Dear CUHSD Community,
The COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to be on the minds of our students, staff, and parents. I want to assure you that the health and safety of our students and staff remains a top priority. In an effort to keep you informed, I want to address the question we have received regarding potential school closures and distance learning options.
At this time, the Public Health Department is not recommending the closure of schools because many students rely on schools and staff for basic needs, including regular meals, health care, and child care. If schools shut down, vulnerable families are at a higher risk of being negatively impacted. Closing schools would be a last resort and would only be determined with great care and in partnership with Public Health and the Santa Clara County Office of Education. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, however, local public health officials may direct a temporary school(s) closure to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
I have received a handful of messages from families inquiring why our district does not move immediately to a distance learning program as some colleges and universities have already done. While I have assembled a team to develop contingency plans and assess distance learning options, I do not foresee our district being able to transition to a distance-learning model in the immediate future.
Like most school districts in California, our district does not currently have the resources, infrastructure or human resources to support a quality distance-learning program for all students. We are unlike colleges and universities that are already managing substantial distance-learning programs and can make it a requirement that students purchase prerequisite technology.
Quickly replacing high school classroom learning with meaningful online learning experiences would be challenging. Challenges include:
- The California Department of Education has not yet indicated whether schools and students would be granted attendance credit for remote learning days
- The state has not allocated additional funds to districts to purchase licenses for online learning platforms
- Not all students have home access to technology and/or internet connectivity
- Not all teachers are sufficiently trained to facilitate distance learning
Again, we are exploring how we might support families in continuing student learning in the event schools are closed for a period of time. At the same time, I want to be clear that distance learning may not be a viable option in the immediate future. Lost instructional time, if not waived by the California Department of Education, may be fulfilled by adding instructional minutes to the school day and/or adding instructional days to the school calendar when school resumes following a closure.
We have created a FAQ section of the CUHSD Coronavirus webpage, which can be accessed by clicking here. We will continue to update this page as we receive new questions and information from the Public Health Department.
If you have specific information regarding the health of a child or adult, please contact your site immediately. Our staff is dedicated to planning and working with agencies proactively and will continue to keep you informed during this process.