COVID-19 Upsurge and Update
Hello Rattler Community,
Once again we find ourselves in a world we could not imagine. It seems like this pandemic really is feeling like the new normal. I am saddened not only for our students and staff but for all of our families. As stated many times, this community is strong and I'm proud to lead it, even in these challenging times.
In times like these we need to stand together and I need us to do that as we continue through this process of adapting and pivoting based on this pandemic.
Principals were called to a meeting to discuss the uptick in cases and positivity rate in schools. As you know, we are seeing it here as well. However, trust me when I say we are way better off than many of the high schools. This is due to you as a community listening to "our ship's doctor," Nurse Ashley, and our Health Technician Josefina. They are working overtime to keep you safe and putting in about 70 hours a week, late into the night, trying to keep your students and you as a family healthy. I am so happy they are here to help all of us--and so dedicated to the CHHS community.
In the meeting I attended, I learned of several things that are going to be implemented today, with full implementation on Monday. These things are going to feel like two steps backward but we need your help right now.
1. Masks: They are a condition of enrollment. If you child refuses or engages in some passive dismissal of a request, you are going to get a phone call. We simply can not be mask police and we need everyone's compliance. In addition, I will be creating a video for Friday to be shown where I review this with students and also remind them that a teacher has the right to politely ask they mask up without refusal. They also have the right to politely ask a staff member the same if they should be without one. We need to hold each other accountable. In addition, please send your child with a mask. We simply can not keep up with the distribution that is needed everyday with hundreds of students coming to school without them.
Here are updates and changes to the mask policy:
Masks need to be surgical and worn at all times indoor and out unless eating.
Cloth mask with a surgical mask is preferred--in other words double-mask--with surgical underneath the cloth.
Most protective masks are N95, KN95,KF94 or similar style.
Students are to eat outside unless there is inclement weather--please dress accordingly. No more eating in the hallways in buildings.
If your child is at a game or sporting event unmasked they will be told to leave immediately.
2. Class coverage: We have had an emergency declared by our district. This declaration allows me more freedom to make decisions and one decision we will make is that we will be keeping as many students as we can in the classroom they are supposed to be in and not in mass groups in the Media Center or Theater unless absolutely necessary. This plan has been created with the staff and their commitment to cover on their prep periods to make sure students are kept in small groups for contract tracing etc. I want to give all of them a huge thank you as they have agreed to all take their turn for your students and their safety. However, there may be a time when your child may end up in the media center but know it was a last resort.
3. COVID protocol has changed--see below: (Any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.) I want to be clear that sending your student COVID positive to school is actually against the law. There are consequences to a mass amount of other people when you do this. This is good until further notice. We know testing is taking a while to get back but you can not send your child to school in the interim--kids are getting sick.
4. Activities/ASB/Events: They are all postponed until further notice and reevaluation. The only reason we can continue to hold Athletic contests is because it isn't under our purview of control--it's CIF. Also because athletes are tested at least weekly, CIF will continue until further notice. I know this seems contradictory to the goal and standard of safety we are trying to create and I understand to others it may not seem fair. I have no authority to change it and I understand the frustration this may cause some of you.
5. Grades and Finals: So many questions about this issue. As a parent, I totally understand. Education Code states that a teacher is the sole determiner of the grade.
I have surveyed the staff and it appears most are doing everything possible to help students. Most assignments are on Google Classroom or Canvas for completion if your child is out on COVID protocol which is clearly delineated in PowerSchool for us to see. Your child needs to be reaching out to their teachers and communicating. Failure to communicate could result in a grade that is not representative of your child and their work. Teachers are being directed to give as much grace as possible as long as the students are communicating with them. Teachers have several options when issuing grades and based on what I saw from the survey my concerns are almost non-existent.
Finals: Teachers have four choices and are entitled to make whichever choice they so choose.
Provide a final or final project online.
Have an in person final earlier than the assigned final day or have a final on the day of the final and offer a make up. Then the final would not penalize students for a final grade, but after the final is scored, the teacher would do a grade change form to reflect the actual final grade. This is a last resort as it becomes very stressful for students--this option will be on a case-by-case basis as many times it results in grades that are lower.
Don't give one at all. Yes, teachers can choose this option. Teachers can also choose to excuse a student from the final on a case by case basis.
Do any combination of 1-3.
These choices are the teachers and I can not mandate what they do and neither can a parent. Teachers will evaluate what works best based on a slew of statistics from how many of their students are actually out, how they have done in the class throughout the semester, how they are communicating with their teacher while they have been out, and whatever situation the individual finds themselves in because students are not only out for COVID purposes.
I have always committed myself to being as transparent as possible and I hope this Special Edition can give you some clarity and also let you know that I am going to do whatever it takes to keep this school open for your students--I need your commitment to help me.