4/15 Q&A Regarding Campus Closure and Distance Learning
Dear Shu Ren Community,
With the six Bay Area counties extending school closures until the end of the school year, and Governor Newsom’s most recent announcement of the six key indicators for modifying the stay at home order, the big question on all of our minds is “How do these developments impact Shu Ren?” We recognize that we’ve collectively experienced a lot of change over the past month and hope this Q &A addresses some of the questions and concerns directly related to the Shu Ren community.
At this time we have not decided to close campus through the end of the school year. It is evident that this is a very fluid situation. While we support the decision by the counties, the California Department of Education has made clear that private schools have the flexibility to make decisions surrounding school closure that take into account their unique school context.
As always, the safety and health of our students, staff, and community are our highest priorities, and we do not want to put anyone in a position to have to return to school until we know it is safe to do so. We will be able to provide more information after the order to shelter in place is reevaluated by the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD).
It is clear that we will not return to school on May 4. Considering that we are experiencing an urgent public health crisis that requires a commitment to physical distancing, it is highly unlikely that we will reopen before the end of May.
While it is incredibly disheartening that our school community will not be physically together for some time, we know this is the best decision to help slow the rate of spread and provide a reprieve to our local health care systems. That said, we remain fully committed to providing services and support to students and families in new ways. First and foremost is our responsibility to deliver quality distance learning opportunities to all students.
Shu Ren will extend the early childhood school year to account for the extended stay at home orders currently in effect in California. The regular school curriculum will be suspended until students are able to return to in-person classes. This plan is based on our understanding that students at this age benefit greatly from peer socialization in a play-based learning environment, which simply cannot be replicated through distance learning experiences.
Until in-person classes resume, Shu Ren is offering our current families a virtual enrichment camp to keep our students and families connected and engaged. The camp includes live weekly sessions of Art, Dance and Storytelling in Mandarin and Music in English. This camp is offered to our Pre-K students free of charge until we can return to campus.
Participation in Pre-Kindergarten is not mandated by the State of California, while K-12 is compulsory. Given the uncertainty of when we can return to campus, we believe pausing our elementary program would be too big of a risk for our K-6 students’ education at this time.
All upcoming school events in the month of April and May are canceled. These events typically take weeks to months of planning, and without knowing when social distancing restrictions may be lifted, we cannot proceed with such events. However, we will still find new and creative ways to celebrate student and staff accomplishments between now and the end of the year. In May, we will have a better understanding of our options for the end-of-year performance and graduation.
Yes. We are currently putting together additional resource kits that will be distributed to families in the next couple of weeks. We will have a structured process in place that will strictly adhere to physical distancing guidelines. The details will be announced next week.
We continue to adhere to strict social distancing measures. We cannot safely allow families to pass in and out of our facilities at this time. Teachers have shared a variety of free online resources that families can access in both English and Mandarin. You may reach out to your teachers regarding these resources.
The California Department of Education (CDE) just released guidance regarding grading. Shu Ren intends to issue semester 2 report cards at the end of the school year. These report cards will be modified to accommodate for the distance learning experience. Grade K-2 students will be assessed on the learning objectives presented in Seesaw assignments and 1:1 Zoom sessions. Grade 3-6 students will be assessed on learning objectives presented in Seesaw assignments, Google Classroom, and Zoom sessions.
Grade 3-6 students will not take ERB, MAP, or STAMP standardized tests this school year, as these tests cannot be administered in the home environment.
As K-12 is compulsory education, in grades K-6, attendance will be taken through the Seesaw app. Completion of the activities for the week indicates that a child was present for class. Additionally, for grades 3-6, attendance will also be taken for Zoom morning academic periods.
We are fortunate to be able to secure wages and benefits for all of our staff (teachers, assistant teachers, and office staff) at this time. We are doing everything possible to ensure this will continue until school reopens.
Email is the best way to get in touch with me, however, starting next week, I will begin virtual office hours. Parents are welcome to join and ask questions about our programs and share their thoughts on this extraordinary time we are all experiencing.