how we reopen schools in August.
We will continue to update the community regarding the district’s progress and next steps. We understand that waiting is not ideal for family planning, but this will allow us to have the necessary information to make the best decision possible. We appreciate your patience as we plan for the best solution and continue to keep our staff and student’s safety a priority.
Given the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact California’s response has had on a local educational agency’s (LEA’s) ability to meaningfully engage with stakeholders, Executive Order N-56-20 was established. This Executive Order extended the deadline for the adoption of the 2020–21 Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) from July 1, 2020, to December 15, 2020.
Instead, Executive Order N-56-20 requires that all LEAs complete this COVID-19 Operations Written Report to explain the changes to program offerings that the LEA has made in response to school closures to address the COVID-19 emergency, the major impacts of such closures on students and families, and a description of how the LEA is meeting the needs of its unduplicated students.
The COVID-19 Operations Written Reports were approved by the ACUSD and ACOE Board of Trustees on June 24, 2020. Please follow the link below to view the reports.
Two stakeholder committees are meeting to explore various scenarios for the reopening of our schools in August. One committee represents teachers and staff, and the other committee represents parents/guardians and our school communities. Together, our goal is to return students to our physical classrooms, in some form, as soon as possible while maintaining the health and safety of our students and staff. The committee discussions are including dialogue about the family and staff survey data (see attached), meeting CDC guidelines and state regulations, concerns about liabilities and liability waivers, our budget situation given the pandemic-induced recession, and associated costs with reopening schools.
Current Brown Act Guidance – Board Meeting Options
The safety and wellness of students, families, and school personnel are the highest priorities of all Amador County Public Schools. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Newsom’s stay at home order, Amador County School Board of Trustees will be conducting their meetings under the Brown Act via teleconferencing and limited personnel in compliance with Governor Newsom’s March 17, 2020, Executive Order N-29-20.
The Order temporarily gives legislative bodies the option to use but does not require the use of, a modified method of teleconferencing to hold meetings subject to the Brown Act. The following options are allowed per the Order:
- Any or all legislative body members may attend any meeting (i.e., regular, special or emergency) by teleconference.
- The District does not need to provide a location to be accessible to the public.
- The agency is not required to post the agenda at any teleconference location.
To ensure that members of the public have access to the meeting and are able to participate in public comments, the Board will use Zoom teleconferencing to host the meeting. Members of the public can access the meeting via telephone or video conference. Information for accessing the meeting is posted on our webpage.
A Message from the Board of Trustees
As we move through the COVID-19 outbreak and an unknown period of school closures, the Board of Trustees assures you that the health and well-being of our students, employees and their families is our primary concern. The Board is following the directives of Governor Newsom, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and our local Amador County Public Health Officer Dr. Rita Kerr.
Our Amador County Public Schools leadership and teaching staff have our full support and confidence to plan and organize distance learning and other alternative learning opportunities for all of our students.
The Amador County community is remarkable and unique in pulling together and uniting, without hesitation, when extreme situations affect us. Now is such a time. We are grateful for your resilience and support in this challenging time.
The 8th-grade promotion and 12th-grade graduation videos are available for viewing via the links below.
The first day of school is Monday, August 17, 2020. We hope everyone is enjoying their summer vacation and staying safe and healthy!
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