At the October 14th Board Meeting, after discussion, public comments, and consideration of all elements required for reopening, the Governing Board made the decision for schools in Castro Valley Unified School District to remain in distance learning, and at the first board meeting scheduled for January 13th, discuss and make a decision about the timeline of reopening. Working closely with the Alameda County Public Health Department, we will monitor developments related to COVID and continue our discussions with our bargaining units to ensure a successful school reopening.
We have opened a Support Hub on school sites for small cohorts of students who are experiencing challenges in accessing distance learning at home. We are working diligently to add additional Hubs throughout the district in order to support more students.
We are grateful to you for your partnership and acknowledge the tremendous burden on families during distance learning. Our teachers and staff have been working hard to provide the best possible instruction during distance learning. We all recognize the need for social and emotional support and connection that students thrive on when they are in school. We continue to look for ways to find opportunities that allow our students to experience social connections and collaboration that help them grow.
As we continue to navigate through this very challenging time, we are asking for your feedback about distance learning and ideas on how we may further support students and families.
Click here to complete this survey by Wednesday, October 21st.
October 1, 2020
Dear Families and Staff,
Today, the Alameda County Public Health Department outlined the limited and phased reopening of schools. As indicated in the press release from the Alameda County Office of Education, schools will be able to open only when appropriate public health measures, such as sufficient surveillance COVID testing, are in place.
It is important to note that although the Health Department is permitting schools to reopen on October 13th, the decision and timing of when to open still rests with each school district. Please note that CVUSD has not established an opening date. We will continue to plan and work with our employee groups to put in place all required measures to enable the Board to make the best possible decision about a reopening date. Districts are required to post their reopening plans on their website and submit them to the Alameda County Office of Education for review.
In the meantime, CVUSD is moving forward with opening support hubs. With these hubs, we want to provide services and support to students who are at the risk of experiencing difficulties such as those related to technology. Students in these hubs are participating in distance learning while at school.
September 22, 2020 UPDATE
Dear Families and Staff,
Today, Alameda County announced that the county has moved from the purple tier to the red tier according to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Read the Alameda County Statement on Red Tier here. To learn more about the four Tiers (purple, red, orange, and yellow), please visit the California Department of Public Health's website here.
As indicated by the California Department of Public Health, counties must remain in the new tier for two weeks before they consider loosening restrictions imposed in the previous tier. Moving into the Red Tier is a positive development; however, the reopening of schools continues to require significant planning and preparation by all districts in Alameda County as stated in Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe’s statement released today.
While schools may soon become officially eligible to provide in-person services to students, there are a number of local requirements that schools and districts must take into consideration. Each district is responsible for developing and implementing its re-opening plan, based on State and county requirements. Schools must establish and post a comprehensive re-opening plan which must be publically available to students, staff and community. Reopening plans will need to include COVID-19 testing based on State and county guidelines, contact tracing for positive cases, and districts must have adequate personal protective equipment. Districts will also need to work with their labor partners who serve in roles essential to the reopening of school in order to ensure school sites have adequate staff.
As we have reiterated from the onset of this pandemic, the health and safety of our students and staff is and will always be our priority. We recognize that despite carefully planning, we must be able to pivot and change course in order to respond to the fluid nature of the current pandemic. We will follow a phased approach and plan thoughtfully and carefully to ensure successful implementation of any change to the type of instruction and support students in CVUSD receive.
We know that this pandemic has impacted all families in many ways and has particularly exacerbated structural inequities, resulting in learning gaps that will continue to require focused interventions. We are committed to our mission of providing the best opportunities for all students and will strive to do better each and every day.
August 30, 2020 - UPDATE
August 30, 2020
As a matter of courtesy, we wanted to make sure you were aware in case you hear anything on the news or via social media. On Friday, a few schools in several school districts in Alameda County began receiving bomb threats via email. Today two of our schools (Stanton and Vannoy) also received the same email threat. Therefore, we contacted the Sheriff’s Office immediately to report and asked for assistance. They have confirmed the threat is not credible. Law enforcement agencies in Alameda County are investigating the source. We take all threats seriously and will keep you informed of any important development.
On another note, Friday afternoon Governor Newsom unveiled a Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a Statewide, Stringent and Slow Plan for Living with COVID-19 (click here for the press release). The Blueprint for a Safer Economy replaces the County Data Monitoring List for determining what business can and cannot open. Alameda County is currently in the County Risk Level: Widespread (purple). To learn more about the four Tiers (purple, red, orange, and yellow), please visit the California Department of Public Health's website here.
As we enter our fourth week, teachers, and staff continue working hard to ensure routines are set and students are engaged in distance learning. Working together with patience and flexibility, I am confident we will be able to climb the steep learning curve of learning, teaching, communicating, and supporting one another virtually. Please do not hesitate to let us know how we may be able to better support you and our students.
July 18, 2020 UPDATE
Dear CVUSD Families,
Yesterday, Governor Newsom shared state-wide criteria and directives for schools. With this clarity, instead of each school district developing its own criteria/metrics, school districts have a more clear path and directive to follow. As communicated previously, schools in Castro Valley will start virtually for the time being. We will continue preparing for in person instruction based on the criteria and expectations clearly laid out by the Governor.
Understanding that there is a desire from some families not to return to in person instruction even after we are clear to do so, we have developed an alternative full year virtual learning (click here for the CVVA/CVVPE application). We have planned meetings to share information on the program and respond to questions we have received from families. Please see the attached flyer for details.
We will provide communication to all stakeholders and share information at www.cv.k12.ca.us and https://www.facebook.com/CastroValleyUSD/ and will continue to update the FAQ document as needed to respond to questions.
Please also note the Joint Statement from Alameda County Office of Education and the Alameda County Public Health Department and additional available resources below.
Alameda County Public Health Department: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx
California Department of Public Health: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/
California’s COVID-19 Website: https://covid19.ca.gov/
July 14, 2020 UPDATE
Dear Staff and Families,
In a typical year, over the summer students and staff would be spending time with family and friends enjoying the outdoors, traveling, and relaxing. I doubt that any of us imagined that we would be tackling these kinds of challenges in the middle of July 2020. We WILL get through this together!
The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and with that in mind, we are starting the 2020-2021 school year with virtual learning. We will not move into the hybrid model UNTIL it is safe to do so. We will continue to monitor the situation, work directly with the Alameda County Department of Health, and begin to develop a set of metrics based on science to consider before deciding to move to the hybrid model in the safest possible way.
We are also excited about offering a virtual learning pathway for students whose families would like to have them in the program for the full year through CVVPE (Castro Valley Virtual Pathway Elementary) and CVVA (Castro Valley Virtual Academy) for middle and high school students.
I want to thank you for your patience during these very difficult times. Please know that the Governing Board, my staff, and I have read every email sent to us with your questions and comments. We hope that the Frequently Asked Questions document we have compiled helps answer many of them. We will continue to update the FAQ document on a regular basis.
Working together we will overcome the challenges of providing the best learning opportunities for our students in the safest possible way during this Pandemic. We are continuing to work collaboratively with our bargaining units to provide the best virtual learning for our students when school starts on August 13th. Our teachers and staff are working hard to ensure this coming school year is a productive one despite the many obstacles created by COVID-19.
Thank you for your patience. Stay safe and be well.
July 12, 2020 Update
Last week our reopening plan for 2020-2021 was approved. As discussed at the board meeting on July 9th, school will begin with virtual learning until it is safe to begin the hybrid models. There is also an alternative for families who wish for their students to have a virtual learning experience for the full year through the Castro Valley Virtual Pathway for Elementary (CVVPE) and the Castro Valley Virtual Academy (CVVA) for middle and high school students. The deadline to apply for this is on July 27, 2020.
In order to ensure the safety of our students and staff, we will be working with the Alameda County Department of Public Health (ACDPH) to develop a set of criteria/matrix to make the decision about the best time to move into the hybrid model. We will also continue to work with the Department of Public Health on safety protocols and measures that will need to be put in place prior to moving into the hybrid model after it is deemed safe to open. The steps we are taking are intended to preserve the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff.
For your convenience, we are working on a Frequently Asked Questions document, available on the district website early this week, to help respond to questions from the community related to the reopening plan.
At the next board meeting on July 15th, staff will present some information on other topics related to facilities, safety, child nutrition, and registration. Please note that this will not be a complete or a critical analysis of the safety protocols, as this is a wide ranging and extensive topic that we will still be working with other agencies to fully develop in the next few weeks.
We are working with our bargaining teams to put in place the necessary process and procedures to ensure the safest possible return to school and the best learning opportunities for all our students. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We hope you have a restful summer and stay safe.
July 9, 2020 Update
Dear CVUSD Families,
Thank you for your patience as we continue to plan in response to COVID-19. I am writing with an update on the Board’s adoption of the 2020-2021 school year reopening plan at tonight’s board meeting.
We recognize that there is still great uncertainty and we will continue to monitor and follow the guidance of our public health officers. While restrictions have been gradually easing, we know that public health could reverse course and tighten restrictions should a substantial COVID-19 surge happen in Alameda County.
The following was approved by the Board on July 9th. Staff will be working on the many details over the next few weeks and you will be receiving updates and information from us on a regular basis. We will present information related to other areas of school reopening, such as facilities, transportation, safety, and child nutrition at the July 15th Board Meeting.
Instructional Scheduling Models
Please note that the date related to move to the hybrid model is tentative at this point. The health and safety of staff and students are our number one priority, and we will continue to monitor information from the Alameda County Department of Public Health every step of the way. We will be prepared to pivot between virtual and hybrid instructional models as needed based upon State and Alameda County Health Department recommendations.
Both the elementary and secondary plans will begin with virtual learning, hoping to pivot to a blended model after a few weeks. During the opening weeks of school, all students will receive virtual instruction (instruction provided online using daily direct instruction) from August 13 and approximately through the first full week of September. This time will be used to support students and their families in learning how to access virtual learning and provide social emotional and academic intervention and support.
Elementary AM/PM Model:
Elementary will be an am/pm model in which students are divided into two cohorts in order to decrease the number of students in each classroom and increase distancing between them. One cohort will attend school during the morning four days per week (Monday through Thursday), followed by cleaning surfaces throughout the campus and classrooms. In the afternoon, following the departure of the morning cohort and cleaning of the campus, a second set of students will attend classes. While students are not in class, they will be provided with “playlists” of online instructional materials. Playlists are customized collections of digital content for students to playback independently at the home. Following the end of the school day, a second cleaning will occur of the campus and surfaces. On Fridays, teachers will support students who need additional academic and/or physical emotional support in small groups or individually, attend professional development, run clubs/extracurricular activities for student groups and/or collaborate. All students will get live interaction each day. Monday through Thursday, all students will receive in-person instruction, while on Fridays, all students will receive live instruction online via a digital meeting platform (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, etc.).
An alternative option for elementary school students will be to participate in 100% virtual instruction via the Castro Valley Virtual Pathway for Elementary (CVVPE) for a full year. Through CVVPE, students will receive all of their instruction online for the full school year. Students who will be participating in the Alternative Option (full year 100% virtual) and their families will have orientation and training the first two weeks of school. Elementary students will be able to transfer in/out of CVVPE at the end of the trimester. If you are interested in applying for CVVPE, please submit an application here by July 27, 2020. https://www.cv.k12.ca.us/2020-2021virtualapplication/
Secondary A/B Model:
Secondary schedules will be the A/B model, cohorts of students will alternate during the school week. One cohort will attend school in-person during Mondays and Tuesdays, while another group will attend classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Each Wednesday, a deep cleaning will occur of the campus and surfaces. On Wednesday, teachers will support students who need additional academic and/or physical emotional support in small groups or individually, attend professional development, run clubs/extracurricular activities for student groups and/or collaborate. All students will receive live interaction each day. Students will receive in-person instruction two days per week, either on Mondays and Tuesdays or on Thursdays and Fridays. Each Wednesday, all students will receive live interaction online via a digital meeting platform (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, etc.). For the group that is not attending in-person classes, online live instruction (synchronous) will occur each afternoon. The A/B Model provides 5 days between each cohort’s last day of instruction and the next time they will return to class and also ensures that all students receive in-person instruction for two days each week.
The Alternative Option for secondary school students will be to participate in 100% virtual instruction through the Castro Valley Virtual Academy (CVVA). Through CVVA, students will be enrolled at CVVA and receive instruction online. Secondary students will be able to transfer in/out of the CVVA program at the end of the semester. Castro Valley High School (CVHS) students have the option of full time CVVA enrollment or dual enrollment at both CVHS and CVVA. If you are interested in applying for CVVA, please submit an application here by July 27, 2020. https://www.cv.k12.ca.us/2020-2021virtualapplication/
Special Day Class (SDC)
Students enrolled in SDCs will receive in-person instruction and support each day. Families of SDC students who are interested in a fully virtual option will work with their case manager to make arrangements through the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) process. The Roy Johnson transition program will return to school along with all other SDC students. There will be some modifications to the Community Based Instruction model based on public health guidelines. Specific information will be provided to Roy Johnson families and students.
All teachers will engage in professional development related to virtual instruction prior to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year using a combination of online learning modules and in-person site-based collaboration. (View the revised school calendar here.) This professional development will include training on how to build a learner-centered culture, face-to-face, direct instruction using a digital platform, digital lesson planning and other topics. Additional professional development and collaboration will occur each week, including culturally responsive teaching, implicit bias, equitable behavioral support practices, social emotional and academic support.
Some clarifying points:
- All students will have live instruction each school day and some remote, synchronous and asynchronous instruction each school day.
- Attendance for both live and synchronous classes is mandatory.
- Grades will be assigned per BP 5121 and AR 5121.
- Extra-curriculars will be explored prior to opening to determine the best approach to ensuring students have access to these important resources.
- Students for whom distance learning was most difficult will have the opportunity to remain on school sites all day in student support learning centers.
- Each week, teachers will create a weekly learning plan to include all assignments with time requirements.
- Instructional minutes will meet or exceed the state requirement for high schools during the COVID-19 response.
- Teachers will have additional professional development for engaging in robust remote learning for the synchronous learning sessions.
What comes next?
- July 15 - Governing Board meeting presentation on items related to facilities, transportation, safety, and child nutrition.
- July 16 - August 13 - Periodic updates as implementation plans are refined.
- July 27 - Due date for Full Year Virtual Learning: Castro Valley Virtual Pathway for Elementary (CVVPE) and the Castro Valley Virtual Academy (CVVA).
- August 13 - Beginning of school for all students.
District-wide Health and Safety Precautions
Each site will have extra sanitation stations and handwashing stations strategically placed at all school sites. Our campuses will also have strict guidelines governing entrance into and movement around the buildings. Cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms will intensify with deep cleanings each evening. Classrooms and restrooms will be disinfected between cohort sessions. More details will be presented at the July 15th board meeting.
School and district office use by students, parents and the public will be restricted with the implementation of tight protocols. Office workstations will be appropriately fitted with plexiglass screens, desks will be rearranged, and traffic will be controlled to minimize exposure and maintain physical distancing. Alternative spaces will be utilized for meetings, as needed. Services (meetings, forms, etc.) will be redeveloped to enable more touchless and remote procedures. Parents and students will be informed of the new procedures as they are developed. More details will be presented at the July 15th board meeting.
Hygiene and Protective Equipment
At this point, consistent with County and State orders, all students and staff will be required to wear face coverings while on campus. We will provide all students with face coverings and will have disposable masks available as well. Public health officials indicate good hygiene and face coverings will be the most critical pieces for mitigating COVID-19 spread and keeping schools open.
Social Connection, Mental Health and Social Emotional Learning
We know that school closure and the extended shelter-in-place has taken an emotional toll on our students. Our counseling and wellness centers (Visit the CVHS Wellness Center website by clicking here) have continued to provide support remotely and will be open for in-person support in the fall. Mental health assessments and services and opportunities for student connection are a priority. We also recognize a glaring need (and opportunity) to further develop programs to address racial issues on our campuses.
Athletics and Extracurricular Activities
We are expecting more updates from CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) regarding fall sports no later than July 20th. Here is the announcement CIF made early this summer.
County Guidance on Reopening
We certainly recognize that this communication probably raises as many questions as it answers and the uncertainty around the reopening of our schools is incredibly stressful. We want to assure you that we are working hard on this challenge throughout the summer with the best interest and health and safety of our students, staff and families in mind. Thank you for your patience.