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Flexible Learning Program

Flexible learning program faqs


At its public meeting on June 23, 2020, the Alameda Unified School District voted on the parameters for what instruction will look like for AUSD students in the 2020-21 school year. 

We know our families, students, and staff have many questions about the goals and logistics of these programs. We have tried to answer as many questions as we can here, but will be adding to this FAQ frequently throughout the summer. 




What are the two options for school in 2020-21? 

Families have a choice between a Flexible Learning Program and a Remote Learning Program. The Flexible Learning Program will entail half-day, on-campus, in-person instruction and asynchronous (at home) self-paced learning for the other half of the day. (This option will be available only if health officials allow students to be on campus.) The Remote Learning Program will be an entirely on-line program with which students will engage from home. (A separate FAQ on the Remote Learning Program is available here.)


What is the elementary school schedule for the Flexible Learning Program?

Under the approved schedule, small groups (maximum of 12) of elementary school students will be assigned to attend school in either the morning or afternoon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesdays, students will do “asynchronous” (independent) work, while teachers prepare their lessons and collaborate and custodians clean the campuses.


What are the middle and high school schedules in the Flexible Learning Schedule?

Small groups of middle (maximum size of 17) and high school students (maximum size of 18) likewise will be assigned to attend school in either the morning or afternoon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesdays, students will do “asynchronous” (independent) work, while teachers prepare their lessons and collaborate and custodians clean the campuses. Students will take three classes per 18-week semester, so that by the end of the school year they will have completed six courses. 


Why can’t our students go back to school full time? 

Currently we don’t believe AUSD students can return to our campuses full-time because of state and county health officials’ orders and guidelines around the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it would be nearly impossible for us to have all of our students on campus at the same time and still maintain the social distancing and appropriate cleaning schedules recommended by the state.


If there is a spike in COVID-19 cases, will AUSD go fully remote?

Yes. We are designing the Flexible Learning Program to enable us to convert to a a distance learning program if COVID-19 cases spike, and we are ordered or advised to suspend all in-class instruction.  


Will childcare be available for the times that students are not in class at school?

We are working with our childcare partners to determine how they can support families. We expect to have more information about that within a few weeks.


I have two children enrolled in AUSD. Can they be put on the same schedule?

The scheduling of classes for next year is going to be quite complex, and we do need to create classes that balance many different factors. We will do our best to accommodate these parent requests, but cannot yet guarantee that we’ll be able to keep siblings in all families on the same schedule. We will send a form about this to families in mid-July. This same form will let you ask to have your student in a certain “pod” or group, for afterschool considerations.


Students in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten already attend school for half days. What will their schedule be in the Flexible Learning Program? 

Students in TK and kindergarten will follow the same in-person  schedule that students in grades 1-5 do.  Asynchronous learning time (not in person with the teacher, but at home learning) will depend on development level and screen time recommendations by the World Health Organization.


Students in high school take some one-semester (half year) courses, such as Current Life and Economics. How long will those classes be now?

Those classes will now be one quarter instead of one semester.


Is the 2020-21 calendar going to stay the same?

AUSD is currently working with its labor partners on the calendar for 2020-21. We hope to have a final calendar by mid-July. We will publicize it widely as soon as it is approved by our Board of Education.


If there is a spike in COVID-19 cases, will AUSD go fully remote?

Yes. We are designing the Flexible Learning Program to enable us to convert to a a distance learning program if COVID-19 cases spike, and we are ordered or advised to suspend all in-class instruction. This program would not be exactly the same as the formal Remote Learning Program, however.


If the public health situation improves, will AUSD go back to the traditional, fully in-person model?

We’re currently developing a tiered transition model for how we would move back to full-day, in-person instruction if health officials allow that. This would not be an overnight return, but yes, we are drafting plans for how that would work. We expect, at this time, that we would bring our elementary school students back full-time before middle and high school students.


How will grading work? Will it be Pass/Fail again for secondary students or will students receive letter grades?

We haven’t worked out those details yet. But we do plan to grade student work and use regular assessments to track student progress and determine student need. 




What will the health and safety protocols be for students enrolled in the Flexible Learning Program? 

AUSD is currently exploring what will be most effective for handwashing, sanitizing, maintaining social distance, and mask wearing for our in-person classes. We will send out more details on this topic later this summer. 


I am worried that students in the afternoon group will be exposed to more germs than students in the morning group.

Our custodial staffing is being shifted so that we can do more work mid-day. This means our intensive cleaning will be spread across the day instead of occurring primarily in the evening. 


Will you teach the children how to follow these health protocols?

Yes. This summer we will be creating posters and materials for teachers so that when students return to campus in August they can easily learn what the expectations will be for following health protocols.


What will you do if a student or teacher tests positive?

We are working with the Alameda County Department of Public Health to develop protocols and procedures for responding to positive cases of COVID-19.


Will you still provide meals?

Yes, we will still provide meals to students. Just how we will provide those meals is still under development.




What is happening with high school athletics? 

AUSD understands the importance of high school athletics and greatly values the role of sports in our student-athletes’ lives. We are currently waiting for the California Interscholastic Federation to make a decision on fall sports. That decision is expected on July 20. In the meantime, there will be a letter sent out to all middle and highschool students regarding athletic next steps the week of June 29th.


Will students have access to Visual and Performing Arts classes? 

We are trying to make that possible. We are convening Working Groups this week to look into how best to provide instruction in a number of different subject areas in the Flexible Learning Program. We are also researching curricula for the Remote Learning Program that includes units on the arts. 


Will students take PE?

We are still researching whether our PE instructors can offer effective PE classes in 2020-21.



What will the schedule be for students who receive special education services?

Students in our mild to moderate classes will be on the same schedule as general education students. We are still developing the schedule for our moderate to severe classes. Strategic Academic instruction for students in the general education schedule will be delivered through a co teaching model as well as during small group time after or before the general class time.  At the secondary level the academic strategies class will not be offered as a class since we will be on a semester schedule. Academic strategies will either be held before or after the traditional classes throughout the entire year.  We expect to provide FAQs for families in our special education programs in the next week or two.



How do we indicate which program we prefer for our student(s)?


  1. Please check your inbox for a letter describing the programs, with a link to the registration form, which was sent to all families on June 26. That email included a link to the registration form, which will go live at 8 am on June 29. 
  2. This form needs to be filled out by July 5 at 11:59 pm. 
  3. Students who have or who live with a person or have a caretaker with underlying medical conditions will have priority in the acceptance process for the Remote Learning Program.

  4. Notifications about the Remote Learning Program will be sent to families on July 9 and July 10. 

  5. We will continue to update the FAQs about both the Remote Learning and Flexible Learning programs as we develop them.

  6. We will schedule a community meeting about the Remote Learning Program on July 14 so that we can provide you with more information and answer your questions.

  7. Families who register for the remote program between June 29 and July 5 will then have until July 19 to decide if they truly want their student to be enrolled in that program. If they still want that program, they will need to fill out and submit a confirmation form by July 19 to complete the enrollment process.


Please note: Families who do not submit an Instructional Program Choice form will be automatically enrolled in our Flexible Learning Program.