BUSD Releases Initial Plans for Fall Instruction

The Burbank Unified School District’s Reopening Committee remained hard at work before and after the July 4 holiday and has unveiled its overview for the upcoming school year.
The committee comprising board of education members, district staff, teachers and administrators released a detailed plan of its much-discussed hybrid model, which calls for students’ instruction to be partly on site and partly distance learning. Families will also have the option of full distance learning if they have health safety concerns. In fact, the hybrid model could be shelved and distance learning for all students could be instituted if COVID-19 pandemic conditions so dictate.
Guidelines from the state, Los Angeles County and Centers for Disease Control were taken into consideration during development of the reopening plan. School is scheduled to open on Monday, Aug. 17.
Four areas on which the committee focused were instruction, social and emotional learning, operations, and family and community engagement.
In a survey released in June, nearly 75% of parents at all levels were interested in a hybrid model, but the results also revealed that most were concerned about appropriate education and enrichment, balancing work and supporting a child and safety.
Should health orders allow students to return to campus, the district would implement a morning and afternoon schedule to minimize safety risks and maintain social distancing.
Under the hybrid model, students would receive on-site instruction four days per week and have one full day of distance learning. The district will distribute Chromebooks and provide internet and tech support for any student in need.
At the elementary level, which extends through 5th grade, there would be morning classes from 8:10-10:45 a.m., with afternoon attendees going from 12:10-2:45 p.m.
Transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students would receive 140 minutes of on-site instruction and 40 online. First through 3rd grade would have an additional 50 minutes of distance learning and 4th- and 5th-graders are scheduled to have 100 minutes of online instruction.
According to the plan, middle schoolers would have three periods of classes from 8-11:04 a.m. Monday-Thursday. Afternoon students would be in from 11:56 a.m.-3 p.m. They will receive four hours of daily instruction, including 66 minutes online.
High school students will also have 240 minutes of daily instruction, 60 of which will be done online. Morning attendees would have three periods from 8-11:04 a.m., and the afternoon schedule runs from 11:56 a.m.-3 p.m. Zero period will be at 7 a.m. and seventh period is at 3 p.m.
Grades will be assigned in accordance with the BUSD policy, which decrees standards-based marks for elementary students and letter grades for secondary pupils. The district had opted to go with credit/no credit grading last spring after campuses shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. District officials, who had receiving backlash from parents who worried that the grading policy would affect high school students applying to college, defended their decision on the grounds that they had to resort to a “crisis model.”
The cafeteria will be closed, so there will not be any food sold on a daily basis. Each school will distribute via drive-thru or walk-up five days’ worth of nutrition to families who receive food services. The first day of food pickup will be on Friday, Aug. 14.
Each site will have a consistent supply of personal protective equipment, and custodial staff will clean and disinfect rooms, health offices and high-touch areas throughout the day.
Clear signs will be posted at each school with specific entrances and exits to remind students and staff of health safety. No walk-in visitors will be allowed. An appointment will have to be made.
The mental and emotional health of students was an important topic for the board when reopening was discussed in previous meetings. According to the plans, school counseling will be available on site if health orders allow students to return to campus. However, the committee encourages students to instead have a virtual meeting with a counselor, to keep them and personnel as safe as possible.
The details of distance learning models are currently under development and being negotiated with the Burbank Teachers Association.
Daily attendance will be recorded in distance learning based on participation in virtual meetings and submission of completed work.
The district’s reopening plan for 100% distance learning indicates that live or recorded instruction will be provided to students at all levels based on the core curriculum. Students in grades 7-12 will also have access to a fully digital curriculum provided by Apex Learning.
For more information about reopening, child care options and health guidelines, visit the district’s website at burbankusd.org.