July 17, 2020
Dear Newark Community,
I hope this letter finds you safe and well. I would like to introduce myself as the new Superintendent of Newark Unified. Our district is deeply committed to do what is right for our students and staff — to prioritize safety and learning — and to remain fully transparent and communicative as the district makes important decisions about the upcoming school year.
I write to update you on how schools will reopen on August 13th. Governor Newsom made a public announcement today regarding reopening of all schools in California. Based on his mandate, we will be starting the school year in distance learning, and will transition to in-person learning only after Alameda County has been off the COVID-19 County Monitoring List for at least 14 consecutive days.
I know the move to distance learning this past spring was unexpected and abrupt. We have learned a great deal since then, and are prepared to re-engage our students in high quality distance learning this fall. Our goal is to support their growth and development through rigorous, daily instruction. Equally important will be meeting the needs of the whole child and supporting the mental health of our students. Please know I want to hear from community and staff alike regarding how to best serve our students during these unusual times. To this end, I held one Virtual Town Hall meeting on July 9 and I intend to hold a second Virtual Town Hall meeting on July 23rd at 6pm to share developments and answer questions.
At the same time that we plan for opening the school year in distance learning, we are continuing to prepare for when we can return to in-person learning. Over the summer, district staff have worked intensively to prepare for when the conditions allow for us to safely reopen our schools to in-person learning. Examples include but are not limited to: procuring adequate supplies, adapting our facilities with plexiglass, reviewing handwashing stations, making appropriate adjustments with our food services department, thoroughly cleaning classrooms, offices, and furniture, and engaging planning committees in preparation for either a distance learning or a hybrid model.
I appreciate the thoughtful engagement and ideas from our community thus far as we confront this pandemic together. Wishing you and your family continued hopes for safety and well-being.
Dr. Mark Triplett
Newark Unified School District