You may have seen news stories this week about the state’s new guidance for schools regarding COVID-19 and the 2021-22 school year. Pasadena Unified School District will be sending more information as we get closer to the start of school.
Meanwhile, here is a quick update:
Back to School: School begins in PUSD on Thursday, Aug. 12. Classes will be full-time and in-person, five days a week. Learning will take place on campus. According to the California Department of Public Health, in-person instruction can occur safely when prevention strategies are implemented. PUSD has a robust set of safety measures already in place and will comply with the state’s public health requirements for schools. We continue to work closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD).
Masks: All students and staff are required to wear masks at all times when indoors, unless exempted. At this time, masks are optional outdoors when physical distancing is possible. Schools will provide masks for students who don’t have them.
Vaccines: For the health and safety of all members of our school communities, we encourage everyone to be vaccinated. The vaccine is now available to everyone 12 years and older. PUSD Health Programs staff is continuing to work with the PPHD and L.A. County Department of Public Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to PUSD students and staff. For information regarding upcoming clinics, please see myturn.ca.gov/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Start Times: In an early adoption of new state law, PUSD middle and high schools will start the school day later. Middle schools will start at 8:15 a.m. and high schools at 8:30 a.m. Elementary schools will return to pre-pandemic schedules of 7:50 a.m. or 8:45 a.m., depending on each school’s 2021-22 schedules.
Independent Study Option: State guidance is still in development about independent study policies and options. In anticipation of final guidance, we’re working on a virtual independent study option for students who may prefer to remain at home in the fall. We will share more information with you as soon as possible.
New State Law AB 104:
On July 1, Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 104 requiring school districts to implement policies that give students opportunities to counteract the negative impact of the pandemic on academic achievement and graduation credits.
The new state law, which is effective immediately, includes options that include changing low grades to a pass or no pass option, taking an extra year of high school, and waiving local district graduation requirements that exceed the state credit and course minimums for students who were juniors or seniors in the 2020-21 school year. PUSD will provide many options for accelerating learning, tutoring, and individual support. Under the new law, families may also formally request their school to allow their child to repeat the grade. We will send you specific information in the next few weeks.
We’re looking forward to welcoming students, employees and families to the new school year!
By Brian McDonald, PUSD Superintendent