As Sacramento County Director of Public Health Dr. Peter Beilenson and Sacramento County Superintendent David Gordon were speaking about the decision to begin the year with distance learning, Dir Steve Martinez, Twin Rivers Unified School District Superintendent issued a statement.
To Staff and the Twin Rivers School Community,
The start of a new school year is always a special time for our Twin Rivers school community. However, this fall will be unlike any in the history of our district.
As we see in the news daily, the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic remains disruptive and unpredictable. While we continue to closely monitor developments and make adjustments, one thing is clear based on the latest public health information—the coronavirus is not under control with infection rates climbing sharply around the state, including Sacramento County. Therefore, we are starting the 2020-2021 school year in an online/virtual teaching and learning environment. All classes will be held virtually. There will be no in-person classes when school opens August 18, as previously scheduled. Keeping our students and staff safe is our main priority.
Since March 13, when we first started receiving guidance from public health experts to shelter-in-place, which involved closing our schools and shifting to online instruction, we have committed to you – all members of our school community – that decisions
regarding how our schools would reopen would be – must be – based on guidance and strict precautions from the experts, our county public health professionals and leadership from the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE). Given the most recent guidance from SCOE and public health, the decision to open virtually was solidified.
Our hope is that in-person teaching and learning can return at some point during the academic year, with guidance from state and local public health officials. As I explained in my July 10 Friday Update, we have prepared a yearlong educational program that is flexible and appropriate given the circumstances. To support this type of educational program, the Board of Trustees approved the Fall Re-entry plan for students on June 30. It’s an inclusive plan that allows us the flexibility needed to transition into the instructional model most appropriate given the surrounding and changing circumstances we face. The plan includes: a pure virtual model, a hybrid model consisting of both in-person and virtual practices, and a traditional model. In short, we are preparing for the year. The version of distance learning we are planning is different than the program in which we ended the school year. It encompasses a regular structured school day in regards to time and live online instruction. We recognize that our students, families, and community members need a high-quality, structured learning environment in which our kids can thrive.
We will be working tirelessly through the remainder of the summer to ensure our program for delivering online instruction is ready for our students, helping to ensure that they continue to have access to quality instruction. Our team will continue to stay in close contact with public health officials and SCOE, so that we are prepared to roll out a plan to return to in-class learning when we are confident that we can fully execute strategies to ensure public health.
The situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic is our reality. The solution that we put into place to address it is our choice. I chose to listen to medical experts, prioritizing the health and safety of our community, and I am tasking our team of exceptionally talented teachers, administrators, support staff, and students with the responsibility of approaching our reopening with patience and a positive attitude.
In Twin Rivers, we teach students to persevere, keep their eye on the prize, and to not let challenging circumstances keep them from their goal. Now, we must work together to model this for our students. We must face this new school year with an attitude of can-do, must-do, because this is the attitude that we want to inspire in each and every student. Our goal has not changed. We want all students to achieve their potential.
Between now and August 18, our staff of education professionals will turn their attention to making sure that we are prepared to deliver this goal under unique circumstances.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to provide the best teaching and learning environment for our students and staff during these uncertain times. Please remember that by following all state and local health directives—wearing a face covering, social distancing and washing hands frequently with soap and water—we can all do our part to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
We Are TR Strong!
Steve Martinez Ed.D.