July 27, 2020
Dear Alta Vista Community,
I hope each of you is well, and I know that we all have been wondering what Alta Vista School is going to do in regards to opening school. We finally received direction from the State and are working hard to meet these requirements so we can at some point open our schools to daily use throughout Tulare County. Our county currently has a high percentage of Covid-19 cases and sadly, we are unable to open to face to face instruction. We monitor the data daily, and once Tulare County meets the requirements, we will move towards opening the school. So until that time, we will be opening school with an online format. This presents many challenges that we need to address, and I have listed them here:
- It is critical that our staff receive the proper training in the area of online instruction. Therefore, we are making arrangements for a two week training session to enhance the student experience. This will require that we open school two weeks later. Therefore, the first day of school will be Thursday August 27, 2020. We will be reducing Winter Break to two weeks and extending the school year by one week. New calendars will be sent home with all due haste.
- During the two week delay at the very beginning of the school year, teachers will receive intensive training regarding online education. This will include the development of plans and curriculum to better enhance the experience. We learned last spring that this is a completely different model, and that effective training is a must.
- We are shifting to a fully online model, and the long term goal is to have all instruction online. This is a huge shift for staff and students, and it will take time to develop new practices. However, please understand that all students are expected to attend and complete their work as if they were in a face to face class. Students are expected to attend daily and to be visibly present during their online class-time. They will also receive at home assignments. We are required by law to provide an education, and they are required by law to attend. We will be sending out guidelines in the next couple of weeks that set the expectations for the year.
- Students will attend school for 3-4 hours each day depending on grade level. This time will include online instruction, and independent work that is expected to be completed each day. Please understand that students must attend and be present during the scheduled online meetings. The state is adamant regarding the area of student attendance and participation.
- The staff is currently developing a schedule to disperse instructional materials including electronic devices to each student. We will be contacting you for pickup dates. Each student will receive their own individual electronic devices to perform their work. They will also receive other educational materials at that time.
- We are deeply in the process of setting up access to the internet for all families, so they can continue their education and access the learning resources presented by our teachers. We will provide more information in this area as things develop. Our new app is almost ready for implementation, and all parents can receive information on their phones.
- We will continue to offer lunches and breakfast in the same drive-thru format that we held over the summer. Lunches and breakfast will be provided during a one hour window at lunch time. We will provide specific information shortly.
- The campus will be effectively closed, with the exception of instructional staff and essential workers. The front office will remain open, with social distancing protocols in place to protect the public and the staff.
- We are working on a way to meet with parents, and provide a forum to provide your questions and concerns. Many families do not have internet access at this time and would not be able to participate. I would encourage each of you to take advantage of the surveys we provided. That information will help design our programs for the coming year.
This is an ongoing process, and there will be many shifts and changes as we meet State requirements and regulations. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the school office or me. Thank you for your time and patience.
Robert M. Hudson Ed.D.