By Matthew Duffy, superintendent of the West Contra Costa Unified School District
The school year ends in four weeks. Time has flown by as we have tried to deal with the impact of transitioning to a learning from home model. Everyone has been affected by the shelter-in-place orders due to the COVID-19 public health emergency in some way, but one of the most impacted groups are the seniors in the Class of 2020.
What should have been a spring of special memories and memorable events has been replaced by virtual classes and online gatherings. It was our hope that we would be able to acknowledge and celebrate the Class of 2020 by holding some type of in-person event such as graduation by appointment or holding car-based ceremonies. Sadly, we will not be able to do in-person events this year. Instead, the Class of 2020 will be celebrated in virtual graduation ceremonies.
As we worked through options to celebrate high school graduations, we took into account several factors including direction and guidelines from the county health department, input from local police agencies, and time and safety considerations. Ultimately, we have made the decision that logistically and for the safety of the community we are not able to do this for current graduations. I know this is disappointing and is not the outcome we wanted for this year’s seniors.
We are not alone. Many high schools throughout the country and all of the high schools in the other large Bay Area school districts (Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco), will also hold virtual graduation ceremonies. I know this is not an easy time and we want to make sure that health and safety is our number one priority. We will find a way for the senior class to get together when the health regulations allow us to do so safely.
I want to acknowledge the courage, patience and fortitude that has been displayed by the Class of 2020 during these trying and challenging times. They have handled this new reality with a grace and understanding that will serve them well as they begin their post high school lives.
As we get closer to the end of the school year, I hope that you and your students are becoming more accustomed to the routine of learning from home. We are all learning new things about distance learning and continuing to improve how students receive instruction and master the materials without in-person meetings.
As we learn, we want to share those lessons with families. To do so, we have started a weekly WCCUSD Family Hour where District staff leads workshops for families/parents on Distance Learning every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. in English and from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. in Spanish. You can access the workshops via Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/97370120562.
Please remember, if you have any questions about Distance Learning, you should contact your child’s teacher or principal first. If you need additional support, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call (510) 965-4444 for additional information or (510) 965-4443 to receive information in Spanish.
Thank you again for your continued trust, patience and understanding.
This announcement was posted to the WCCUSD website.