District Updates and School Closure Information
May 17, 2020Greetings DUSD Families, Staff and Community,
Living through this experience as the parent of young children and trying to find the right words to bring them comfort during this time is just hard. As the father of two tweens, I understand the struggle personally. I have also found myself lately imagining when we get on the other side of this disease, the difficulty it will be to explain someday to my grandchildren and the generations yet to come what life was like during COVID-19. With this in mind, the gravity of the decisions we are making now that will shape the world our future generations will inherit has been weighing more heavily than usual.
Whether you approve or disapprove of the decisions being made by our federal and/or state authorities, and despite this being a global pandemic, it strikes me that the real solutions to overcoming the virus are expected to be devised and implemented at the local level. While “guidance” is being offered, it will be our local leaders who are ultimately responsible for our road to recovery. For this reason, the path we take as a district will need to be one of bold action balanced with an abundance of caution in order not to leave anyone behind. If there has been any bright spot to facing COVID-19, it has been the light that has been shed on the cracks in our pre-pandemic socio-economic systems. Education has always been touted as the great equalizer, but even though we may have been aware of it before, we can clearly see now it hasn’t been accessible to all learners. When it is safe to reopen all aspects of society, I hope it is not a return to business as usual. We now have the opportunity to recognize and remove institutional roadblocks and blaze a better path forward for all our students that is truly equitable and inclusive.
The DUSD road to reopening for next school year and beyond will afford our students multiple on-ramps to success, and we anticipate the need to deliver a range of learning models that may include in-person instruction, distance learning, and hybrid combinations. I am assembling a reopening advisory taskforce with representatives from all our stakeholder groups to inform the reenvisioning of the delivery of our instructional programs. But, I also would appreciate input from all of our students, parents/caretakers, and staff during the development process. Please take the surveys provided now below, if you have not done so yet, to help us gather your feedback regarding your plans to return to DUSD for the 2020-2021 school year and our Distance Learning delivery. I anticipate the need to ask for your participation in more surveys in the near future to gauge further what our students’ and staffs’ needs will be more specifically, and I hope I can count on your participation.
While we will create a comprehensive plan, our actions will continue to be in concert with the guidance provided by CDE and LACOE, and we will only offer what is safe to do so as determined through collaboration with the LA Public Health Department. Which is why our federal, state, and county officials need to acknowledge that if local municipalities, including school boards, are being relegated responsibility for implementing essential services, they come with price tags that we can’t be told we can’t afford. Our planning must take into account the resources needed to execute them that includes sufficient stocks of PPE and sanitization supplies. The May Revise issued by Governor Newsom last week presented a dismal budget projection for K-12 education, and we were already operating within tight fiscal constraints prior to the pandemic. For us to have a successful road to recovery, decisions can’t be made from the bottom up while the delegation of the money needed to do so is determined at the top. Finding equitable and inclusive solutions to delivering education will require changes to pre-pandemic budgetary practices too.
I can assure you that at our level, the DUSD road to reopening will be thoughtfully and painstakingly built with the safety and success of all of our students, parents/caretakers, and employees in mind as well as the generations of children that will attend Duarte Unified School District in the future. Thank you for helping us create our new reality, your contributions are vital and your support is greatly appreciated. When the day comes, I know I will be proud to tell my grandkids about it.Thank you, have a good last full week of the 2019-20 school year, stay safe, and be well everyone!Best,GordonSuperintendent of SchoolsDuarte Unified School District