Superintendent of Schools
August 12, 2020
Hello RBUSD Parents/Guardians:
The entire RBUSD Team welcomes you back to the 2020-21 school year. Yes, we will begin in distance learning, but our plan is to return back to on-campus learning when the State and County allow us to do so. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.
COVID-19 is present in Redondo Beach and therefore has its presence in the RBUSD learning community. We have been working with the LA County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and following their guidance and directives. I am on a weekly call with Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LACDPH Director, along with the other 80 LA County superintendents. The current status of the virus is significant in LA County. The data changes daily, and predicting how COVID numbers will change over the next few weeks or months is unrealistic. What we know is that LA County is one of many counties in California on the “monitored list.” To be removed from this list, the county needs to stabilize its COVID data for 14 consecutive days. This is a LACDPH and California Department of Public Health decision and not RBUSD. Although there is a waiver option for grades TK-6, LACDPH is not considering the waiver process at this time. What you should know is that when LACDPH provides us the greenlight to re-open, RBUSD will not turn on the light switch and begin returning to school campuses the next day. It will take some time, but when it is safe to return, we will re-open to hybrid learning for those students enrolled in that model. By the way, about 6% of our families chose Option 2, 100% Online Learning Model.
On a personal note, I have seen the ills of this virus’ indirect outcomes. I have spoken with staff members and parents who feel isolated, disconnected, emotionally exhausted, various levels of anxiety, and have job security worry. This pandemic is real and some of our staff members and families are struggling. We have to care for ourselves and one another. If your child(ren) needs help, please reach out to your counselor or your site administrator; our staff members will do whatever they can to help and support your family’s need.
If you have not heard, Marvin Brown, Assistant Principal at RUHS, and I are assembling the Race and Equity Committee focused on anti-racism and social justice. We spent time over the summer speaking with various staff members, parents, and former and current students to learn more from our stakeholder groups. You will hear more about this committee in the weeks ahead.
School districts are in the business of teaching and learning. Teaching and learning were turned upside down in March. Although we heard many positive stories from students and parents regarding their distance learning experience, some of you were not satisfied with that experience. We heard you. I remind all parents, as it has been stated at Board meetings, in the RBUSD Reopening Plan, and at the Town Hall meeting, there will be differences between distance learning that begins August 26 and what was experienced in the spring. The most notable changes are: purposeful/scheduled school days, mandatory attendance, grading, focus on essential, rigorous grade-level standards, Board adopted digital curriculum, iPads for grades TK-1, daily live contact and engagement with direct teacher instruction, intervention/tutorial time as needed, increased social-emotional lessons and supports, designated Individual Education Plan (IEP) services continue, and five days of professional development prior to the start of the school year for teachers. Everyone is committed to improving the distance learning experience. Unlike the spring distance learning in which the students and teachers had already developed a six-month, in-person connection, our students and teachers will now begin this year virtually. Each teacher is well aware of this reality and will do his/her best to connect and engage with your child from the beginning.
The first day for students via the Hybrid/Distance Learning Model and the 100% Online Learning Model is Wednesday, August 26. Although we have been planning for this “opening day” for two months and we are confident we will be ready, there will always be a few hiccups. If you have an issue with something, please reach out to your school site principal or assistant principal as soon as possible.
The 2020-21 school year will be challenging given COVID-19. Team RBUSD is committed to doing whatever it takes to provide your child(ren) with the best educational program possible. We thank you for your support, commitment, and trust. Together, we can make this a meaningful school year for your child(ren).
Steven E. Keller, Ed.D.
Proud Superintendent of Schools
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