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Superintendent Message: New School Year Information

Dear DMUSD Families,

The first day of school for all students is August 24, 2020.

Since school closure in March, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to successfully welcoming in the new school year. To do so, we recognized that our families would desire options for a learning program that best suits their child and their family. In our preparation for school opening, we have planned for Launch (DMUSD’s distance learning program), in-person learning (with students present at one of our eight district schools), and remote classrooms (in the event circumstances prevent school sites from opening to students).

Over the last several months, we have had the opportunity to engage extensively with parents throughout our community. The input and feedback we have received have helped to guide our planning and actions as we prepare for school to begin on August 24.  Whether your child(ren) is enrolled in Launch or in-person learning, we are committed to this being a wonderful year. Launch provides families a distance learning option to learn from our talented teachers and benefit from our district’s outstanding distance learning curriculum. Our in-person option is focused on children being physically present in school. Extensive preparation has taken place to allow for the safe return of children to our schools.

We understand that decisions regarding Launch or in-person program enrollment are very important, and parents want only the best for their children. We want to assure you that throughout the school year, should there be changes to the health landscape, we are committed to being flexible and looking at how we can make adjustments to program assignments should there be requests to change programs.  We will make every effort to accommodate requested changes during the year, but practically, class placement and assignment of teachers and students are complex and a logistical challenge. Class sizes in Launch are similar to previous school years (grades K-3 average of 23 students and grades 4-6 average of 28 students), with no combination classes in Launch.  Due to distancing requirements, class sizes for in-person are lower than previous school years (grades K-3 average of 16 students and grades 4-6 average of 18 students). As always, it will be a priority to provide continuity in learning and an extraordinary experience for our students and staff.

San Diego County was placed on the watch list because the county was above the threshold criteria for COVID cases. Yesterday, San Diego County fell below that criteria. If our county continues to report cases below 100, San Diego County could fall off the watch list. At this time, however, in order for schools to open in San Diego County for in-person learning, school districts must submit a waiver. Receiving approval of a waiver will allow our district to identify a specific start date. DMUSD has submitted a waiver, which upon approval, would allow us to reopen our schools. All waivers must be approved by the county public health officer and state officials. We anticipate receiving notice within one week as to whether our waiver has been approved. Should that occur, our district will be ready to open, due to the preparation we have done to ensure a safe reopening. Since we will not know if our district’s waiver has been approved in time to begin in-person on August 24th, the first two weeks of school will begin remotely and continue through September 4th. It is our hope that we will be able to open our school campuses to students for in-person learning beginning Tuesday, September 8th. Launch will begin as scheduled with distance learning on August 24th. You can expect to hear from your school principal or Launch coordinator regarding important details about the successful start of the school year.

This is going to be a fantastic year!

Holly McClurg, Ph.D.