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An Update on the 2020-21 School Year in Chico Unified School District

 

 

Screenshot of the COVID19.ca.gov website homepage
Image: Screenshot on 9/3/20 of the California COVID19.ca.gov website.

Dear Chico Unified Community,

The first weeks of school were not the way anyone would have envisioned in January or February of 2020.  There have been multiple disruptions to education at all levels in our community, from pre-schools to the University. 

In Chico Unified, we have been met with many challenges due to the mandated online start to the school year.  These challenges have included technology problems, instructional delivery changes, feelings of isolation, emotional frustrations, and student supervision worries along with the day-to-day concerns facing our families and staff during this COVID pandemic.

There is no doubt that most students thrive when they are in a classroom, sitting among their peers, learning directly from their instructor.  This pandemic has reinforced how fortunate we are to be surrounded by the highly qualified and compassionate teachers and staff within Chico Unified.  Regardless of the learning format, the Chico Unified staff is here to support students. 

We know many families feel that our students have not been provided structured, rigorous curriculum and instruction since leaving for Spring Break in March.  We understand that many students, families and staff want to return to in-person learning.  We understand that students and families are frustrated with the limited options available in an online-only learning environment.   We have heard from many of you and share your desire for a safe return to in-person learning. 

While we have little control over when we can return to an in-person learning environment, we are daily reviewing and revising our online learning platforms.  Just as teachers do annually with in-person curriculum, adjustments need to be made to our online curriculum.  We know they need on-going improvement.  As a direct result of the concerns expressed, changes are currently taking place based on feedback from teachers, students and families.  We encourage you to continue to share your specific class concerns with your teachers as they actively work to update curriculum.  Please also continue to share concerns with site and district administration as we work to support recommended changes. 

Chico Unified families are not alone in their frustration. The COVID pandemic has led to rapidly changing rules, mandates and restrictions for schools across California. Several districts across the State have yet to reopen.  The following is a timeline highlighting some of the major changes as a result of the COVID pandemic:

  • March 19, 2020:The Governor of California issues Executive Order N-33-20 which leads to cancellation of in-person instruction in California public schools.

 

I have little doubt there will be additional challenges we must face before the COVID pandemic is behind us.  In the meantime, please continue to practice patience and flexibility.  While frustrations are high for all, I encourage everyone to be kind, understanding and assume good intent.  These are not conditions any in our community desired.  Everyone in our education community, including parents and staff, are doing the best they can to support students and student learning.  Teachers, counselors and support staff are available to work with students during their assigned class time in the mornings as well as each afternoon during office hours.  For those in need of extra help, please be sure to communicate directly with your teacher. 

Thank you for being a part of our Chico Unified community.  We appreciate your support, encouragement, understanding and ongoing communication as we work together toward the common goal of providing a rigorous and quality education for all of our students.

Sincerely, Kelly
Kelly Staley
CUSD Superintendent
 

What the CA Governor's New System Means for Chico Schools

On Friday, August 28, 2020, the Governor of California announced a new "Blueprint for a Safer Economy." The stages of reopening have transitioned and are now categorized on a tiered system based on a county's new cases of COVID.
According to the Governor's new system, Butte County's risk level is "Widespread". This means that the Governor of California will not allow Chico Unified School District to hold in-person instruction at this time.
Learn More About Butte County's Status

Elementary School Waiver Information

The Chico Unified School District Board of Education voted to allow students to return to in-person instruction in a Modified Traditional morning (am) / afternoon (pm) format.  The State subsequently placed Butte County onto the COVID Watch List, which prohibits in-person instruction for all schools in the County.  Chico Unified School District was prepared to open with in-person instruction until we were placed on the State COVID Watch List.  By order of the Governor, we are not allowed to open schools with in-person instruction. 
 
We have been in on-going communication with the Butte County Public Health Department.  The Elementary School Waiver process has multiple steps, including consultation with labor groups (Bargaining Units), parents and community.  The waiver process requires time for planning and determining the level of staff and family support at each school site. 
 
Below are the school guidance documents from the health department, and requirements to submit a reopening plan and waiver application: The first step is gathering information from our parents, teachers and staff. Elementary parents, please complete the survey today (Friday, September 4, 2020) by 4:00 p.m.
Complete the Elementary Parent Survey

Edgenuity Program Update


We have heard from our students and families loud and clear—you miss your teachers, and Edgenuity is not providing you as much access to them as desired.  Thank you for letting us know—and thank you for reinforcing the positive impacts of teachers!
 
At its core, Edgenuity is a “flipped classroom” approach that allows content to be delivered online with individualized support and interaction provided by the teacher to individual or small groups of students.  We are all in agreement that Edgenuity on its own does not meet the social, emotional and academic needs of many students.  Improvements are needed, and we are currently working to make changes, including increased access to and interaction with teachers.  We are providing time for teachers to review and revise the content as needed, including online individual teacher delivered content and interaction.
Just as we make adjustments to in-person classes, adjustments now need to be made to the online program.  Pacing is one area in need of immediate attention. 
Most teachers do not start at the beginning of a textbook and teach every page.  Unfortunately, adjustments such as removing repetitive or unnecessary lessons were not able to be made prior to the school year.  As with many things in the COVID era, the expanded access of Edgenuity, including the ability to adapt classes, was repeatedly delayed and caused much frustration. 

Chico Unified has wonderful teachers, and most students do best when being instructed in person.  Unfortunately, at this time, the Governor’s Executive Order prohibits schools from providing in-person instruction.  We all look forward to when all students can safely be back in the classroom, interacting with and learning from teachers.  Until that time, our goal is to provide consistency for all families in accessing quality, rigorous and standards-based instruction that will allow our students to progress through their K-12 education.  We fully recognize the need to continue to listen, learn, and make changes to our online format to best meet the needs of students. 
 
We clearly need to re-evaluate the pacing of our online instruction and incorporate increased teacher and student interaction.  We believe we can do this and are actively taking steps to ensure it is done.  We encourage you to continue to communicate with your student’s teachers.  Please also continue to share with your school site and district staff both concerns and suggestions for improvements.  We need your help as we navigate a whole new way of providing instruction and appreciate your comments and support thus far!
 

Mental Health & Wellness Resources

With growing concerns regarding COVID-19, we know this is a time of great uncertainty for all of us and our communities. Chico Unified families can take full advantage of the tele-health and virtual therapy resources made available through our partner Care Solace.

Learn how Care Solace can help.
Shape your future by completing the 2020 Census today. The census will inform billions of dollars of funding for health care, education, and businesses.

Learn more at 2020CENSUS.GOV.

Free Meals Continue - Join Us!

Poster listing free meals for kids, daily from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Any child age 18 years and younger can receive a free meal. Please join us at any of the eight locations for curbside lunch!

Guidance from the Butte County
Public Health Department

View COVID-19 Resources
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