MVUSD board hears update on in-person specialized programs

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The Murrieta Valley Unified School District Board of Education heard from staff about the latest update plans and progress related to specialized in-person services for students in the district during the board meeting Thursday, Sept. 10. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Before the Thursday, Sept. 10, meeting of the Murrieta Valley Unified School District Board of Education began, the board announced that during the closed session, they discussed superintendent Patrick Kelley’s performance evaluation and took no action on the subject.

The board also adopted a resolution denouncing racism and supporting equity, safety and well-being of all students reported on in a separate story by Valley News.

The board heard the latest update plans and progress related to specialized in-person services for students that have been authorized by public health officials.

“The conditions change so very quickly,” Kelley told the board. “Since our last meeting, the governor once against the system when it comes to evaluating when our schools can reopen. So this is probably going to remain as a standing presentation just so that we can give you as well as the public the latest information we have in regards to opening up.”

Kelley shared the various types of services that have been talked about around the state and within the school district.

The presentation began by discussing one in-person service the district offers that has already begun. The MVUSD Child Development Center opened Aug. 31 and currently has 41 students attending ages 18 months to 4 years old.

“Along the way and prior to reopening, we engaged with regular communication with staff, union leaders, district leaders and families,” Kathleen Israelsen, director of family service for MVUSD, said. “Our reopening plan is based on public health guidelines and community care licensing regulations, as well as valuable feedback from our families and staff.”

Staff also provided an update on preschool special education assessments planned for Sept. 8.

Due to health and safety guidelines, the district wasn’t able to hold those events but received word that those activities could take place soon after protocols are in place and staff is trained.

According to Kelley, athletic directors from area schools decided to allow athletic workouts in small group settings, Sept. 9.

“Under current guidelines, athletes are now allowed to train and condition, as long as physical distancing of at least 6 feet from a stable cohort that limits the risk of transmission is maintained,” David Bell said. “At this time, training can only occur outdoors and sports teams cannot use any equipment. This is only for our high schools with CIF sports at this time.”

Howard Dimler, executive director of student support for MVUSD, talked about plans for bringing in students for special education and english learner assessments, which were planned for Sept. 14.

Staff also reported on child care services for elementary-age students that is planning to begin Sept. 21, for teachers and staff within the district and in-person special education small cohort instruction, planned to begin Sept. 28.

Kelley talked about elementary school and K-12 waiver applications in regard to the current conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our staff is working to figure out what is the best thing we can do under our current authorized guidelines of what’s allowable to do this in a safe, appropriate way for all stakeholders,” he said.

Zhanna Preston, executive director of special education, talked about difficulties for special education students in utilizing virtual learning and bringing some of those students back to campuses at the end of September.

The board also approved the consent calendar that included the ratification of the report of purchases and warrants issued, the disposal of obsolete and unusable materials, and an agreement with Concordia University that will allow students to complete their fieldwork in the Murrieta Valley Unified School District.

The board also approved the personnel report, a memorandum of understanding between the district and California School Employees Association Chapter 223, authorized the employment of a speech pathologist, approved the assigned middle and high school teachers to teach in a departmentalized classroom and authorized credentialed teachers to teach physical education one period per day.

The board adopted the new board policy regarding equity and heard from educational services staff members who presented information regarding the 2020-2021 Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan.

A public hearing was held regarding the proposed adoption of a resolution pertaining to pupil textbooks and instructional materials compliance for the 2020-2021 school year, which was approved by the board.

The board also approved peer assistance and to review consulting teachers and teacher induction program mentors.

They adopted unanimously the 2019-2020 unaudited actuals financial statement, a resolution of appropriations due, and a resolution to establish a district Gann Limit for this fiscal year.

The board approved change orders for interior lighting at seven school sites at a cost of $30, 871, reviewed an actuarial study of retiree health liabilities and Associated Student Body financial reports for the quarter that ended June 30.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.