Coronavirus Updates and Information
Superintendent Update #8, 9/24/20
We continue to work closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency to determine when we can safely reopen our schools. We do not yet have a date to reopen, but when we do we will notify everyone with notice of at least 10 working days. When we do reopen we are likely to transition to our Blended Learning model where students will attend school for part of the day and continue with Virtual Learning for part of the day. When we reopen we will continue to offer our Virtual Learning for the full day for those families that are not ready to send their children back to school.
The case rates for the Coronavirus continue to decrease across Orange County; however, Anaheim, Santa Ana and some other areas continue to have case rates that are far above the County average. We are monitoring those numbers closely and if the downward trend continues for our area we will set a reopening date.
Rest assured that we have been working frantically to put important safety protocols and resources in place. We have touchless hand sanitizers for all of our classrooms and other areas of our schools. We have touchless thermometers to take our students’ temperatures when they arrive at our school sites. We have face coverings for all students and staff members. We have scheduled cleaning and sanitization protocols that include the use of industrial-strength disinfectant sprayers. We have analyzed all of our schools and we have social distancing protocols ready to be implemented for all of our students.
We have two stakeholder groups, one for certificated employees and one for classified employees, and we meet every week to fine-tune our reopening plans. We are required by the California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency to develop a School Reopening Plan that includes an Attestation Process that outlines the safety protocols that are in place for us to reopen.
Again, our plan is to reopen for In-Person learning. As soon as it is determined by the California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency that our area is safe for our students to return to school we will begin the reopening process.
Thank you for your dedication, understanding and patience.
Frank Donavan, Ed.D.
Previous Messages (click on a message to expand)
Superintendent Update #7, 8/28/20
As you know, the information on the Coronavirus and when schools can resume In-Person Learning continues to change. Up until this morning, counties could be removed from the State Watch List when they had less than 100 cases per 100,000 people and the Test Positivity rate stayed below 8% for 14 days. This afternoon our Governor announced a new method for determining when schools and businesses can reopen based on four Tiers:
- Tier 1, widespread transmission: Most nonessential businesses must be closed. Counties in this tier have more than seven new COVID cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus test positivity rate of 8% and above.
- Tier 2, substantial transmission: Some nonessential indoor businesses remain closed. Counties in this tier have between four to seven COVID cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus test positivity rate of between 5%-8%.
- Tier 3, moderate transmission: Some businesses can open with modifications. Counties in this tier have 1-3.9 new COVID cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus positivity rate of 2-4.9%.
- Tier 4, minimal transmission: Most businesses can reopen, with modifications. Counties in this tier have less than one new COVID case per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus positivity rate of less than 2%.
These Tiers will identify all counties and the timeline to move in and out of these Tiers, which will be identified by colors Purple, Red, Orange and Yellow, has been extended from 14 to 21 days. For example, in order to move from Tier 1 (Purple) to Tier 2 (Red) a county would have to meet the criteria listed above for 21 days.
I know that you are hearing announcements from other school districts regarding when they will return to In-Person Learning, but actual dates to have students return are estimates since school districts have to wait and see what happens with the Coronavirus Case Rates and Positivity Rates.
Additionally, within Orange County, and probably all counties, there is great variation in the number of cases. Here in West Anaheim our rates are much higher than other parts of Orange County.
We have taken a cautious approach and we will continue to make our decisions based on our Four Guiding Principles--Safety, Science, Staff Support, and Student Learning. We continue to follow the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Guidelines and we continue to work closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) and the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE). We will continue to meet regularly with our Stakeholder groups.
Due to the consistency of our three instructional models, we are prepared to transition from our Virtual Learning model to either our Blended Learning or In-Person Learning model when it is safe to do so. When we do transition to our Blended or In-Person model we will proceed safely, cautiously and carefully with guidance from State and County Health Officials.
The Governor’s announcement today makes it clear that our decision to continue with Virtual Learning was the right decision for our students and staff. Our goal is to return to In-Person Learning, but we will make that transition when it is clearly safe to do so.
We are so fortunate to have the technology and comprehensive training and support we need to provide a truly high quality virtual education for our students. Without a doubt, we could not do this without our talented and dedicated staff.
Thank you all for all that you do to support our students and families.
Frank Donavan, Ed.D.
Superintendent Update #6, 8/3/20
We continue planning for the 2020-21 school year. We will be opening school on August 31st with Virtual Learning (Distance Learning). Both State and County guidelines require us to begin school with Virtual Learning. There continues to be 33 counties on the State Watch List. School districts in those counties cannot open for Blended or In Person Learning. As per the California Department of Public Health, those school districts on the State Watch List can open for Blended and/or In Person Learning when their COVID-19 Case Rates drop below 100 per 100,000 people or their Case Rates drop below 25 per 100,000 people and Testing Positivity is below 8%.
We have developed a comprehensive School Reopening Plan and Timeline for implementation that is posted on our website. This plan is based on our four Guiding Principles of Safety, Science, Staff Support and Student Learning. Teachers will have the option of providing Virtual Learning from their classrooms or their homes. For those staff members that will be reporting to their job sites we have implemented safety protocols including face coverings (required), social distancing, touchless hand sanitizers, frequent sanitizing of work areas, plexiglass barriers, and daily health screenings for all employees.
All students will have access to Chromebooks or other digital devices and we will also make sure that all students have access to Wi-Fi. We will be offering comprehensive Professional Development including a newly designed MSD Online Professional Learning webpage containing many videos and guides for teachers. On August 25th and 26th staff will be provided with training on key curriculum and technology tools for Virtual Learning. “Learning Launch” units have been prepared for every grade level to support the first six weeks of instruction in reading, writing and English Language Development.
We will be refining our Parent Portal so that parents can view test scores through AERIES online, which will also enable parents to register their children for school via this online format. The online AERIES platform for parents will also provide information about Virtual Learning schedules and other important and useful information. We will continue with our Grab and Go meal program for all students and we are in the process of trying to bring back our Supper Program so that our students have access to dinner as well as breakfast and lunch.
Through our partnership with the Tiger Woods Center, now called TGR, students in grades 4, 5 and 6 will be receiving live, virtual science and physical education classes. Science classes will include engaging and high interest topics such as marine science and alternative energy. Physical education will include golf and fitness. All classes will take place during the school day and will be 12 weeks in length.
We continue to work on the actual scheduling of Virtual Learning. Included in our School Reopening Plan is a daily schedule that includes teachers splitting their classes in half and teaching half of their students during one daily session and the other half of their students during a second daily session. When students are not being taught Virtually by their teachers they will be participating in a Structured Learning Environment that will consist of many different programs such as I-Ready, ST Math, Music, Physical Education and many other programs. The daily schedule will be gone over in detail when staff members return to work either virtually or in person.
We know that once we are able to have students return for Blended or In Person Learning there will be many parents that are not ready to have their children physically return to school. We will have two options for those families including a continuation of Virtual Learning or a Homeschooling Program.
The information and guidance regarding the reopening of schools continues to change. We prepared three different School Reopening Plans for August 31st. We were prepared to open for In Person, Blended or Virtual Learning. We are prepared to open Virtually and then move to Blended or In Person when we are allowed to do so.
To say this is a challenge would be an understatement, but I know that all of you are up for the challenge. We will continue to be the exemplary school district that we have always been, and the Magnolia School District will continue to be A Great Place to Make a Difference!
Frank Donavan, Ed.D.
Superintendent Update #5, 7/17/20
Our Board of Trustees met on July 16, 2020 to discuss the reopening of schools. During the meeting the Board gave me permission to develop a plan to begin our school year with Distance Learning.
We have been working on three different school reopening plans for several months and one of our plans includes Distance Learning. Our next steps will be to finalize a comprehensive plan with input from stakeholders from both certificated and classified staff. We will then submit the plan to our Board for their consideration.
Please understand that the discussion at our Board Meeting last night was a discussion, not action. This means that we were deciding upon a direction to take and that direction is Distance Learning. The way we provide Distance Learning will vary depending on grade levels and the needs of our students. We will keep you posted on the progress of the plan.
On July 17, 2020 Governor Newsom issued a School Reopening Plan. Under the Governor's Plan all counties that are on a watch list due to high rates of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are required to begin school with Distance Learning. There are 33 out of 58 counties on that list including Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Imperial counties. All schools in the identified 33 counties, including public, private and charter, will be required to begin school via Distance Learning. School districts can be removed from the watch list when the cases of COVID-19 go down for fourteen straight days and obtain approval by the County Public Health Department (Orange County Health Care Agency). School districts can also be closed if their cases of COVID-19 increase. If schools that are open experience an increase of 5% that school will be closed, and if a school district that is open experiences an increase of 25% that school district will be closed. This means that schools and school districts that are currently closed could be reopened and then closed again, which is why we all need to follow the rules to wipe out this horrendous virus.
We all have many questions and we all want answers. Unfortunately, for many questions we do not yet have answers. However, we will do our best to keep everyone informed on current information. Please understand that the news changes daily. We had no direction on closing or opening schools from the State or our County Public Health Office, but today that changed. We now have an order from our Governor and in that order our County Public Health Department is required to make a determination regarding when we can have students safely return to In-Person Learning.
As I stated at our Board Meeting on July 16, we will continue to be exemplary. We will continue to be a model school district with high expectations, rigorous academics, effective use of technology, high quality professional development, nutritious food, safe and clean campuses, and talented, dedicated and resilient staff.
If anyone can rise to this challenge it's us!
Please relax and know that we will make sure students, teachers and staff have the support and resources they need to have a great 2020-21 school year.
Frank Donavan, Ed.D.
Superintendent Update #4, 6/10/20
Dear Staff and Community Members,
Thank you all for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. As you know, we are dealing with a pandemic that requires guidance from our health care leaders. Guidance for schools to safely reopen has been nonexistent until the past few days, and the guidance that did come out has a lot of unanswered questions. On June 5th, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released the following document: https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-schools.pdf
The cover of the CDPH guidance document includes the following statement:
"All guidance should be implemented only with county health officer approval following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 population, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing, and testing."
As you may have heard on the news, our county public health department, the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) has had two directors resign within the last month; furthermore, we have received no guidance from them whatsoever. We have reached out to them on numerous occasions, and the Orange County Superintendents organization has also reached out to them. Even though we know of cases where people in our area have the Coronavirus, we have had no communication from OCHCA on “contact tracing” even when we have requested them to investigate reports of individuals who may have or have been exposed to the Coronavirus.
In an effort to let our community and public know about the lack of direction from our health care leaders, I voiced my concerns to a reporter from the Orange County Register. Below is a link to the article: https://www.ocregister.com/2020/06/08/reopening-schools-state-guidance-includes-face-coverings-a-whole-new-look-for-classrooms/
On June 8th the California Department of Education (CDE) released a guidance document, “Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools.” This guidance requires schools to provide social distancing of six feet for staff and students, and the wearing of masks or face shields for all students and staff.
However, the mandate of approval to open schools from our county public health agency is still required by the CDPH as stated above. There are many other requirements included in the CDE guidance document. Below is a link to the document: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/documents/strongertogether.pdf
What does all this mean for the Magnolia School District, and do we have a plan to reopen our schools?
This means that we need to get approval from health care officials to safely reopen our schools, and we are working on plans for three different scenarios to open our schools.
We currently have two stakeholder groups working on our plans. One group is comprised of certificated employees and the other is comprised of classified employees. Our work in developing our plans to reopen schools will be based on the following four guiding principles:
- Safety: The safety of our students, staff and community will guide our work. Students will return to school campuses when we have developed safe environments, strategies and protocols that ensure the safety of students, staff and community members.
- Science: Information on the spread of the Coronavirus and the number of cases in our area changes on a daily basis. We will look to the most up-to-date information and to our health care officials for guidance and approval of our plans.
- Staff Support: Increased support for our staff to provide quality instruction through these challenging times is of utmost importance. We will identify and provide the training, support and resources they need to teach our students.
- Student Learning: The three guiding principles above, Safety, Science and Staff Support, will set the conditions for student learning. We will need to continue to be innovative, creative, persistent and flexible so that we continue to address the needs of our students.
What might school look like this fall?
Our first day of school for students is August 31st. This gives us more than two months to prepare for different possibilities. We have identified three different possible models:
- In-Person Learning: Under this model students and staff would return to school. This decision would be based on our four guiding principles and approval from health care officials. We would ensure that all safety protocols are in place and followed.
- Blended Learning: This model would include both In-Person Learning on a modified schedule and At-Home Learning. This decision would be based on our four guiding principles and approval from health care officials. We would ensure all safety protocols are in place and followed.
- At-Home Learning: Under this model we would continue to provide Distance Learning options. We will fine-tune the way instruction is provided and the way students respond to that instruction. We will also provide high-quality training and professional development for our teachers and staff members.
Which option above is most likely to occur in the fall?
At this time the most likely option is At-Home Learning; however, this decision has not yet been made and our goal is to get students back to school as soon as it is safe to do so. We will be sending out updates over the summer regarding the work of the stakeholder groups and we will continue to proactively seek guidance from our health care officials. New information regarding the Coronavirus is continuously being released, and using our four guiding principles we are hopeful that we will develop a safe model to have students return to In-Person Learning soon.
We understand that once schools do reopen for Blended Learning and/or In-Person Learning, there could be parents/guardians who still have safety concerns and may not want to send their children to school. We will have two additional options. We will be opening a Virtual Academy and a Homeschooling option. Both of these programs will be open to all students and families.
Will technology continue to be provided to our students?
We have been a “one-to-one” school district for many years. This means each student has their own Chromebook or digital device to use for learning. We will continue to ensure that all students have access to these devices. Our Technology Department takes pride in ensuring that students and staff have access to the technology they need to teach and learn.
In closing, I would like to sincerely thank our staff, students, parents, guardians and community members for their hard work, dedication, flexibility and understanding as we navigate this temporary normal. We will get through this. Students and staff will get back to school as soon as it is safe to do so. We continue to be an exemplary school district with exemplary staff and students. We continue to be at the forefront of elementary education. We will continue to provide rigorous academics with high expectations, the use of technology and an innovative focus on all students.
Frank Donavan, Ed.D.
Superintendent Update #3, 4/3/20
April 3, 2020
Dear Magnolia School District Parents, Guardians and Staff,
On April 1, 2020, Governor Newsom and Orange County Department of Education Superintendent Mijares recommended keeping schools closed to students for the remainder of the school year due to safety concerns related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In response to these statements, and in consensus with our Board of Trustees, it was determined that in order to stay safe we will extend the closure of our schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Although schools will be closed to the public, At-Home Learning Plans, online instruction and student work packets will continue to be provided through the last day of school, June 11, 2020. All schools and Online and At Home Learning will be closed for our scheduled Spring Break, April 10-17, 2020. Our talented teachers will continue to provide Online and At-Home Learning before and after Spring Break. We ask that our parents/guardians remind their children to do the following:
- Complete assignments/activities on At Home Learning plans and as assigned by teachers
- Reach out to teachers with any questions
- Make use of our student learning resources page for fun online learning activities at www.magnoliasd.org
- Read and write as much as possible
- Wash hands frequently, do not touch face/eyes/mouth, cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, practice social distancing
- Check our website for regular updates www.magnoliasd.org
We are saddened that the end of the school year will not look like what we had planned. We realize this means we will no longer hold end-of-the-year activities as we have done for the past 125 years. We are working on alternative ways to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and staff. It is difficult to think that we can no longer hug our friends and gather in crowds; however, we make these social distancing sacrifices to keep ourselves, and our loved ones safe, and to save lives. The 2019-2020 school year will be remembered for many things. We hope it will be remembered for a time when we all came together during difficult circumstances to place “family and others first.”
Stay strong, stay healthy, stay safe and please stay home,
Frank Donavan, Ed.D.
Superintendent Update #2, 3/19/20
The following is an important update regarding the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19:
In order to continue our safety measures to prevent the potential spread of the Coronavirus, all schools in the Magnolia School District will remain closed through April 17th. If this date is extended we will contact you immediately.
We are working closely with multiple agencies including the California Department of Education, Orange County Department of Education, and the Orange County Health Care Agency to do everything we can to keep our students, staff and community safe.
Our schools and district office will not be open to the public during this time; however, parents can pick-up or drop off necessary materials and information during each school's designated hours or between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM at the district office. We ask that you contact us during these hours by telephone.
We will continue to post information on our website so please check frequently for important updates.
We will continue to provide At Home Learning opportunities, and Grab and Go Meal services at all of our schools.
Superintendent Update #1, 3/15/20
Dear Magnolia School District Families,
The health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. With that in mind, an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees was convened Friday evening, March 13th, 2020. The Board provided direction authorizing me to take all appropriate action to respond to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Out of an abundance of caution, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, and with guidance from local, state, and federal health experts, students will be dismissed from school beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. To date, there are NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Magnolia Elementary School District or any other districts in Orange County. We will be providing additional communication should it become necessary to extend school closures beyond this time. This is not an easy decision and not one that was taken lightly. The closing of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instructional time.
Federal, state, and local health agencies advise that students should stay home and minimize social contact as much as possible to keep caregivers and adult family members safe. While children have not been shown to be at high-risk for serious illness from COVID-19, these steps are critically important in supporting public health as children can transmit the virus to those that are most vulnerable.
Our District is taking the following steps to provide support to our families:
- All students were sent home with At-Home learning materials on Friday, March 13. We will be providing additional At-Home learning updates and resources as they are developed.
- At-Home Learning plans may be accessed digitally by visiting www.magnoliasd.org/apps/pages/homelearning
- Families can also use our regular MSD technology resources available by visiting http://students.magnoliasd.org
ACCESS TO MEALS
Starting Tuesday, March, 17, the District will be providing school meals at all nine schools so that students have access to breakfast and lunch during the two weeks that school is closed. Meals will be provided through a drive-up/walk-up service where students may take their meals to-go during the following time periods:
- Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 AM
- Lunch: 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
The menus will be available on the Food Services website at https://www.magnoliasd.org/menus/ There is no registration required but children must be present to receive a meal.
ACCESS TO INTERNET
Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/ or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. More information about Internet Access can be found by http://www.magnoliasd.org/internet-access/
We will continue to send updates to families via phone and web messages on any developments that may impact student attendance at school. This information will also be posted on the district website, www.magnoliasd.org.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and our entire district staff, I thank each of you for your patience and trust as we all work together through this unprecedented public health crisis.
The Orange County Health Care Agency on Monday, February 3 published a new infographic with some basic facts
The one-pager, explains how it’s spread, what symptoms are associated with the illness, and what steps you can take to protect yourself from airborne respiratory diseases.
Food Distribution Resources
COVID-19 Operations Written Report
Orange County Healthier TogetherClick Here
CHOC's COVID19 Telephone Advice Line
CDC's Tips to Keep Children Healthy While School's Out:
City of Anaheim Updates
Child Care and Student Supervision
Due to coronavirus (COVID 19), children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school will get extra food benefits. These food benefits are called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT benefits. P-EBT benefits help families in California buy food when school is closed.