In-Person Learning FAQ
Updated: April 5, 2021
In-Person Learning Frequently Asked Questions-Evergreen Staff
These frequently asked questions and answers summarize and distill the majority of the questions the District Office has received to date. Please remember, all of our plans for reopening our schools are subject to the guidance/orders of Santa Clara County Public Health Department, California Department of Public Health, local guidance from SCCOE, California Department of Education, to name a few, and all working conditions are subject to collective bargaining with our labor partners. The frequently asked questions will be updated on a regular basis. There are additional FAQs in the ESD Safe Together: Return to In-Person Learning Plan that can be accessed here.
Frequently Asked Questions
In March 2019 the district surveyed families to:
- Inform them of our return to In-Person Learning start dates;
- Ask if they would like to have their student remain in Distance Learning or return to In-Person Learning.
- Ask for family schedule preference for hybrid learning days for families wanting their student to return to In-Person Learning.
Since then, both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have updated and adjusted the previous guidance of 6 feet of physical distance between students while in classrooms and recommended a minimum of 3 feet between students.
The new public health guidance offers us the opportunity to bring students back to In-Person Learning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The draft daily school schedules are available to view below, and is still pending agreement with the Evergreen Teachers Association (ETA).
- If families selected In-Person Learning: We are informing families that they can plan on the hybrid schedule for their student (Cohort A: Monday/Tuesday or Cohort B: Thursday/Friday) but know that our goal is to also offer In-Person Learning on four days of the week, except Wednesdays which will continue to be dedicated to enrichment classes.
- If families selected to remain Distance Learning: The new bell schedule will apply to Distance Learning students, who will be learning concurrently from home.
- Should we come to an agreement with ETA on the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday In-Person Learning schedule, we will notify staff and families as soon as possible. In such a case, we will automatically increase the number of In-Person Learning days for students whose families made that selection. Families who do not wish their students to attend school for in-person learning more than 2 days per week will need to notify their school office. We are sharing this information with staff in case families approach you with their questions about how to address this.
- If families selected In-Person Learning: Students will attend school four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday). Wednesdays will continue to be online with all students attending Advisory and enrichment classes from home. The current CDPH guidance recommends that stable groups remain together as a mitigation strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For this reason, students returning for In-Person Learning will be assigned to a small stable group with their current Advisory teacher and will need to remain together as a stable group while attending classes virtually while on campus (aka “Zoom in the Room”). We will continue to monitor CDPH guidance and make adjustments on the “Zoom in the Room” learning approach if CDPH allows student groups to mix. See draft of middle school bell schedule.
- If families selected to remain Distance Learning: The new bell schedule will apply to Distance Learning students, who will be learning concurrently from home.
For both Elementary and Middle School students:
- We are also offering an after school on-campus supervised learning option for students who have returned to in-person learning. Supervision will be provided by classified staff. More information about this option will be provided by the school principals
- As we look ahead to the 2021-22 school year, our goal is to provide a full day, five days per week schedule for all students.
The start date will depend on whether students will be in a hybrid or four day a week schedule:
- Week of April 19: Special Day Class, Pre-school, Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2, 7, and 8
- Week of April 26: Grades 3, 4, 5, 6
Final schedules will be provided by each school principal.
The Board of Trustees also approved an agreement to launch a pilot hybrid in-person learning program that commenced the week of March 22 with a small group of teachers who have agreed to be a part of this early return to in-person learning project. Currently, 31 classes have participated in the pilot for return to In-Person Learning across Evergreen. Some classes began as early as March 22 and classes beyond the 31 that have already begun will continue to open the week after spring break. We have started collecting feedback from staff and will continue to do so in order to open on April 19 as safely and carefully as possible. Many teachers are piloting different technology during this time, including enhanced Zoom components, Jigabots, and Boxlight television. What we are learning from these early return to In-Person Learning’s amazing and dynamic teachers and administrators is invaluable and will inform our work as we move forward to a full return to in-person learning.
Students learn best in the classroom with their teacher and their peers, and our goal has always been to return students to In-Person Learning when it is safe to do so. Throughout the process of reopening schools since August 2020, we have focused on evaluating whether local conditions would allow for returning students to In-Person Learning. Since the peak of infections in January 2021, increased vaccinations and decreased infection rates have reduced the local COVID-19 infections greatly. At the same time, more and more data shows that schools are not experiencing widespread infections. This is most likely due to the multiple mitigation strategies that have been implemented by schools: masking, social distancing, hand sanitation, cleaning and disinfecting, isolation and quarantine. Application and adherence to multiple prevention measures help schools reopen and stay open safely for in-person learning. Based on this evidence and data, we have determined that it is safe for students and staff to return to the classroom.
The Evergreen School District’s return to in-person learning plan will be based on the following goals: to develop a robust teaching and learning plan that addresses keeping students and employees safe, returning to in person learning under various circumstances, adapting our learning environment to various circumstances, and creating an equitable learning environment for all students under any circumstance.
The Guiding Principles used in this process are:
- Health and Safety: Adhere to public health orders and rely on guidance and recommendations from public health officials.
- Flexibility: Provide reasonable accommodations to individual students, families, and employees in response to their unique situations.
- Students' Social Emotional Well-being: Support the social and emotional well-being of our students, staff, and community.
- Learning: Provide high-quality instruction aligned with California State Standards.
EESD will continue to work closely with regional officials in determining when and how to return to in-person learning. Guidelines that will influence our return to in-person learning plans include:
- COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year, January 14, 2021
- CDC-California K-12 Schools Guidance Crosswalk, February 16, 2021
- CDC Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation, February 12, 2021
- Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards, December 1, 2020
- CDPH Guidance Related to Cohorts, September 4, 2020
- CDPH Guidelines K-12 In-Person Instruction, March 20, 2021
- Cohort Guidance FAQ, September 4, 2020
- COVID-19 Prepared: Reopening Santa Clara County K-12 Schools for the 2020-2021 School Year
- Current Santa Clara County Public Health Guidance for TK-12 School District Superintendents, School Boards, And Other School Administration Leaders.
Please note, this guidance changes frequently.
On February 28, 2021 the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health expanded vaccination access to workers who reside in Santa Clara County in the following industries: education and childcare, food and agriculture, and emergency services. ESD has worked closely with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health to reserve appointments for all ESD employees, and at this time, all employees have had access to vaccinations.
We have detailed the district’s health and safety measures in the Evergreen School District COVID-19 Prevention Plan, Evergreen School District School Guidance Checklist, and the District’s Safe Together Return to In-Person Learning Plan. Each of these documents work together and align with the CDC’s and State of California’s guidelines for mitigating and minimizing COVID-19 exposure on our school’s campuses, including masking, social distancing, cleaning and sanitation, and isolation and quarantining. Application and adherence to multiple prevention measures help schools reopen and stay open safely for in-person learning.
On March 19, the CDC updated its physical distancing recommendations for schools. The CDC modified the previous recommendation of six feet of physical distance between students to now recommend students should remain at least three feet apart in classrooms. In response, the CDPH updated our State’s physical distancing guidance to align with the CDC’s recommendation. Here are the main points: The updated guidance strongly recommends a minimum of three feet between students while in classrooms. The expectation is that students and adults will continue to adhere to mask-wearing and other mitigation strategies. When masks are not being utilized, such as when students are eating and drinking, the updated guidance recommends distancing six feet. The recommendation for adult-to-adult physical distancing will continue to be six feet.
In the Purple and Red Tier, staff and students are required symptomatic and response testing + every 2 weeks asymptomatic testing. Once in the orange and yellow tiers, Symptomatic and response testing is required.
We are currently reimbursing staff for child care if their children are attending Champions Childcare located at Cedar Grove. Other proposals are currently under negotiation.
We realize that this transition comes with concerns and fears for some. We encourage you to review the district’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan and the draft return to in-person plan when it is posted in order to increase your understanding of the health and safety measures that will be in place each day, including masking, social distancing, quarantine and isolation of known positive cases, testing cadence, hand washing, availability of hand sanitation at the entrance to the school, and more. The health and safety of employees and students is our priority, and each part of our COVID-19 Prevention Plan reduces the exposure to possible COVID-19 cases. All teachers will be required to return to In-Person Learning .Employees may request an unpaid leave of absence. If you want to request to continue to work from home, you will be required to submit a written request with a doctor’s note informing the Human Resources department of the need to discuss limited work capabilities. for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. In these situations, we will engage in the interactive process to determine if reasonable accommodations can be made based on the mutual needs of the individual and the District. In the event that a request cannot be accommodated, we will discuss options with the employee which may include using available leaves. Each person’s situation is different and the outcomes will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please submit your written request and doctor’s note to Human Resources as soon as possible so that we may set up a time to engage in the interactive process.
We will provide an update once a settlement has been reached.
ESD is not required to have an agreement in order to move forward to In-PersonLearning. However, ESD is committed to working together with its bargaining units to negotiate the effects of the return to an In-Person Learning schedules.
Two schedules are being discussed presently: a Monday/Tuesday Thursday/Friday AB hybrid schedule and Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday schedule.
- Hybrid schedule: This schedule would split the class into two cohorts. Cohort A would attend school in person on Mondays and Tuesdays and learn from home on Thursdays and Fridays. Cohort B would attend school in person on Thursdays and Fridays, and learn from home Mondays and Tuesdays. Here is a draft of the hybrid schedule for elementary school. Teachers would concurrently teach students learning at home and in distance learning.
- Four day a week schedule: Students learning in-person would come to school Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Here is a draft of a four day a week schedule. Teachers would concurrently teach students learning at home and in distance learning.
A Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday schedule is being proposed for the middle school students. Students learning in-person would come to school Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The draft schedule can be viewed here. Teachers would concurrently teach students learning at home and in distance learning.
Wednesdays will continue to be online with all students attending Advisory and enrichment classes from home. The current CDPH guidance recommends that stable groups remain together as a mitigation strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For this reason, students returning for In-Person Learning will be assigned to a small stable group with their current Advisory teacher and will need to remain together as a stable group while attending classes virtually while on campus (aka “Zoom in the Room”). We will continue to monitor CDPH guidance and make adjustments on the “Zoom in the Room” learning approach if CDPH allows student groups to mix. The draft bell schedule is below.
With fewer than 50% of students on campus on a given day, offering a four day a week schedule would be in the best interests of middle school students.
- To include circumstances where the amount of outside air needs to be minimized due to other hazards, such as heat and wildfire smoke.
- Determining how the ventilation system will be properly maintained and adjusted.
- Determining if it is possible to increase filtration efficiency to the highest level compatible with the existing ventilation system.
- The District has contracted with Pacific West energy management company to install ionizers on every HVAC unit in the district. These will increase air filtration in all occupied spaces.
- The District will-upgrade building air filters to the highest efficiency possible, pending availability and as recommended by the CDC. Adding the ionizers to the existing MERV 8 Systems will filter the air to a level of MERV 16+ without any added wear and tear to the HVAC unit itself. Any new HVAC units installed will have MERV 13 filters with the ionizers. This chart shows the air filtration efficiency. Testing has proven that existing MERV 8 combined with ionization achieves >MERV 13 filtration near HEPA levels.
% of Virus Controlled Based on Technology MERV Rating Filter Only Filter + Ionization 6 6.2% 34% 7 7% 61% 8 11% 84% 10 12% 89% 13 46% 97% 15 71% 99% 16 76% 99.90% 17 (HEPA) 99.9% 99.99%Image: Filtration performance from EPA study “Transmission of Viruses in Indoor Air”. Ionization improvements based on independent tests by Blue Heaven Labs & the National Research Council of Canada. Source: Pacific West
- The District shall ensure all HVAC systems operate on the mode which delivers the maximum fresh air changes per hour, including enabling settings that provide constant outside air ventilation. HVAC air filters shall be changed at the recommended intervals.
- All locations with functioning windows and doors shall be encouraged to keep windows and doors open depending on weather, temperature, or air quality conditions.
- If an occupied space is unable to have proper ventilation, due to power outage or mechanical failure of the HVAC system the following actions shall be taken in order until the situation is corrected.
- Open windows and door(s) to increase ventilation and airflow.
- Bring in fan(s) to increase ventilation and airflow placed to push air out of the room.
- Relocate students and staff to a different area where there is appropriate ventilation and airflow. To minimize the risk of waterborne illnesses, the following steps recommended by the CDC have been taken to ensure that all water systems and features (e.g. sink faucets, drinking fountains) are safe to use after the prolonged facility shutdown.
Drinking fountains will be cleaned and sanitized regularly but staff and students will be encouraged to bring their own water to minimize the use and touching of water fountains. Automated water bottle hydration stations have been installed at most sites and we will have them at all sites by Summer of 2021. All water fixtures will be turned on and allowed to run so that the water system will be flushed and replaced with fresh water.
We realize that this transition comes with concerns and fears. We encourage you to review the district’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan and the draft return to in-person plan when it is posted in order to increase your understanding of the health and safety measures that will be in place each day, including masking, social distancing, quarantine and isolation of known positive cases, testing cadence, hand washing, availability of hand sanitation at the entrance to the school, and more. The health and safety of employees and students is our priority, and each part of our COVID-19 Prevention Plan reduces the exposure to possible COVID-19 cases.
All teachers will be required to return to in-person learning unless they 1) request a leave of absence or 2) if they have a signed note from their doctor indicating that they cannot return to in person learning for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. If this has not already been submitted, this needs to be submitted to Cesar Torrico, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources by (DATE). If family health situations change after returning to in-person learning, we will review requests on a case by case basis.