- Community and Parents
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation throughout this first quarter of the school year. While we are learning to manage the COVID-19 related issues, your patience has helped us to implement the ever changing health directives as expeditiously as possible. It has also helped keep our focus on ensuring that our students continue to learn, while also addressing the social-emotional needs created by this unprecedented time.
I am hopeful that you were able to take the time to participate in a conference with your children’s teachers this week to discuss their progress this first quarter. It should have provided you with the opportunity to not only discuss their progress report, but also provided you with an opportunity to receive feedback on their progress with the NWEA initial assessment they took this year.
Like all of the other aspects of COVID-19, we have learned more about requiring quarantine and testing in an effort to keep our staff and students as safe as possible. One new aspect provided by the LACDPH has been the opportunity to use a modified quarantine for students who’ve had direct contact with an infected person. In order to use this option, we believe all of our students and staff would be required to wear their masks both indoors and outdoors. This would be the only way we could guarantee that there had been only mask to mask contact. So at this time, we will not be using the modified quarantine option.
We have received some inquiries regarding the new vaccine mandate that was presented on Friday by Governor Newsom. In his news conference he indicated that the mandate would be in place once the FDA gave full approval for the vaccine, and it was to be implemented in grade spans 7-12 and K-6 in the first term of school after approval. Based on our current understanding from his presentation, it would appear that the earliest this mandate would be in place would be the 22-23 school year. In addition, because it is not being implemented by legislative action, a personal belief exemption may be available. Again, we will await further details about this process, but it appears that it would not be required this school year.
Another concern has been availability of masks. If your children need a mask, please have them check in the office for one on their arrival at school. We have white cloth masks available, and these should be washed daily and used again. Students do need to wear a mask everyday, and should put the mask in a pocket when they go to recess or lunch.
Social media may provide us with useful information and contact with family and friends. However, one of the destructive aspects of social media has presented itself with the recent challenge to school-aged children to perform acts of vandalism and injury at school, photograph those actions, then post them on TIKTOK to achieve a large number of responses. In September, the challenge was to vandalize the school restroom, which resulted in some restrooms being unavailable for student use while the damage was repaired. Not only was the damage costly, it resulted in school suspensions and the cost of the repairs having to be repaid by the parent.
This month the challenge is to slap school staff on the backside. Please talk to your children about this. This particular challenge may violate several laws. Based on the Education Code, it would be an assault that will be reported to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and students will likely be suspended from school. It could also be sexual harassment. These are serious actions that students are being asked to take part in--indeed a challenge has been posted for each month of this school year. We cannot tolerate this type of behavior, we ask for your assistance in talking with your child about the consequences of it, and hope that your children will make more appropriate choices.
Please help your children understand the seriousness of their behavior.
At a recent meeting of the Board, having volunteers back on campus in person was authorized. However, there are some new requirements that need to be followed. Each campus will have a protocol that applies to how our valued volunteers can help.
If you’ve been waiting to volunteer on campus, please check in with your school principal to determine what opportunities are available. Volunteers on campus must comply with the same regulations for all staff in the district. This will include verification of your vaccination status or weekly negative COVID-19 tests. Volunteers must also wear a mask while indoors, and must sign into every location visited on campus so that in the event of an infection in the location visited, the volunteer may be part of the contact tracing that the staff is required to do.
Once those requirements have been completed, you are ready to participate on campus, so we hope you will join us on campus to help our students continue their academic growth! Thank you for your willingness to participate in the on-campus opportunity.
Under new state regulations related to Board Meetings, the WUSD Board will continue with meetings online. One change in the regulation is that community members no longer have to provide written comments to be read by the Board President in order to address the Board. Now community members can make their comments directly by dialing into the meeting. Generally that is how WUSD has handled comments already, but now it is specific in the regulations. The next meeting of the Board will be on Tuesday, October 19th, with public session beginning at about 6 p.m. The online location for the meeting can be found on the posted agenda at www.westside.k12.ca.us/agendas.
The District is still looking for more great employees to work with our students. If you are looking for a rewarding position, please consider applying with WUSD.
All parents should have received information about a districtwide survey being conducted. This survey contains questions about technology access needs that your students may have, allowing us to use that information to apply for a technology related grant that may help us fund more equipment and services for our students. Additionally, it also is our annual survey to address data required of the district for its annual funding. Your assistance in completing the survey is very important. The survey can be located on the website also.
We have a number of families who have opted for their children to participate in an Independent Study program for this school year. The fulltime sites for these programs are located at Leona Valley School and Westside Academy located on the Joe Walker Middle School campus. Those needing a short term Independent Study program (14 days or less), may make arrangements at your local school for that service.
Independent Study requires the student to be able to complete many assignments independently with teacher support as needed. The current law related to Independent Study is that grades TK-3 must have daily synchronous contact with the teacher, meaning for some part of each day, the children and the teacher will be online at the same time. The rest of the time, students will be working independently, scheduling time with the teacher during office hours. Other grades do not require synchronous daily contact, so there may be more independent work required of the student, with support from the teacher during scheduled office hours. This is a revision of Independent Study legislatively enacted during the summer. If you have questions about the program, please contact Reyna Smith for TK-6th grade questions. She can be reached at Leona Valley School. For more information about the middle school program, please contact Tom Morreale at Cottonwood School.
Again, thanks for all you are doing to support your children’s education this year. It has been challenging yet rewarding as together we strive to make this a great year for our students.
Regina L. Rossall
- Superintendent Summary