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State Letter makes School Return Unlikely

With the transition to online schooling, many students at Dana have been anticipating their return to campus. However, California’s latest letter to the district’s superintendent has made this return unlikely. 

“It currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.”

Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent

The letter from Tony Thurmond, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, stated that “it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.” 

However, Thurmond suggested there is still a slim chance of campuses reopening. He clarified on his prediction, adding, “This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.”

In the meanwhile, the district has focused on new programs to aid students during the pandemic, such as curbside meals and chromebook loans. They have extensively invested in distance learning, working with teachers to transition traditional lesson plans to a digital format. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evoke uncertainty, the district will have to wait and adapt to new developments. Updates will follow.

For the full letter see below:

Dear Fellow Superintendents;

March 31, 2020

I’m writing to you regarding the current status of schools in California. As you know we continue to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus and how those impacts make it unsafe for our students to be served on school campuses at this time. The need for safety through social distancing warrants that we continue to keep our school campuses closed to students during this pandemic.

Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year. This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.

We acknowledge that students only being able to be served through distance learning creates hardships for some students, families, and educators. However, we are urging a safety first approach out of an abundance of caution. As such, we urge that all school districts in California move towards and/or continue to strengthen their distance learning programs and opportunities for students. We believe this sustains the safety of our students and families, provides consistency across schools in the state, and provides our districts and educators with clarity and the ability to plan for delivering education for the rest of this school year through a distance learning model.

The California Department of Education (CDE) is prepared to assist the distance learning efforts of our school districts. In that respect, CDE has provided guidance and resources on distance learning and will continue to enhance that guidance. CDE will also provide webinars and training and is forging public-private partnerships with leaders in technology and the philanthropic sector to help expand home devices and internet access where possible and where available resources and donations allow.

Please call our office if we can provide additional assistance to you in any way. We know that we are dealing with a never seen before health crisis that challenges us in many ways. But we also believe that as it relates to educating California students we must rise to meet that challenge, that we are stronger together, and that if we work together we can do more together for all of our students.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

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