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Planning for Next Year - May 20, 2020
Posted 5/20/20

Carlsbad Unified families and staff,

As we plan for how best to meet the needs of our students in the upcoming school year, we’d like to get some initial input from parents and families. There is a link to a survey in the email I sent to all families today; this is just the first of several opportunities you will have to provide feedback to guide our planning. 

We are planning for a return to school for students on Tuesday, August 25th. Our priority is to ensure that our students and staff members can confidently return to a safe and healthy environment that is conducive to learning and work. Therefore, we are developing a variety of possible models of learning which are meant to be flexible, adaptable, and adhere to health standards and physical distancing protocols, as required at the time. 

We are meeting with our standing consultation groups starting this week to get additional feedback (including our four Superintendent’s Advisory Committees - one each for parents, teachers and certificated staff, classified staff, and students - as well as our district and site administrators). These committees will help us as we develop a variety of options for next year.

At this point, we have no idea what restrictions and/or required protocols will be in place in August 2020. As a reminder, local school boards and superintendents do not currently have the authority to reopen schools. We are required to follow all public health directives issued by the County of San Diego Department of Health and Human Services and its public health officer. Here is a copy of the public health order in effect today; you’ll see that it continues “until further notice” and stipulates that “all public or private schools, colleges, and universities shall not hold classes or other school activities where students gather on the school campus.” Until this portion of the health order is modified, we do not have the latitude to reopen school.

To be clear, we have not yet made any decisions about what next year will look like. While it is possible that the public health official may require certain safety protocols like physical distancing at lunchtime and recess, it is equally possible that those restrictions will be lifted by the time school starts in the fall. We just don’t know. We are very hopeful that we’ll be able to offer a variety of options for families, including a return to traditional classroom instruction with few or no restrictions; a fully online or virtual model; and a hybrid model combining both in-person and online components. 

If we can offer a traditional in-person model without restrictions (for families who chose that), we will. If we can complement that with an online and/or hybrid model (for families who chose that), we will. Please know that an online or hybrid model will look different than the emergency type of program we are currently experiencing, with things like regular defined schedules, regular feedback, graded work, additional face-to-face interaction, etc. Of course, our models will ultimately be designed and guided in alignment with future state and fiscal mandates, and in consultation with the San Diego County Office of Education and our teachers, principals, special education department, and other staff. We know that families want to know as soon as possible what next year will look like; we hope to share more detailed information by mid June.

In the coming weeks we’ll provide additional opportunities to provide more detailed input on what teaching and learning can look like next year in Carlsbad. In order to inform our current initial planning, please take a moment to complete the survey emailed to parents today. We’d appreciate your feedback by the end of the day on Sunday, May 24.

As we move into the final stretch of the school year, I see many bright spots and positive stories coming out of this extraordinary time. I continue to be impressed with the cooperative spirit our community demonstrates for our students.

Dr. Ben Churchill