Let’s Talk February 2021

Reopening/Next School Year Questions

Q. Has the county provided any new guidelines for return to school? It seems like some schools in LAUSD will be opening this school year, has Burbank considered changing their position on reopening this school year?

A. The current guidelines may be found here: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus/docs/protocols/Reopening_K12Schools.pdf

We are continuing to bring back more students to campus as health conditions improve. We are expanding in-person interventions for students who need academic support, expanding full-day learning pods via Around the Bell (ATB), starting special education learning centers, and have resumed athletic conditioning. As our employees receive vaccines, we are discussing additional opportunities for elementary students to return to campus in the afternoons.

Q. The CDC released new guidelines for re-opening schools. Can you explain how those will guidelines will affect our district?

A. Los Angeles county schools, including Burbank, must follow Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) guidelines for reopening (see link under question 1). The LACDPH cannot be less restrictive than the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines, but can be more restrictive. The California Department of Public Health reviews the CDC guidance as it develops its guidance.

Q. What are the plans, metrics, and contingencies for reopening the schools, be it either this school year or in the fall?

A. For the items listed under #1, we have plans for each activity. This spring, we will be developing plans for reopening this fall based on current health conditions and guidance. Even though our expectation is to return via a full distance learning model, we will develop a contingency model that includes hybrid and distance learning.

Q. If schools reopen in fall, will it be full time? Will there also be a full-time distance learning option for those not comfortable going back?

A. We are planning on full-time in the fall. Hopefully, it will not be necessary, but we will also plan on a hybrid contingency in case health guidelines/conditions prevent us from opening in full in-person learning. Depending on current guidelines, students TK-6 will have the ability for independent study. Students grades 7-12 can enroll in our Independent Learning Academy (ILA).

Q. If schools open full time, Will in-person school be offered for those of us that want our children to be in a classroom? Or will we only be given a hybrid option?

A. We are planning on full-time in the fall. Hopefully, it will not be necessary, but we will also plan on a hybrid contingency in case health guidelines/conditions prevent us from opening in full in-person learning.

Q. Will there be another survey where we have to make a final choice, without being able to change our minds at a later date?

A. Yes. This summer we will send out a new commitment survey.

Q. Will BUSD offer both online and in person in the fall? We all know that COVID won’t be gone by August without a magic wand and some of us are not comfortable diving in unprotected and we know you can’t force anyone to get the vaccine, especially a child. Some of us might want to wait a little while on that as they may be in a position to provide care at home. Will there be options available for those families who do not want to return to school next year for health reasons?

A. We are planning on full-time in the fall. Hopefully, it will not be necessary, but we will also plan on a hybrid contingency in case health guidelines/conditions prevent us from opening in full in-person learning. Depending on current guidelines, students TK-6 will have the ability for independent study. Students grades 7-12 can enroll in our Independent Learning Academy (ILA).

Q. Will the re-opening committee start meeting again with parent involvement? Can parents volunteer to be on the re-opening committee or do they have to be appointed?

A. We will start meeting again later this spring to plan for the fall once we have a better understanding of how vaccines are rolling out and the potential health guidelines for the fall. Parents will be appointed, but we will seek feedback from all stakeholders.

Q. Will there a choice for distanced learning for students next fall? Will the only option be ILA or will you provide a distanced learning option that includes synchronous learning with live instruction?

A. Depending on current guidelines, students TK-6 will have the ability for independent study. Students grades 7-12 can enroll in our Independent Learning Academy (ILA). We are not planning on a distance learning option that includes synchronous learning with live instruction.

Mondays and Wednesdays

Cohort A (periods 1-3) before lunch

Cohort B (periods 1-3) after lunch

Tuesdays and Thursdays

Cohort B (periods 4-6) before lunch

Cohort A (periods 4-6) after lunch

Fridays

Alternate between periods 1-3 and 4-6

One cohort before lunch and one after lunch

A. Thank you for the feedback, we will consider it when we are revisiting hybrid models later this spring.

Q. If next fall is hybrid, can middle and high school students have instruction on Fridays? One idea regarding schedule:

A. We will be reviewing our hybrid model later this spring.

Q. There is talk about going back in the fall in a hybrid model. If this is the case, what should we expect for the allowance of parent volunteers and outside presenters (assemblies and workshops)?

A. It will depend on current health guidelines.

Q. What specific safety measures have already been installed/implemented at our schools, and what are we still lacking (ventilation systems/increased cleaning, etc.) Will students (especially kindergarteners) be allowed to use the outdoor playgrounds?

A. All sites have Covid Compliance teams and Covid Plans. Health and Safety measures have been implemented such as bottle filler replacements in drinking fountains, additional hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer dispensers, physical distancing markers, thermometers, screening forms, PPE, and health and safety training. Detailed information can be found on the District and school websites in the Covid plans or email stacycashman@burbankusd.org. Playground use will depend on public health guidelines but administrators have created plans for play zones and outdoor activities in compliance with health and safety guidelines.

Q. Can the district provide childcare for teachers so that they don’t have to teach their children at the same time that they are doing their jobs?

A. We are offering a discounted rate at ATB for BUSD employees.

Q. When will negotiations for the 2021-2021 school year MOA with BTA begin? Understanding that the current MOA doesn’t end until June 30th, but it would seem helpful to begin negotiations sooner so that details can be communicated to parents sooner than last year. Will there be input requested from parents before the negotiations?

A. We are currently negotiating an MOU for the remainder of this school year and summer school. Once that is complete, we will begin negotiating for the next school year. Parents can send feedback to Re-openingSchool@burbankusd.org

Q. In August, some students will be behind where they should be academically. And some students will not. Both groups of students will need to be served in different ways. How does the district intend to serve these two different groups.

A. Teachers are trained to differentiate instruction to address the needs of all students in their classroom. In addition, we will also be providing support classes in the core academic areas and intervention classes.

Q. Some school campuses in the Washington DC area are opening with school monitors instead of teachers in the classroom to accommodate for smaller class sizes and address the reality that teachers can’t teach both in person and virtually. Is Burbank considering anything like this?

A. The District would like to see as many students and teachers back in the fall as possible while adhering to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Guidelines in place at the time. That being said, the District will explore all options to accommodate students who want to return. For example, on March 8th and March 29th, we are starting small cohorts where the classroom teacher will continue to teach remotely so that all students may still participate virtually with the teacher, but there will be a small cohort of students working in-person with a substitute teacher and instructional assistants who will assist the students with their synchronous and asynchronous learning.

VACCINES/MASKS

Q. Is there an estimated date for teachers, school staff and district employees to be offered the Covid-19 vaccine?

A. We have a partnership with the Burbank Fire Department (BFD) to provide a vaccination clinic that can vaccinate BUSD employees with their first dose in approximately 4-6 days. We have requested the supply of vaccine from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and the date will depend on when the supply is allocated to BFD.

Q. Will kids of eligible ages need to be vaccinated before on campus?

A. No. The authorization process for the vaccine for children under the age of 16 is a longer process than adults. The vaccine has not been authorized yet for children under 16. However, the California Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health are not currently requiring the vaccine for students on campus.

Q. When we return will volunteers be allowed on campus, will parent volunteers be allowed to help? Will there be something required like a TB test that a vaccination proof can be shown to help?

A. It will depend on current health guidelines.

Q. Will it be a requirement to have all teachers vaccinated?

A. No. The California Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health are not currently requiring the vaccine.

Q. As we know unless something is a hard rule kids don’t tend to do them. When school returns will it be mandatory for kids to wear a mask? To protect each other and staff. Do you know if that is possible to do?

A. Yes, it will be mandatory. There are some exemptions based on medical conditions, we will work with those individual families.

Q. Will masks still be required? How will this be managed for those that forget, lose, get dirty etc.? Will masks still be “optional yet recommended” for TK-2?

A. Masks are required for all students over the age of 2 (there are some medical exemptions). Additional masks have been purchased and school sites will have a supply of disposable masks for students or staff who need masks or replacements. Staff will work with students to train them on proper care and wearing of masks. Parent communications will be sent prior to school reopening.

MENTAL HEALTH

Q. I have recently heard from a few families that they were forced to sell their homes or move. The three families that I spoke with still reside in Burbank, but they are no longer zoned for their home school. Two families have 5th graders going into middle school. The families were worried that their students would have to transfer middle schools and leave their friends if they reported their address changes. It goes without saying that next year will be difficult for our kids, and I know that mental health is a priority in our district. How hard line is the district going to be with transferring kids who have been forced to move (within Burbank) because they were affected by the pandemic? In my experience, the district has been accommodating and understanding. I am assuming that especially with incoming 6th graders, students would be able to remain with their friends and support systems providing they still live in Burbank.

A. If a family moves within Burbank, our practice is to allow students to remain at their current school to provide and support continuity of education (as long as space is available). It is important for families to notify sites and keep their address and contact information current.

Q. Over the last 10 years, what is the student suicide rate of BUSD students as compared to surrounding districts (such as Glendale, Pasadena, La Canada, Santa Clarita, South Pasadena)?

A. We do not have access to suicide rates for other districts.

TESTING

Q. How are SBAC testing results used at the district and state level? Do results have any impact on federal, state, or grant funding?

A. SBAC testing results at the state level are used to provide the community with a way to measure student progress as compared to the state average and to other districts. It also provides information on the performance of particular subgroups or populations of students, which informs instructional decisions made by the District. It is a requirement of the federal government for each state to have an accountability system in place. There are no rewards for outstanding performance, but there are measures that need to be taken if a district performs poorly.

Q. Will there be state testing this year?

A. As of right now, yes.

SUMMER SCHOOL QUESTIONS

Q. When will information about summer school be made available?

A. Summer school registration packets will be available electronically right after spring break as usual. The forms will be made available on our district website and on the websites at our school sites.

Q. Will there be online summer courses available?

A. Yes. We usually offer online credit recovery in English and Social Studies. However, depending on the health conditions in the summer, all summer courses may be in a virtual model. We will not know for sure until we get closer to June.

Q. If teachers and staff are vaccinated this spring, will summer school be physically at school?

A. We are planning for an in-person model; however, if we are not able to return in person, the classes will be offered in a distance learning model like we have been all year.

INTERNET ACCESS

Q. Has BUSD contacted all those who qualify for the Free & Reduced Lunch Program to see if those students need access to a computer or the internet? Or does the district wait for the request from those families?

A. The district reached out to all families with questionnaires and telephone surveys for computer and internet needs. The district prioritized filling requests based on this and other criteria. Schools have reached out to families that were in Title I programs and/or were not attending or accessing schoolwork remotely.

Q. Has BUSD contacted all the students who received Ds and Fs last semester to see if those students need access to a computer or the internet?

A. Families have been contacted about technology needs. When students are contacted about their D & F grades, we ask them if there are technology issues at home. We assist when necessary.

ASSORTED QUESTIONS

Q. Will this year’s 4th & 5th graders be getting the “personal care” health video?

A. Yes, 4th and 5th graders will get the video this year.

Q. When will the later start time begin at the middle and high schools?

A. 2022-23

Q. Senior year is supposed to be “the year” that all students look forward to. It will be heart breaking for students to miss out on special moments of their senior year. What type of guidance is BUSD giving the school sites to plan what prom, grad night and other rites of passage will look like? What is the reality that our seniors will have any sort of sport participation this year?

A. Grad Night is canceled at Disneyland and Magic Mountain. Prom night does not seem possible given current guidelines. The sites will not be able to pivot fast enough to arrange a prom if the health guidelines change closer to May. Many of the facilities will not refund a deposit for a venue in the event that the prom has to be canceled, which is problematic.

The sites are currently working on senior activities that can be done at the site, as soon as it is safe to do so. We are thinking we should be ok by the end of the spring semester.

The sites are working on a senior awards night and how to make that a special event, which could be in person if health conditions allow.

The sites are actively working on graduation with the hope that it may be in person with a modified approach in order to maintain safety.

Athletic conditioning is already opened up, with a second phase ready to start next week. As far as actual competition, that would depend on CIF and the league. At this moment, I am hopeful that it will happen. Everyone is planning for competitions to resume.

Q. Is there any update with regards to OSS activities? Any possibility that there could be all-school activities to make them special?

A. We will not be attending OSS, but the elementary principals are working with school staff and parents in planning for site-based end-of-year activities. Information regarding those activities will be coming soon as plans have been dependent on health conditions.

Q. Thank you so much for your Feb. 10th update. It was very helpful. How often can we expect updates this semester? (Twice a month?)

A. Depending on when I receive new information from Los Angeles County, I plan on sending updates 1-2 times per month.

Q. When we had a Boosters group, we could apply for grants that required a 501(c)(3). Now that BSBA is gone, we no longer have that number and we are not able to apply for grants that we used to be able to apply for. Does the district have any ideas about how to address this problem?

A. Please share the grant information with our Finance department, sometimes they will accept BUSD’s tax-exempt letter.

Also, please note that the Burbank Arts and Education Foundation is about to launch its spring grant cycle for teachers and schools. More information will be forthcoming soon. https://burbankartsanded.org/

Q. How many master plans are there? Where can parents find links to all of the various master plans? Is there a CTE master plan?

A. There are currently 10 Master Plans, including CTE. They are all available on the district website (look under quick links on our home page).

Q. Did BUSD apply for Community School grants offered by the state or through LACOE? (CA Community Schools and Partnerships)

A. Yes, the District has applied for the grant (for Community Day School).