District Update 10-1-2020

October 1, 2020

Dear Sebastopol Union Families,

On September 29th, the Sebastopol Union School District’s Board of Trustees voted to keep our schools in Distance Learning until two weeks after the winter break. The return date, January 19, 2021, better ensures a safer return for students and staff to in-person learning without a high risk of contracting and spreading the Coronavirus. The Superintendent is forming a Reopening Committee (see details below).

Decisions surrounding reopening schools are complex and require the Board of Trustees to listen to many voices and weigh the following concerns and considerations:

● Sonoma County has a higher number of COVID-19 cases than all of our neighboring Bay Area counties. The color-coded ranking system can be found here: Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Sonoma County is currently in the most restrictive tier of “purple.” Schools are not allowed to reopen for in-person instruction until the County where they are located reaches the “red tier.”

● Once Sonoma County achieves a low enough number of Coronavirus cases, it must maintain those low numbers for two weeks before being listed in the red tier. Once the county is officially listed in the red tier, schools still have to wait an additional two weeks before they have the go-ahead to reopen. At that point, schools will still need to meet state guidelines that include regularly testing all staff and conducting contact tracing if/when any COVID-19 cases arise on campus before they are allowed to re-open.

● Some district staff and families are concerned about reopening schools sooner than it is safe to do so.  

● Opening later will allow district stakeholders to address concerns and ensure safety for staff and students during in-person learning. Also, a later opening date will allow for additional planning and learning from districts that have opened safely.

The District’s Board of Trustees will review Sonoma County’s status during the meeting on November 12th.  In the meantime, the district is forming a Reopening Committee to plan for a January 19th transition to in-person instruction in small cohorts (hybrid model), pending Sonoma County’s status at that time. The goal of this committee will be to develop systems to ensure a safe return to in-person learning for students and staff. Members will also consider how to further support students and families while we remain in Distance Learning. SUSD is looking for different points of view from all stakeholders. If you would like to be a member of the Reopening Committee, please email me at lirving@sebusd.org.  Also, please be on the lookout for the next parent survey. We value your input.

Thank you for your understanding during these unprecedented times. Together, we will continue to work toward the goal we all share: getting children back into classrooms safely.

Linda Irving, Superintendent
Photo by Cori Robbins