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Preparing for the First Day of School! by Armand Amoranto

Preparing for the First Day!

by Armand Amoranto

As a father of four beautiful children and a teacher for the last 24 years, despite taking a year leave of absence, my heart and head is still in education.   I can’t help but pay attention to the plans and ideas going around and how to open schools safely in the fall.   With Covid-19 virus guiding both the state and local plans for education, keeping up with all the changes can be challenging.  As decisions are made, it is important that we as parents and/or educators give grace to those making the decisions.  Everyone has incomplete information.   Based on that incomplete information, they are tasked to make decisions that impact the lives of tens of thousands of kids and families.   Whether you agree or disagree, that is based on your incomplete information. Whatever side you are on, approach your opportunity to share your side with kindness. With that being said, below is a summary of events I have discovered based on recent board meetings.   

Oceanside Unified School District 

  • Opened a brand new virtual school - Surfside Academy.   The school offers three options to serve your children - homeschool, blended learning or direct instruction.   It is led by the Principal Eric Frandsen who is a man with a great heart for kids and learning.  They have some great people over at Surfside Academy and I trust, that with Mr. Frandsen’s leadership, that Surfside will do well and serve the diverse needs of the community of OUSD.
  • Superintendent Dr. Vitale on recent Virtual Town Hall with Mike Levin Representative of the 49th District
    • At 5:12 mark - Rep. Mike Levin shared recent Covid-19 infection and death rates for both Orange County and San Diego County.
    • At 11:50 mark - Dr. Vitale shares recent Governor Newsome’s orders and what the district has done to serve students and prepare staff to keep everyone safe.
    • At 15:00 mark - Rep. Mike Levin summarized all that the federal government has accomplished.
    • At 31:02 mark - Dr. Vitale addresses Q&A on what districts have done to prepare teachers for distance learning.
    • At 33:54 mark - Rep. Levin and Dr. Vitale address Q&A on if teachers are “essential workers.”
    • At 36:25 mark - Rep. Levin and Dr. Vitale address Q&A on what are the guidelines for safety for students in school.   They summarized the recent Governor’s orders for classroom instruction

Vista Unified School District

As many of you know, LA Unified and SD Unified made the decision on July 13th to start the school year with distance learning.  As a parent, I like Vista USD’s recent decision to postpone the start of school to September 8th.   It gives teachers more time to prepare for Vista Virtual and gives parents hope that school may start as Vista Classic if things change with Covid-19 outbreaks.   As a parent, I know the value of being in a classroom and seeing my children thrive under the guidance of excellent teachers.   At the same time, as a teacher, I know the importance of having my students face to face, building relationships, and allowing them to work collaboratively with each other.   Add to that with science instruction, it is difficult to replicate lessons learned from setting up labs, discussing ideas and dealing with trial and error with laboratory experiments.   Those experiences are difficult to replicate with online simulations.

In the event that schools do open up, please be sure to discuss with your principals what will be done to protect students, teachers and staff from Covid-19 virus.   What mitigation steps will they take in the event a positive case arises?   What decontamination methods will be used both in the event of a Covid-19 infection and regularly to prevent?  What EPA N Listed chemicals are they using to decontaminate?   Are they food grade safe, especially when used in the classroom?    Have them contact Bio-One and I can provide any assistance they need to ensure our children stay safe, healthy and get the best possible education.    

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