Essential Information for COVID Closure

Essential Information for COVID Closure
Posted on 03/13/2020

Of all of the Covid 19 Updates I have had to send out, this has been the most difficult.   We have not had any cases of Covid 19, but that does not preclude us from any future occurrences.  The most sacred part of education is the trust you give us to care for your child.  With that in mind, I will not hesitate to act in the best interest of our students.   At 11:30 AM, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, in conjunction with the Santa Clara County Health Department, has called for the closing of all public schools in Santa Clara County. 

University Preparatory Academy, as a public school, has complied with the decree and will be closed starting March 16 through April 3.  We hope that school will resume on April 6, but that is not a guarantee.  The staff has already been working on creating distance learning opportunities, and we will be expecting students to complete coursework daily starting on Monday, March 16.   Students must commit themselves to their studies and dedicate 6 hours a day to learning.  

While the school is closed to students and teachers, essential staff (front office and administration) will still be on-site and coordinating the deep cleaning and preventative measures to ensure a safe and clean campus when students return.  

How does distance learning work?

Distance Learning, or online learning, will be a hybrid of teacher uploaded notes, PowerPoint Slides, resources as well as activities, quizzes, exams, and projects.   Teachers will be posting and collecting work through PowerSchool, our current learning management system.  I have directed teachers to publish the day's work by 8 AM each day and to receive work at 4 PM.   We will still be following our current schedule, meaning that students will submit work depending on what classes they have on that day.  For example, on Monday, March 16, students will look for work for their 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th-period courses and submit that work by 4 PM.  I have directed teachers to collect work every day so that you can help monitor and guide students in completing their work.   Teachers will also be sending out links to secondary resources.

If you do not have a computer or lacking consistent internet access, you can check out a laptop or hot spot starting Monday at 8:30 AM. 

We are looking at ways to enhance the online experience.  Many of our teachers will be linking Google Classroom or using Zoom to create interactive features.  As we streamline our services, I will keep you informed.

Teachers will be checking their emails several times a day, so please reach out if you are having any issues. 

How does the closure impact the school calendar and events?

There are four significant impacts that this closure has on the calendar and events.  At this point, I do not have definitive information from the California Department of Education, but expect it soon.  I can say that we are confident that we will have to cancel spring break to make sure we can prepare students for the end of the semester.  I will be filing an exemption to the calendar to ensure that our year does not extend into the summer.  Prom and Graduation are critical functions of a school; they are far enough out that we will be able to make an informed decision in the coming weeks.  All I can say for now is that we are working hard to get these answers and will report out as soon as we know anything. 

What about AP and State Testing?

I have not received anything specifically about altering the testing schedule; it does seem likely that there will be some adjustments – I do not expect any cancelations, though.    Once we have any news, we will report it to you immediately. 

What about Athletics?

All UPA athletics have been suspended until April 16.  That includes practices, scrimmages, non-league games, and league games.  The April 16 date is not set in stone – that has to be approved before we can resume the season. 

What if I or a family member contract Covid 19?

If you or a family member contract Covid 19, we hope your first steps are to contact your primary physician, but you must alert the school.  The more information we have, the better our decisions will be. 

In my 23 years of education, I have never seen anything like this before.  The situation and how we respond is new to us all.  I can assure you that the staff at UPA are dedicated to overcoming this challenge, and with your help, we will continue to make our mission of college success a reality for our students.

I am available anytime during the closure, so please reach out and let me know if I can do anything to help out in any way.  Do not hesitate to ask a question, share a concern, provide a comment – I will continue to endeavor to answer you quickly, honestly, and thoroughly.  For all of those that have reached out already – once again – thank you for doing that, I am honored to be a servant of the UPA Community. 

Sincerely,

David Porter

Executive Director

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