Dear Los Alamitos Unified School District Families and Community,
Our classrooms across the District have been open for in-person instruction for nearly five months. Our team of teachers, staff and administrators has worked methodically, deliberately, and tirelessly to ensure the experience is as smooth, safe, and successful as possible. In addition, Orange County continues to experience a downward trend in COVID-19 rates and expects to move into the Red Tier within the next few weeks. The joy and excitement abounding throughout our classrooms — despite masks and Plexiglass barriers — are a sign that things are going well. Not surprisingly, families and staff have inquired when we might consider moving out of the hybrid format and return to a traditional schedule of all-day, in-person instruction, five days a week. As previously shared, we had hoped to pursue this option in our elementary schools this spring. However, recent revisions in guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for schools now prevent us from moving to the traditional pathway.
Governor Gavin Newsom and other state officials are urging the opening of schools, but the revised safety guidance issued recently by the CDPH, while continuing to recommend six feet of distance between students in classrooms, now requires a minimum separation of four feet. Previously, the CDPH stated if six-foot separation was not possible, spacing and use of desk shields to the greatest extent feasible was sufficient without a minimum separation. While this new requirement does not impact our current hybrid setting, it does limit our ability to move into a traditional pathway at any of our grade levels. Given the physical constraints of most of our classrooms and furniture, we cannot maintain four-foot separation if we return to the larger class sizes necessary for a full, five-day program.
We are therefore in a holding pattern where we must maintain our existing hybrid in-person instructional program for grades TK-12. If the CDPH alters its guidance on physical distancing, we will reassess any plans for a return to full, traditional program.
On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire Los Alamitos USD Family, we want to extend heartfelt thanks to each of you for your patience, understanding, support, determination, and grit you have demonstrated in working as our partners through the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an extraordinary community of students, teachers, support staff, administrators and families who have worked together to ensure that our students’ educational needs are met at the highest level. We should all take pride in what we are accomplishing.
As a final reminder, we are all in this together when it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19. Here are some concrete steps our community can take to help these efforts, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency:
- Get tested for COVID-19 if symptomatic or in close contact with an infected person.
- Stay home, especially if you do not feel well and notify the school office.
- Avoid gatherings; stay at least six feet from anyone not in your household.
- Wear a face covering.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Get vaccinated when permitted by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Stay safe, be well and know that we are all Better and Stronger Together.
This article was written by Andrew Pulver, Ed.D, Superintendent of Los Alamitos Unified School District.