Our classes in the Alameda Unified School District opened a full month ago, which means the 2020-21 school year is fully underway. Here are some updates.
Remote Learning Program: After learning of inappropriate content in the Acellus online learning program, staff recommended to the Board to Education that AUSD instead adopt the Edmentum online package for remote learning (the district’s Remote Learning Program was designed for families who want their students to learn from home for the entire 2020-21 school year). Remote teachers were trained on the program last week, and students began using it this week. More details about the Remote Learning Program are available at www.alamedaunified.org/remote.
Other class options: All AUSD schools began Aug. 27 in the distance phase of our Flexible Learning Program, which was designed to alternate between in-person and distance learning depending on public health conditions. Over the last several weeks, the district has been carefully exploring the possibility of resuming in-person instruction for younger elementary students through the county’s waiver process.
This reopening would not occur without first consulting employees and families. Staff provided a comprehensive update on the waiver process and considerations at the Sept. 22 Board of Education meeting. That presentation includes information on the county’s reopening criteria; ventilation in our school facilities; cleaning and hygiene practices to be followed if some in-person instruction resumes; and protocols if students or staff test positive for COVID-19. The slide deck for that agenda item is available online at tinyurl.com/AUSD-BoE-09222020. Video of that presentation should be posted to the agenda by the end of this week.
Free school meals: In early September, AUSD received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue serving free meals to all youth as it does during the summer. That approval, which extends through Dec. 31, means that any Alameda student age 18 or younger can pick up free meals on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at eight sites across the district: Earhart Elementary School, Lincoln Middle School, Love Elementary School, Paden Elementary School, the Academy of Alameda, Ruby Bridges Elementary School, Wood Middle School and Encinal Junior & Senior High School. No identification is needed, and children don’t need to be present for adults to pick up food.
We’d like to remind all our families, though, that it’s still important to apply to qualify for the Free & Reduced Meal Program this year, as that allows families to get reduced prices on PSAT, SAT, ACT and AP exams, as well as free college applications. The deadline is Oct. 8 for those applications, which are available at www.alamedaunified.org/foodservices.
Susan Davis is the Alameda Unified School District’s senior manager for community affairs. Reach her at 510-337-7175 or [email protected]