• An Afircan American person smiling

      PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald (Photo – pusd.us)

      Brian McDonald, Pasadena Unified School District’s Superintendent has sent a letter informing the community of planning for the return to in-person learning.

      By News Desk

      Here’s the letter to the community in its entirety:

      In planning for the return to in-person learning, we’ve been guided by a commitment to the safety and well-being of our students and staff.

      I’m going to get right to the point: I have recommended to the Board of Education that we return to in-person learning no earlier than January 11, when the second semester begins. This recommendation is grounded in the need to keep our students and staff safe while ensuring that students get the best possible instruction.

      Safety and Consistency

      We want to keep instruction consistent for our students and staff. We have watched as colleges and schools opened only to close again within days because of COVID-19 cases.  The combination of COVID-19 and the normal flu season also concerns me. We simply have to get better control of the pandemic.

      Simultaneous Learning

      With regard to our return to in-person learning, we are also exploring a simultaneous learning model. Instead of separate in-person and fully online programs, the simultaneous model keeps classes intact, whether students return to campus or choose to stay online. This way, students keep access to our programs like dual language and Advanced Placement (AP).  Starting in January gives us time to acquire and test equipment and train teachers and staff before students return to their campuses.

      Phased Return

      Our return to campus will be phased. We are now in Phase 2 of our process, with the LEARNs supervised care for open for some students. In the next several weeks, we will offer in-person specialized support for small groups of English learners and eligible students with disabilities.

      Once we get clearance from the Pasadena Department of Public Health, we will begin moving towards reopening in January, starting with Transitional Kindergarten through 2nd grade, followed by 3rd-5th grade, middle school, and finally, high school. Again, January 11 is our target but is subject to changing circumstances.

      Safety Measures

      We have to ensure that all safety measures are in place before students and staff return. Our teams are busy installing and testing safety measures and protocols. We are considering thermal cameras and UV devices, and testing them on our campuses.

      Student Voices

      A couple of weeks ago, PUSD co-hosted a community forum with City leaders to hear from high school students about the issues that concern them. I had an opportunity to hear their input regarding when they thought we should come back to in-person learning. Their thoughtful responses were impressive and had a great influence on my recommendation to the Board that we begin the return in January.

      Measure O

      Finally, I want to tell you about Measure O, the general obligation bond on the November 3 ballot. If approved by voters, Measure O would provide funding to make sure that students have up to date technology and internet access. It would allow us to repair and improve our campuses. Please check our website at pusd.us/measureO for more information.

      Thank you. Stay healthy and stay safe.


      Brian McDonald, Ed.D.


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      1. Kathy Johnson says:

        He’s not the final arbiter on that one. How we all protect ourselves for the sake of everyone will determine what happens with pandemic.

      2. Sylvia Salas says:

        Don’t get your hopes up parents. Did you listen to his announcement? They plan to gradually phase in students in younger grade levels and high risk students. It sounds as if the high schoolers will be the last to get to go in person. Let’s see if they are properly prepared this time around. Hopefully the Teachers union doesn’t continue to fight in person Instruction until the end of the school year.

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