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July 10, 2020

Dear Downey Unified Families,

I hope you are safe and well. The disruption to all of our lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been profound and I know you have been anticipating details regarding Downey Unified’s plan for reopening in August. As shared previously, we were expecting the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) to publish their health directives for the return to school in June; unfortunately, these guidelines have still not been released. That being said, we feel for the 2020-2021 school year we have sufficient information necessary to project what our return to school would look like.

Having surveyed our parents/guardians first in June, we are now surveying our staff and this data will guide portions of the second Return to School survey that will be sent to you on Tuesday, July 14. In anticipation of this survey, we want to provide you with a comprehensive look at what August would look like for students.

Following the completion of the Return to School survey (July 14-July 17) parents/ guardians will be asked to complete the On-line Registration process (July 20-July 27) for each of their students. During this window, parents/guardians will be asked to select one of the two instructional models for the first semester which will last until December.

The school year will begin in August for students and the District’s two planned instructional models for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year are outlined below. As things are ever changing, LACDPH orders may require an adjustment and we are prepared to transition all students to Full-Time Distance Learning if necessary.

Return to School Options

Below are the two Return to School Models that will be offered in the survey (grade-specific schedules will be included to better assist your survey response).

Option 1: Hybrid Model

A blended model with In-person Instruction and Distance Learning Instruction following social distancing requirements.

  • Students assigned to a teacher(s) as in the past
  • Classes divided into Cohort A or Cohort B based by last name
    • Siblings will be kept in the same cohort
  • Cohorts attend in-person and at home on designated days
  • Cohorts not on campus for instruction participate in Distance Learning
  • Breaks, recess and lunch will be staggered to allow students to eat safely outdoors/indoors with appropriate social distancing
    • Students will not have access to playground structures or allowed to share playground equipment
  • Elementary, middle and high school schedules will be available in the upcoming survey

Option 2: Full-Time Distance Learning Model

100% Distance Learning Instruction

  • Full online Distance Learning curriculum will be implemented at all grade levels
  • All classroom instruction will be done online
  • This learning model will provide daily instruction by Downey Unified teachers
  • Students will be held accountable for attendance and grades
  • Robust curriculum based on State standards

We Are Downey UNIFIED

We are all in this together and our commitment to each other as members of the Downey Unified family has never been more evident and important. Before returning to school, all students and parents will be asked to fill out a set of commitments that will help us maintain a safer learning environment. These commitments will outline the required health and safety protocols and behavioral expectations for all students. Please see below for a complete list of safety protocols and procedures that will be implemented.

As a District, we are committed to keeping you informed and updated. We are respectfully asking that all parents/guardians complete our Return to School Survey which will be sent out on July 14. Your choices regarding the various options described above will help us anticipate staffing needs and make necessary adjustments. We ask that you complete this survey by July 17 and thank you in advance for your support.


John A. Garcia, Ph.D., Superintendent

Health and Safety Protocols for 2020-2021

The District will adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), California Department of Education (CDE), the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), and the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Based on guidelines provided by the above agencies, we have outlined a list of initial protocols that will be implemented.  All parents and students who choose to participate in the Hybrid Model will be required to sign a commitment and adhere to all safety protocols.

Social Distancing

Classroom Space:

The minimum social distancing between students’ workspaces, between educator and student workspaces, will be 6 feet. In most classrooms this will result in no more than 15 students.

No Shared Supplies:

Students will be provided with personal items and required not to share items such as pencils, pens and scissors.

Breaks, Recess and Lunch:

Staggered times will be implemented to allow for proper social distancing and limiting contacts. Students will not have access to playground structures or allowed to share playground equipment.  Lunch will be staggered to allow students to eat safely outdoors/indoors with appropriate social distancing.

One-Way Directions/Movement:

Movement through buildings will be one-way and maximize social distancing as feasible.  Directional markers, as well as social distancing markers will be used.

Multiple and Assigned Entry Points:

Campuses will have multiple entry/exit points to maximize social distancing.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Face Coverings:

The District will require the use of facial coverings for all students and staff in accordance with LACDPH guidelines currently in effect. The District will provide face coverings to students and staff upon request.

Students with special needs and program staff will be provided additional PPE as necessary.

Hand Washing:

Students, employees, and visitors will be required to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon entering District sites and classrooms.

Hand Sanitizer/Soap:

Every classroom and common areas (libraries, offices, etc…) will be provided with hand sanitizer that complies with CDC and Public Health guidelines.

Every room with a sink will be stocked with soap and additional handwashing stations have been made available at our secondary campuses.

All hand washing/hand sanitizing supplies noted above will be restocked as needed each day.

Other Health and Safety Issues

Daily Cleaning and Disinfecting:

At the end of the school day, the District will ensure that all classrooms, restrooms, and workspaces are cleaned and disinfected.

All staff and students will need to assist in safely cleaning workspaces throughout the day.

Wellness Self-Screening and Monitoring:

Prior to arriving at school, all students, teachers and staff will be required to take their own temperature and complete a wellness self-screening questionnaire each day. The expectation is that anyone who is sick will remain home for the protection and well being of others.

Visitors (i.e. parents/guardians) will be asked to complete a self-screen prior to entrance. Anyone who answers “yes” to the wellness screening questions will not be allowed on campus.

Students and staff that begin to demonstrate any COVID-19 related symptoms during the school day will be sent to a designated medical room/area on site to be evaluated.  Parents/guardians of students will be contacted and required to pick up their student as soon as possible.

Upon notification that an employee or student has been infected with COVID-19, the District will follow all LACDPH protocols.