Distance Learning to Start Fall 2020 in Sonoma County
All of us are eager to learn what the start of school will look like. As you are likely aware, the State of California’s approach to managing schools during COVID-19 has recently shifted.
Until recently, decisions regarding school openings were left to local school districts. However, in mid-July, Governor Newsom asserted state authority over school openings and mandated that all schools — public or private — in counties currently on the state’s watchlist must not only use distance learning, but must continue in distance learning mode until the county has been off the watchlist for 14 days. (Some of you may have heard that it is possible to apply for a waiver to conduct school in person. I confirmed that the Sonoma County Office of Education is only considering waivers for elementary schools at this time. We will continue to monitor developments.)
Sonoma County is currently on the watchlist, and the criteria to get off the watchlist are strict. In case you are interested, here are the California Department of Public Health’s criteria used for monitoring and determining watchlist status.
Distance Learning For Now
Because Sonoma County is currently on the watchlist, Quest Forward Academy begin the year using a distance learning model, as must all public and private schools per the state mandate. If and when Sonoma County is removed from the watchlist, we will start the 14 day countdown to implementing our hybrid learning approach, the Seamless Learning model. Until such time, we will continue with our distance learning only model.
Before the return to in-person, hybrid-style learning, we will communicate more specifically about safety protocols and procedures for students, parents, and staff. We will reach out to all parents to get your feedback regarding your student’s return to school. Our Seamless Learning model accommodates each family’s determination of what is best for their student.
We Are Ready
The mentors, staff, and students are developing start-of-school plans in a distance mode. The most important news is that whatever model we use in the fall, we are ready! We will have a continuity of expectations, class meeting times, and cohorts. Moreover, we are equipped to pivot quickly between hybrid and distance learning models without loss of learning days. As returning families experienced last spring, we are well-positioned to provide an excellent Quest Forward Academy education regardless of what comes our way.
Our motto for 2020-21: We got this! Personalized learning, engaging classes, community — we won’t allow COVID to take any of this away! The power of our community is profound.
For more on our approach to Seamless Learning, download the PDF or read my blog post.
Karen Kenkel, PhD, is the founding Director of Quest Forward Academy Santa Rosa. With over 30 years of experience in education administration and teaching in public and private schools, she wears many hats at Quest Forward Academy to ensure that students and mentors experience joyful learning in a nurturing environment.