By now you may have seen the attached press release that was jointly issued by Marin County Office of Education and Marin Health and Human Services earlier this evening. As you will read in this latest guidance, Marin County schools should plan to delay returning to in-classroom instruction until Tuesday, September 8, 2020. This means that schools would start the year with distance learning for all students and consider orienting staff and students, in small groups or individually, to their new classroom environment, to the health and safety guidelines, and to conduct academic and emotional assessments.
This new information comes at a time of heightened concern amongst our staff and families as COVID-19 cases in Marin County, including among youth and young adults, have soared, Marin is on the State’s “watch list” and indoor businesses have again been required to close, and there is a statewide scarcity of testing resources. In RVSD, our goal has always been and will continue to be to create multiple plans that prioritize the health and safety of our staff and students and allow us to pivot into a different mode as needed while academically and socially-emotionally engaging and supporting all of our students. Our RVSD Schools Reopening Teams consisting of teachers, classified staff, and administrators will incorporate this latest information into our planning for the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, we have begun meeting with our employee unions to discuss the elements related to a safe return to and opening of school and we hope to reach agreement soon.
We will provide more information at our Board of Trustees meeting this coming Monday, July 20 as well as at our virtual Town Hall Thursday, July 23. As I mentioned in my email earlier this week (see below), I will send links to both meetings by the end of this week. Additionally, since we know not everyone will be able to attend those meetings, I will send another email by the end of next week that will provide information presented at those meetings. I encourage you to continue to email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Board of Trustee Meeting and email@example.com for the virtual town hall meeting as we appreciate your questions and input. For families who would like their child to participate in our Distance Learning 2.0 option, please complete the form linked in the email below if you haven’t already. Your response isn’t binding; we would like to know for planning purposes. If you would like your child to attend an in-person hybrid option (some in-person and some distance learning), there is nothing to do at this time. We will be asking families to commit to an option, and we don’t expect you to do that until you see in more detail the options and have more information about the start of the school year.
Since sending the email earlier this week, I have received a lot of positive feedback and support for our work toward finding ways to maximize in-person instructional learning environments. Not everyone will be happy with how school will look this coming school year, and with delays to our reopening, I ask everyone to dig deep to continue to maintain a sense of community, flexibility, adaptability, and good will. With no one to blame for this new reality, a health and economic crisis that is out of our control, and ever evolving information, lashing out may feel like a logical response, but doing so may only provide temporary relief and may lead to further feelings of stress and helplessness. We all want school to resume and we are all mourning the loss of how school used to be. One of the things I treasure most about being part of the Ross Valley community for the past 28 years is our sense of family and our ability to come together to make the most of and to find the best possible solutions to any difficult situation. We will get through this! We are all in this together, and I know we can do it! We will….it’s the Ross Valley way!!