In-Person Learning: Waiver, Cohorts, and Return
Criteria for Return
New guidance was released on August 28th, establishing four categories to indicate the severity of COVID-19 spread in CA. A county may be demoted if it falls short of criteria for 2 weeks. A county must stay in a tier for at least three weeks, aside from initial placement. The purple tier is now substituted for the monitoring list status. To re-open school, a county must be in the red tier for two weeks. A school may not be permitted to open for in-person instruction unless/until the waiver is granted.
Essential Protective Equipment (EPE) & Safety
In order to ensure schools are ready for the 2020-21 school year, MVSD has hired Patrick McLaughlin from the Marin County Office of Education "Rethinking Schools" team to collaborate with our school sites. Additionally, we had an Interim Director of Maintenance, Operations, & Safety, Judge Taylor, with us all summer. In late August, Julio Arroyo began as the new Director of Maintenance, Operations, and Safety.
We are actively preparing for the return to in-person instruction and have completed safety walkthroughs of all of our sites with staff, ordered and installed EPE, and more. Here is a video about the Site Walkthroughs that occurred in July, including some steps taken to safely prepare our campuses for staff and students, EPE that has been acquired, questions shared by staff, and more.
The following EPE will be provided for all staff:
- Disposable face masks for staff and students
- Cloth face masks for staff and students
- Face shields for staff members
- Humanity shields
- Touchless thermometers
- Outdoor hand washing stations at each site
- Hand sanitizer dispenser in each classroom
- Plexiglass shields in school offices and one-to-one education spaces
- High-quality air filters being installed
- Food grade sanitizing spray for all sites
- Outdoor learning areas
- Floor markings
Additionally, regular cleaning procedures will be in place. The district has required signage posted for required face masks, hand washing, and physical distancing. We have advised staff not to congregate and placed visual markers for 6' distancing.
The State of California allows for school districts to apply for a waiver to allow for in-person instruction for students in grades K-6 in small, stable cohorts while the county is still on a watch list. Once a waiver application is submitted, it must be approved by both the local Public Health Officer and the State. Additionally, the local Public Health Officer may order a phased-in reopening process for some or all schools included in a district's consolidated application. Priority consideration will be given to schools serving low-income communities, schools that primarily conduct instructional activities outdoors, and schools that have been early adopters of COVID-19 health and safety protocols with a successful record. Students belonging to unique populations have experienced disproportionate learning loss during periods of distance learning. Research indicates that the closure of schools has disproportionately affected our students of color, low income, foster youth, and English Learners.
Districts with more than two times the threshold for the County Watchlist may not be granted a waiver for in-person instruction. A school must not be permitted to open for in-person instruction until a waiver is granted unless the county is off the Watchlist and able to reopen for in-person instruction.
- June 18: Public Health published Guided Return to Site-Based Instruction
- July 15: Marin Public Health Recommended delaying in-classroom learning not to begin before September 8.
- July 17: The State announced a waiver process to allow for in-person learning for student populations with unique needs. Governor Newsom announced statewide guidance that public schools may return when the county has been off of the watchlist for 14 days.
- August 3: The State released the criteria
- August 7: MVSD will receive Waiver Application Specifics
- August 13: MVSD will bring forward this item for Information and Discussion
- August 18: Waiver Consultation Meeting with California School Employees Association (CSEA)
- August 18: Waiver Consultation Meeting with PTA
- August 19th: Waiver Consultation Meeting the Kiddo!
- August 26th: Waiver Consultation Meeting with It Takes A Village
- August 26th: Waiver Consultation Meeting with All Stakeholders
- August 31st: Waiver Consultation Meeting with District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC)
- September 8th: Waiver Consultation Meeting with Mill Valley Teachers Association (MVTA)
- The waiver should be submitted by the district superintendent
- Prior to applying, (1) consult with labor, parent, and community organizations, and (2) publish elementary school reopening plans on the website.
- Evidence of the aforementioned consultation with stakeholders and publication of the reopening plan must be attested to by the applicant
- Applications should be “consolidated” for all schools intended to be reopened. A phase-in approach may be listed on one application.
- Applications and all supporting documentation should be submitted at least 14 days prior to the proposed reopening date.
- Districts with more than two times the threshold of the County Watchlist may not be granted
- August 17-September 10: Meetings with labor, parent, community organizations
- September 14: Board Meeting to Review Application
- September 18: Announce return for October 5 or Submit waiver to prepare for small groups to begin October 5. Determine revised timeline if necessary.
On August 25, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued important cohorting guidance that sets minimum safety guidelines across a variety of sectors serving California youth, including both public and private schools.
Under the new Guidance, schools that are otherwise prohibited from providing in-person instruction under the CDPH July 17, 2020 COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools (July 17 Framework) are now explicitly authorized to offer small-group, in-person "specialized services, targeted services and support" for students. This applies to both elementary and secondary schools.The Guidance does not impose a mandate on any school or school system to provide in-person services. Any and all decisions regarding when and what permitted in-person services will be provided are explicitly left to the discretion of local school authorities. The Guidance does not expressly permit in-person instruction contrary to the conditions set forth in the July 17 Framework. Schools are authorized to provide "in-person child supervision and limited instruction, targeted support and services, and facilitation of distance learning." School-based targeted, specialized support and services, include and are not limited to occupational therapy, speech and language, medical, and behavioral services, along with educational support services as a part of targeted intervention strategy or assessment, including those related to English learner status, IEPs, RtI, and other required assessments.The Guidance does urge local educational agencies to prioritize small-group cohorts to serve the needs of students with disabilities, as well as English learners, and other identified "at-risk and high-need" students (e.g. student experiencing further learning loss through or not participating in distance learning, students experiencing homelessness and/or abuse or neglect, and foster youth) when considering whether to offer small cohort in-person services. The August 25, 2020 Guidance is only applicable to those schools that cannot reopen for in-person instruction pursuant to the July 17 Framework.
Waiver Consultation Meeting Dates
We will hold consultation meetings with all stakeholders.
California School Employees Association (CSEA)
August 18th, 9:30 am
August 18th, 10:30 am
August 19th, 9 am
It Takes A Village (ITAV)
August 26th, 10 am
District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC)
August 31st, 2:30 pm
Mill Valley Teachers Association (MVTA)
August 26th, 3:30 pm
Breakout Questions at Waiver Consultation Meetings
- What are the arguments for applying for the waiver?
- What are the arguments against applying for the waiver?
- How can our waiver connect to our LeCAP categories?
- If we apply, what important factors should we highlight in our application, and what type of phasing would you recommend?