May 19, 2020
Dear Bonita Unified Community,
This spring, our communities came together to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home and shuttering our schools, businesses, and parks. The collective response from everyone has been nothing short of amazing. It is clear how much our staff and community care for our 10,000 students. I want to thank everyone, once again, for their tireless efforts and acts of empathy, understanding, and care.
Throughout this dismissal, there has been a lot of information for all of us to consider. We find ourselves trying to create a complete picture after evaluating the accuracy of the news we receive, and it’s difficult. My communication today is intended to give you a glimpse at what we are working on in Bonita Unified. We want to be as transparent as possible with all stakeholders and give you accurate information as soon as we have it. We are using this information to plan and, eventually, to implement our programs.
Below is a status report on where we are with several programs in the district:
We know that this is the major topic of discussion throughout the country, the state, and in our communities of La Verne and San Dimas. It is important to understand that Bonita Unified must follow all executive orders from Governor Newsom and all regulations from the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.
The state has identified that schools can reopen in Phase III of the overall reopening process, albeit with social distancing protocols in place. It is important to note, at this time, Los Angeles County is not fully engaged in Phase II. The reopening of schools must align with a series of health standards set by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. We do not anticipate Phase III orders for several weeks. Understandably, this makes planning for the 2020/21 school year very difficult for our students, parents, and staff.
Bonita Unified is considering multiple scenarios/structures for the next school year. As with so much else during this health crisis, our blueprint for reopening is an evolving plan with built-in flexibility for students. It is, indeed, a work in progress.
We have received some questions related to online/distance learning for students who are unable or do not want to attend school in-person next year. We understand the need for online/distance learning for some students, so we are working on a robust online/distance learning option that will be available in the fall. More details regarding the online/distance learning program will be forthcoming over the summer break.
With respect to opening our schools in the fall for the 2020/21 school year, unfortunately, we are not able to provide specifics until Phase III orders are released. Any information we provide now would be based on speculation. There are several questions that the Los Angeles County Public Health Department will need to answer in order for school districts to proceed in solidifying plans for face-to-face instruction.
Once we have the information required to develop the plans, we will communicate it to all stakeholders and seek parent/student input before we move forward. We appreciate your understanding, and also know that you join us in wanting more information from the Public Health Department ensuring our schools are safe when we do reopen.
Los Angeles County Public Health Orders do not permit in-person or drive-thru graduations at this time. We are aware of other school districts outside of Los Angeles County that are having drive-thru ceremonies, subject to their respective county orders. We understand the disappointment but remain committed to community health. We are celebrating our Senior Class of 2020 with virtual celebrations. While this is not what any of us had hoped for, we are making every effort to show our graduates they are special. We continue to encourage you to find meaningful ways to celebrate them as well.
School Age Care (SAC) Summer Camp
School Age Care summer camp has been canceled for this summer. Despite our best efforts to accommodate, the camp cannot move forward under the current social distancing guidelines. We will provide further information on the SAC programs for the 2020/21 school year during the summer break.
We will continue meal service over the summer.
Beginning June 8th, our curbside free lunch service will have new distribution times. We will serve two meals (breakfast and lunch) from 9 to 11 a.m., Monday through Thursday. Thursday’s meal service will have four meals (including Friday’s meals). Items will be individually wrapped and ready to heat and/or serve with instructions. As a reminder, free meals are for all children ages 0 to18, and they do not have to be enrolled in Bonita USD.
Meal service locations are the same: Central Kitchen (behind Chaparral High School), 121 W. Allen Ave., San Dimas, and Roynon Elementary School, 2715 E. St., La Verne.
As always, our priority is the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and community before all other considerations. We remain steadfast in our mission to prepare all students to live their purpose.
On behalf of the Board of Education, thank you for your patience, partnership, and support as we navigate these unprecedented challenges together. Please stay informed by reading emails from your principals, checking the district and school websites, and following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Carl J. Coles