Let’s Talk April 2021


Q. As students return to school, many questions have been asked and answered about classroom HVAC filters. The CDC states that good ventilation helps maintain a healthy classroom environment and recommends bringing in as much outside air as possible by opening doors and windows. At a recent Elementary School Staff Meeting, the teachers were told to keep their doors and windows closed during in-person instruction. Why were the teachers instructed to do this? Do the HVAC systems on BUSD campuses have the ability to eliminate air recirculation and bring in fresh air?

A. Yes, our HVAC systems bring in fresh air. Running the HVAC system with open doors/windows puts stress on units, forcing the units to work harder and shortening their lifespan.

Q. Where can we find the BUSD Covid-19 School Safety Plan?

A. You may find all of our COVID plans here https://www.burbankusd.org/Page/3080

Q. How is it safe for students to play football but not sing spaced out on a football field with masks or not dance with masks?

A. LA County Department of Public Health has recently updated Youth Sports Guidelines to include band, choir, and cheer. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/protocols/Reopening_SportsLeagues.pdf

Q. When the students return to school, what will be the rules around face masks? Will they be required to wear them? Will they be required to wear them correctly (over their mouth and nose)? Who will enforce these rules? Will adults be required to wear face masks and wear them correctly? Who will enforce that? I’m comfortable sending my kids to school if EVERYONE is wearing masks correctly and effectively. My children will probably not be eligible to receive the vaccine when they have the opportunity to return to their classroom. For their safety, I feel that masks, social distancing, and handwashing are the most effective ways to protect them.

A. Yes, everyone will be required to wear masks correctly. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZbOgfA2Oq2tP4yMoeX3P5yZVGKYjO6as/view

Q. If a student does not have access to a vaccination and does not feel comfortable coming back to school without being vaccinated and wants to take a class that is offered at BHS or JBHS but is not offered through APEX, what do they do? (It is unclear when vaccinations will be available for students 15 and younger.)

A. If they do not feel comfortable taking classes in person, they will need to select other courses offered via ILA.

Q. In the fall, will volunteers be required to be vaccinated? Is that something the school district can require?

A. No.

Q. What percent of the BUSD employees decided not to get the vaccine?

A. Approximately 10% of employees did not get the vaccine.

Q. When will the reopening committee start meeting again?

A. If needed, May. If health conditions continue to stay on track for full reopening, we will not need to meet.


Q. Next fall students will be in very different situations. Some will have had a significant learning loss. Others will have done fine and will be at grade level. Differentiated instruction will be required to cover students in more diverse situations than normal. Will teachers be supported with professional development to build their skills in differentiated learning?

A. According to this article in EdSource, some of the funding from SB86 can be used for Staff Training through the 2021-2022 school year to address Student Learning Loss. Each year, the district provides substantial professional development for teachers. One common topic is differentiated instruction. Additional professional development in this area will be available for teachers, as well as other topics to support them in addressing students’ needs.

Q. If we feel our child should repeat this year of school because of learning loss, how do we go about making that happen? Who do we talk to?

A. The instructional program is going to adjust to the needs of students. State standards that need to be retaught will be retaught. Children that need additional direct support and intervention will have an opportunity to attend an expanded summer school. Next year, additional supports will be put into place to assist children who need those services. With all of these planned supports and interventions, retention is not recommended and should not be needed.

Q. Why does the district have so many opportunities for children to advance in math in middle and high school but not in elementary school?

A. There are a few reasons for this. One is that not every school has a departmentalized program to offer such a program. Another is that the numbers of students who would participate in accelerated programs in math are not large enough to create separate programs. And finally, the expectation is for elementary teachers to be able to address the unique needs of the students in their classes. If you do not feel that your student is adequately challenged, then reach out to the teacher and the principal to express your concerns.

Q. Why can’t elementary students be grouped for math the same way they are grouped for reading so that they can receive differentiated instruction?

A. That is a school site decision based on the needs of the school and the staff at the school. This is also why not all schools are departmentalized.

Q. Why can a student take 4 classes at ILA and 2 classes at JBHS but they can’t take 4 classes at JBHS and 2 classes at ILA? Is this a restriction due to state law? County restriction?

A. The ILA was accredited as an independent learning program. It is also recognized by the state as an independent school. When students attend the ILA, the state funds the ILA based on average daily attendance. Therefore, students at the ILA must take the majority (4 classes) at the ILA.

Q. When a student completes a NAF Academy (medical, business, engineering), is there a notation on their transcript so that college application officers are aware of it? Is there something on their diploma?

A. Starting this year, there will be a notation on the transcript. However, the student has to do more than pass the classes. For the NAF notation on the transcript, students must also complete their internships. There is no notation on the diploma.

Q. When a student completes a CTE Pathway, is there a notation on their transcript so that college application officers are aware of it? Is there something on their diploma?

A. Starting this year, there will be a notation on the transcript if a student completes a CTE pathway. There is no notation on the diploma.

Q. Has the Alternate Education Committee been meeting this year? This year has given us many ideas about alternate education options. Is there a way for parents and the district to discuss what works and what doesn’t? What has the district learned that they want to implement in the future?

A. The Alternative Education Committee has not met this year. It will resume meeting in the fall. Any parent that would like to participate, can email sharoncuseo@burbankusd.org to be placed on the email list. Yes, there have been many things we have learned during the pandemic that could inform our educational offerings in the future.

Q. ILA has a lot of written instruction. For auditory learners, this can be challenging. Would it be possible for students to audit the BHS or JBHS class through a camera so they could hear the teacher’s explanations and hear the questions of the other students, but not participate in the class? Many students attend ILA due to mental or physical health challenges. Having an opportunity to hear a class discussion could be very helpful for them.

A. No, students are not allowed to audit classes via a camera in class.

Q. If a student takes a class such as Geometry and gets a C or a D, can they take it again during the summer? If they get a higher grade, does it replace the prior grade or are they both averaged into their GPA?

A. The district provides summer school opportunities for students to recover credit if they fail a class. Grade improvement classes can be done outside the BUSD by petition. Oftentimes these programs are at a cost to families. The improved grade will be added to the students’ BUSD transcript. However, it does not REPLACE the old grade. When the universities evaluate the transcript for college admissions, they will take the higher grade.

Q. If summer school credit recovery classes are going to be offered virtually, how are you going to help the students pass a class they couldn’t pass virtually during the school year? How will teaching be approached differently?

A. All credit recovery classes are being designed and scheduled to be in-person. We will pivot to distance learning if we have to based on health guidelines. With the assistance of the APEX learning curriculum and the virtual interaction and direct instruction with a teacher, the students will be supported to pass the course. Additionally, this will not be the first time the students have seen the material.

Q. In the fall, if a student does not feel comfortable returning to the classroom, will they be moved to the ILA program with the 4 ILA teachers or will a BHS or JBHS teacher who also does not feel comfortable returning, be working with that student using the APEX curriculum? If that is the case, then isn’t it more accurate to say that if a student wants to continue distance learning in the fall, they will be using the APEX curriculum with a classroom teacher? When you use the term ILA instead of using APEX, it becomes very confusing for families.

A. If a student does not feel comfortable returning to school in the fall, their only option is to enroll at the ILA. There are five teachers at the ILA. The district increased the staff by one teacher last year. The ILA has a capacity of 150 students.


Q. Can you share the suicide data for BUSD students over the last 10 years? If so, what is it?

A. There is no database for students who commit suicide. Sometimes, suicides occur shortly after graduation, and the school is not officially notified. For those students who pass while at school, some deaths are inconclusive and families cannot determine with certainty if the death was accidental or on purpose. Therefore, it is not possible to respond accurately to the question.

Q. Can the district do a presentation for parents on kids with multiple challenges, such as ADHD/GATE, ADHD/ELL, ADHA/Anxiety, GATE/ELL? Often we try to solve one challenge but it turns out that the other challenge is causing all the problems.

A. Yes, the district can make that part of the planning process for fall for the GATE program, the EL program, and the Special Education program.


Q. How much money will the district get for opening on April 12th? How much would the district have received if you had opened on April 1st?

A. The District will be receiving $4,201,369 (In-Person Instruction Grant, part of SB86) for opening on April 12. BUSD would have received $4,517,601 had we opened on or by April 1, which is $316,232 less than the full allocation. The loss is calculated at 1% for each day after March 31 the District didn’t have in-person instruction.

Q. How much money will BUSD receive through CA SB 86?

A. SB 86 comprises both the In-Person Instruction Grant and the Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant. We have until June 30, 2022, to spend these funds.

In-Person Instruction Grant $ 4,201,369
Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant $ 9,608,507

Additional BUSD funding information: The District is expecting more ESSER money (ESSER III, part of the American Rescue Plan) in the amount of $12,485,769. The spending deadline for these funds is September 30, 2024.


Q. Parents are trying to come up with innovative ideas for hybrid scheduling. When they contact the district, they are usually told that there is additional information which would make their idea not possible but that the district was exploring similar ideas. The parent is sent away to continue brainstorming in a vacuum. Why can’t we have meetings once a month where we brainstorm together?

A. We welcome feedback, please continue to email your principal and/or the district with suggestions.

Q. When will the district complete negotiations with the Teacher’s Union for the fall schedule? When will families be told what you all agree to?

A. We just finished negotiations for the spring hybrid model, we will now work on summer school and the fall.

Q. Would you share with us your personal vision of what you would like to see — ideally, of what the school year could look like once we are able to be back fully in person. What perspective have we as a district gained and what things have we done during the pandemic that you would like to see remain or incorporated into the new normal?

A. The State of the Schools video touches on this topic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_V9kA5rQEs&feature=youtu.be

Q. What are the district’s thoughts/plans for OSS for next year’s 5th grade students?

A. In June, elementary principals plan to have a conversation about 5th grade outdoor science school. They will be discussing the vision of the program and the scope of the program. There is a common interest that schools offer somewhat similar opportunities across the District.


Q. Can BHS use the McCambridge pool since theirs is broken? It is so much closer than the Verdugo pool.

A. The McCambridge pool is closed until summer. BHS is working with the City of Burbank and is hoping to get access during that time and into the fall.

Q. It seems like there are quite a few BUSD events that are planned at the same time – is there any way to minimize these?

A. We try to minimize the overlap of events, but we have a lot of activities within the district.

Q. Would it be possible to suspend or omit attendance awards? I have always wondered if the children who win these awards have genuinely been well the whole school year. My guess is that they have come to school sick at some point, spread germs, infected other children, who then have to miss school & extracurricular activities. I think coming out of a pandemic is the best time to prioritize health & safety with regards to everything from Covid 19 to the common cold. I think parents would be less likely to insist their sick kids go to school if they were confident their kid wouldn’t get so far behind or miss work that is difficult to make up. Perhaps we could use the technology we’ve relied on during the pandemic to aid in students making up missed work. I think this way of thinking requires a culture shift because while the rules are “if your child has a fever, keep them home,” the culture seems to be “suck it up buttercup & get to school.”

A. We are also currently messaging parents and students (a letter to all BUSD parents was just sent) regarding “sick stay at home” expectations, but we will continue to encourage attendance when students are healthy as it will be important for students to return to structure and consistency.

Q. Will children be able to wear masks during cold/flu season in the future when we aren’t in this pandemic? It seems like a great way to reduce transmission of colds/flu and reduce absenteeism.

A. Yes.