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A Message from our Superintendents

Note: This is a joint message from retiring Superintendent Chief Learning Officer Dr. Rob Leri and incoming Superintendent Chief Learning Officer Carmen Ghysels.) 

Dear TTUSD Community,

The 2020-2021 school year kicks off in just five weeks and we’re committed to providing high-quality instruction to our students in a safe environment under COVID-19. For the past several months, our team has been working diligently on plans to safely reopen our schools this fall. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic is not yet under control, and the spread of COVID-19 is still a huge concern. This pandemic is undoubtedly one of the hardest things any of us have gone through; we’ve never been through anything like this in our lifetime. It’s added additional stress at home and has been challenging for your work schedules. We are incredibly proud and thankful for the resilience and strength you’ve demonstrated since March when the realities of COVID-19 hit our schools and our community. 

We (Rob and Carmen) have been evaluating a variety of scenarios so our district is well-prepared for the start of school and we continue to adapt as the situation changes every day. Our goal is to have two educational options for our TTUSD families when school begins, a modified on-campus instruction with mitigation and a remote learning option. However, this is contingent on whether or not Placer County is off the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) watch list. Safety remains our top priority and will continue to guide all of our decisions. The safety of our students and the safety of our teachers, staff members, and administrators. We need our entire school population to be healthy to serve our students and be responsible community members. 

While we have schools in several counties, TTUSD is a Placer County School District and operates under the direction of the Placer County Office of Education. In our planning, we are following the safety guidelines outlined by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education, as well as directives from both the Placer and Nevada County Health Officers.

As we’ve shared all summer, the board will be deciding on what the start of school looks like next week, at our August 5 Board of Education meeting. We don’t have a definitive answer for you today,  but we’ll share this: We want to be safely back in school. We want to see our students. We miss our face to face interaction with our students. 

You entrust your kids to us every weekday during the school year and we’ve always been committed to ensuring they’re learning in a safe environment. We continue to be vigilant about their safety and the safety of their environment. Here are a few things you can count on for the new school year: 

  • School will look different this fall (and likely for the 2020-2021 school year) as we continue to live through this pandemic.
  • Safety will remain our top priority: the safety of our students, staff, and our families. 
  • We will not put the health of our students or staff at risk if the virus is not under control in our community. 
  • When we open our campuses, there will be a remote learning option for all families who don’t feel comfortable having their child(ren) on campus during COVID-19.
  • Strict safety measures will be implemented, including stringent hygiene practices for all on-campus, which will be spelled out in detail in a “family back to school guidebook.”
  • When schools open, we will practice social distancing on campus. Face coverings will be required (per CDPH) for all staff and students in grades 3-12. Face coverings are highly encouraged for our TK-second-graders as well, but not mandatory. Facial coverings will be mandatory for any student riding district school buses.
  • If we have to start our school year in distance learning due to safety concerns, remote learning will be robust. We pivoted to distance learning in March in three days, and we’ve learned a great deal. We’re providing our teachers with additional professional development for teaching in a remote environment so they can do their best in a new instructional environment.

Our board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, and this is where we’ll make a recommendation to the board for the fall. To live stream the board meeting, visit ttusd.org and click on the link on the home page, right under the photo slideshow. If you would like to submit a public comment before the meeting, please email boardroom@ttusd.org and your comment will be read to the board during public comment on the proposed plan.

Sincerely,

Rob Leri and Carmen Ghysels 

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