October 2, 2020
Dear Bonita Unified Community,
The students and staff of Bonita Unified School District continue to accomplish great things across our District – such as earning merit awards, providing free meals to families, hosting virtual drama productions, and finding new and innovative ways to connect in the virtual world. As superintendent, I continue to be amazed at how resourceful, creative, and most importantly, how kind our students, parents, staff, and community members have been in order to uplift, inspire, and support those in need.
There is no doubt that we will continue to face a myriad of challenges in the near future. However, I also have no doubt that when this pandemic is over, and it will end, we will all be stronger because of your support and love for our school district.
Bonita Unified is hard at work preparing multiple contingency plans for the eventual return of our 10,000 students. This letter contains some updates/status reports regarding students on campus and student support.
At this time, there are three groups of students permitted to be on campus per the Los Angeles County Health Orders: day-care students, student-athletes, and students with Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) and/or English Language Learners. Information regarding each group follows:
1. We know how important child-care is to some families, so on the first day of school, we were able to offer 360 spots for grades TK-8 at ten school sites. Every family that was in need of this service was provided a spot, and we have approximately 200 students participating in child-care through our School-Aged Care program.
2. Starting this month, student-athletes at both Bonita and San Dimas High Schools will be able to return to campus for athletic conditioning/training for Fall sports in pods of 10 or fewer students.
3. Students with an IEP and English Language Learners are permitted to be on campus for face-to-face instruction in learning pods of 12 or fewer students equaling no more than 10% of the student population. We are currently designing a program that would allow both students and staff to meet after school for face-to-face instruction to supplement distance learning. On-campus instruction for these groups is purely supplemental to the online curriculum and will act as additional support for these students. We are hopeful to have this available within the next few weeks. More information will be forthcoming, so please be on the lookout for additional updates.
Additionally, as you may be aware, on September 29th, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a plan to give public school districts and private schools the ability to apply for waivers, which would allow for the re-opening of campuses for students in second grade and below. The details of this new authorization are not fully developed. However, based on what we do understand, only a limited number of schools per week will be granted a waiver, and schools in low-income communities will receive priority. The District will spend the next several weeks deciphering the information and working with stakeholders with respect to the new waiver process.
While Los Angeles County continues in the Purple Tier, the most restrictive level, schools are still under strict orders to remain closed unless otherwise noted in this letter. With that said, we also understand the enormous impact distance learning has had on some of our students and staff. In order to continue with our efforts to support students with their distance learning, all 3rd grade through 12th grade students will have access to an online tutoring service available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Bonita USD is excited to announce that we have partnered with the Paper Education Company to provide this tutoring service. Paper Education Company is an online platform/chat-based tutoring service with unlimited access to live educators in both English and Spanish. It provides access to elementary through high school content in remediation and accelerated pathways. Your child’s school will be sending more information on this exciting new program within the next few weeks.
In closing, we miss our students. We want them back on our 13 campuses as soon as it is permissible and safe to do so. However, please understand that in order to bring back 10,000 students and 1,100 employees, it takes time. The health and safety of students, their families, staff, and the communities of San Dimas and La Verne will remain at the forefront of any decision. As new information is released at the County and State levels, please know that we will not hastily react, but rather go through a process of collaboration, transparency, and in-depth planning before any new action will be taken.
I want to thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate these uncertain times. On behalf of the Board of Education, we appreciate all you have done and all you are doing to support the education of students and for joining us in our mission to prepare every student to live their purpose.
Carl J. Coles