Cupertino Union planning multi-phase model for school year

CUSD will be looking to cut as much as $5 million starting in the 2018-19 school year.

Local schools are continuing their planning efforts for the upcoming year, adjusting to the reality of continued COVID-19 outbreaks.

“While we continue to implement the necessary measures to keep our staff, students, and families from risk, we recognize that there has been a surge in cases in our county and an increasing concern about returning to in-person learning too quickly,” Cupertino Union said in a letter to families.

Santa Clara County officials released their guidelines for reopening in late June, detailing restrictions on student movement, busing, and hygiene.

Santa Clara Unified and San Jose Unified both had outreach programs this week to garner more input from parents. Cupertino Union has another town hall scheduled for July 20 from 4 to 5 p.m. to garner more input. That follows a meeting on July 13 to present the current planning.

In a letter to the community on July 10, Cupertino Union honed in on its approach, with several phases included. It allows for distance learning at the beginning of the year, hybrid models, and an eventual full return. Leaders caution that the last phase won’t be for some time and that safety will be the determining factor.

“We will remain in distance learning until we are sure staff and students are able to return to school safely,” the letter read.

The first week of school, running August 13-21, will include orientations on distance learning, opportunities for students and parents to have in-person meetings with teachers, and materials distribution.

School officials are also studying two options for families who do not want to pursue the standard approaches. Those include a home study program, designed for families to teach students at home with guidance and check-ins from teachers, and a full-year distance learning program where students go 100% distance learning for the entire year, taught by a teacher with specialized training.