Where do we go from here?


The board deliberated on the agreement at a special meeting on Thursday evening.

Distance learning has officially begun, and already the most pressing question on everyone’s minds is if and when it will be over. While Dublin High’s teachers have done a truly admirable job of adjusting to the new schedule, including grappling with drastic changes in the way instruction is delivered and significantly less time per week to deliver it, most would agree that distance learning is less than ideal for everyone involved. While COVID-19 cases continue to rise with no end in sight, however, the ordeal is far from over.


Throughout numerous meetings over the summer, the Dublin Unified Board of Trustees deliberated on the criteria that they will use going forward to determine when it is safe for schools to begin the process of physically reopening.  


“The socio-emotional development of being in school is critical,” acknowledged interim superintendent Dr. Daniel Moirao. “And that’s where we want to be. But then I think about the virus itself. The idea of putting any student or staff in harm’s way is above all of that and must take precedence.”


The ultimate goal for the district, Moirao explained, is to move from distance learning to a hybrid model with students learning in-person part-time. Eventually, they are aiming for a full reopening where all students will be on campus with significant safety protocols such as masks and frequent hand-washing. 


When will this happen? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. State guidelines announced in late July by Governor Gavin Newsom mandate that school districts can only choose to reopen when their counties have been off of California’s monitoring watchlist for 14 consecutive days. Alameda County is far from reaching this goal.


The current agreement, which was negotiated between the district and the Dublin Teachers Association, mandates that DUSD remains operating through distance learning for at least six weeks, after which the situation will be reevaluated. This agreement, which also encompassed safety protocols that will be in place if the district transitions to hybrid learning, will apply to the entire school year. This will ensure that if schools need to reopen or close back down as the situation continues to fluctuate, the transitions between in-person and remote learning will be smooth.


Newsom’s plans touched on the need for transition protocols as well, stating that once schools begin to offer in-person learning again, they must close again if more than 5% of the student population tests positive for COVID-19. If more than 25% of the schools in a district are closed, the rest of the district must shut down as well.


DUSD’s “Road to Reopening” playbook can be examined in detail here. Additional coverage of this summer’s board meetings can be found at thedublinshield.com.