BUSD Back to school plan

The Brentwood Union School District (BUSD) decided in a unanimous vote this week to implement the phased-in hybrid model at the elementary and middle school level following the March break. Below is a letter from BUSD Superintendent outlining the board’s decision.

Dear Brentwood Union School District Community,

I am writing to provide you with an update on our district with regard to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On Wednesday, February 17, the Brentwood Union School District Board of Education directed the district to survey families about returning to school for a hybrid school opening (part-time at school and part-time at home) if Contra Costa County is in the Red Tier at the beginning of the 4th quarter on March 29. Parents were asked to declare whether their students would choose the hybrid pathway or choose to remain in a distance learning model. Citing the potential disruption to teacher and class assignments for all students, the Board stated they felt a transition to a hybrid model would be best achieved if a majority of families committed to change to the hybrid program.

On Friday, February 26, the Board was presented with a slide show that gave a current COVID-19 health update, outlined state and local guidance as well as potential legislation that is governing how schools may reopen, shared the task force process that has taken place throughout the 20-21 school year to shape our hybrid plans and finally the results of the survey. That slide show is available at this link.

The Board discussed both the survey results and the large number of e-mails and phone calls received from community members over the past week. They cited that 45% of the parents wanted their children in the hybrid program, even if it meant potentially switching teachers. The Board cited the many parents who shared that they only chose the Distance Learning pathway because they wanted to keep their current teacher. The Board was appreciative of all of the staff and parents who advocated that the time is right for a safe return to school.

The Board directed the district to begin a phased-in hybrid model at both the elementary and middle school level following March Break, assuming Contra Costa County is in the red tier. Schools would start in distance learning the first week following break and then transition into hybrid programs the following week, starting with the youngest students first. The Board cited a desire to keep as many students with their current teachers as possible and asked that elementary teachers be assigned to either distance learning or hybrid and that their current students be allowed the choice to stay with them. In Middle School, the Board directed staff to switch to the simultaneous instruction model, where teachers would instruct students in class and on Zoom at the same time. School sites will be reaching out to parents over the next two weeks to share schedules, potential return dates for different grade levels, safety procedures and to ensure that students are in the correct pathway.

The Board expressed their ongoing appreciation for the efforts being made by staff and parents to best support students. They stated their desire to continue to monitor the health numbers in hopes that the combination of increases in vaccines and continued decreases in community spread of the virus might eventually allow for a legal and safe full return to campus. Please look for communication from your child’s school early next week.

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