At the September 15, 2020 Board meeting, our Board Trustees for the Manteca Unified School District discussed the existing return to school plan, provided direction for specialized small student cohorts on campus, and directed administration to apply for the instructional waiver from the San Joaquin County Public Health Services.
Schools have sent invitations home for additional supports and supervision for identified students to participate in small student cohorts. Students with accessibility barriers, students experiencing homelessness, English language learners, and students needing specialized services are the priority as specified in the guidelines. Principals developed a process and procedure for cohort assignment, ensuring all mitigation plans for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, and continually refine any necessary procedures. School site mitigation plans can be found in our online return to school plan: www.mantecausd.net/returntoschool.
On July 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that if a county has been on the monitoring list within the prior 14 days, a school must conduct distance learning only until the county has been off the monitoring list for at least 14 days. Therefore, full in-person all day instruction for students TK-12 is not permitted in San Joaquin County at this time. In counties on the monitoring list, CDPH guidance allows a district superintendent to apply for a waiver from the local health officer to open an elementary school for in-person instruction. This waiver is applicable only for grades TK-6. Based on Board directive, MUSD will proceed with the application process for the TK-6 waiver from the San Joaquin County Public Health.
The implementation by grade level, should the waiver process be approved by both agencies and the Board of Education, will be slow and intentional with a phased approach testing our efforts and capacity for student return. This will allow for refinement of all procedures between student groups. Initially, perhaps it may be TK-3 students return followed later by 4-6 grade. A slow, methodical approach will allow for turning the system at a pace with safety at the forefront.
We understand these are challenging times for our families, students, and staff. We know the most effective teaching and learning occurs in-person. We need to see our students as much as our students need to see their friends, welcoming office staff greeting them, the custodial crew and yard supervisors safely caring for them, to eat lunch provided with a smile from our nutrition education staff, to see our nurses, psychologists, counselors ready to receive them, as well as teachers, paraprofessionals, vice principals, assistant principals, principals providing learning and teaching in rich in-person environments. We miss our students. We will return with intention and safely. Thank you for your continued support as we continue with the process of returning to school in-person.
In service of our children,
Dr. Clark Burke, Superintendent