East County School Update

Brentwood Union School District Superintendent, Dan Eaton, released the following letter to district families regarding the latest information presented to the School Board regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the reopening of schools.

Below is the letter in its entirety.

Dear Brentwood Union School District Community,

January 19, 2021

I hope that you and your families remain happy and healthy. I am writing to provide you with an update on our district with regard to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

At their January 13, 2021 meeting, I presented the School Board with an update on the current community spread of COVID-19, along with updates regarding state legislative proposals and developments that are impacting the reopening of schools. That presentation can be viewed using this link . The Board has been consistently clear that reopening schools is dependent on the health metrics in Contra Costa County and Brentwood continuing to head in the right direction. Unfortunately, the health metrics have continued to significantly worsen over the past month in our country, state and county. The initial start of a vaccination roll-out leaves us all hopeful that we are beginning to close in on an eventual return to normalcy.

On December 30, 2020, Governor Newsom proposed a Safe Schools for All Plan that would incentivize schools to open starting in February. The Board heard the information that we have right now on the proposal. While this has created a tremendous amount of press coverage, it is only a proposal by the Governor and not a law. We expect a great many details to change and will evaluate and share the information when legislation is signed.

The School Board was also given a presentation on the hybrid models that were developed by a representative group of parents, staff members, association representatives and Board members. I wish to again thank the

56 Task Force members who have worked collaboratively on a very challenging task, over multiple months, to develop specific details of hybrid models for both elementary and middle schools. The current requirements and guidelines districts must meet to physically reopen schools are rigorous, require careful planning and collaborative efforts with stakeholders to help ensure the safety and health of our students, staff, families and community. The presentation about the process and the hybrid models are available using this link . The Board voted to approve the Elementary Hybrid Model, but formed a Board Committee to work on making a few adjustments to the Middle School Hybrid Model. The Board asked that the committee bring the Middle School model back to the February 17, 2021 Board Meeting.

Acknowledging that the county is at a historically high level in cases, the Bay Area’s Stay-at-Home order has been extended indefinitely, and that there is no way to predict when health metrics may improve, the School Board has not set a specific date to consider reopening. They asked for continued updates on the status of COVID-19 in the community at each upcoming Board Meeting. The Board also directed staff to continue to negotiate the impacts of a hybrid model with our employee associations so that if the health metrics improve to the point where the Board would feel safe returning students and staff to school, we are able to do so as quickly as possible. If we were to return to a hybrid learning environment, it would be part-time in person and part-time in remote (at home) learning as there are still state and local restrictions as to how many students can be in a room to maintain social distancing. New guidelines on safety protocols for reopening schools were released on January 14, 2021 by the California Department of Public Health. That document is available using this link.

Our School Board has a strong desire to return to in-person instruction as soon as it is safe to do so. We are very sad that the impacts of the pandemic have kept students out of school for such a long period of time. We are very hopeful that we will soon be all back together again in person. I wish to sincerely thank parents and staff members who continue to work extremely hard to support the best interests of our children. Please be safe and well.

Dana Eaton, Ed.D

Superintendent, Brentwood Union School District