William S. Hart Union High School District

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Messages from the Superintendent

Greetings Hart District Parents,

Recently I've found myself repeating the familiar phrase: "Let's Keep The Main Thing - The Main Thing."

By this I mean that we need to take the necessary steps to preserve the ability for students to continue meeting safely with teachers. 

Given the trajectory of the Delta variant, we've made the decision to return to a virtual format for this year's Back to School Night.  By doing so, we eliminate non-essential group gatherings across the District that could potentially contribute to the spread of the virus.  

Please note that the date for our Back to School Nights across the District (except for Bowman) will move to September 9.

Teachers from across the District will be preparing personalized messages for parents - just like we did last year.  Our Back to School Night virtual activities will debut on September 9th, but will remain accessible for parents after the fact. 

Last year's virtual BTSN included some outstanding and creative offerings for parents.  I have no doubt we will do the same this year.  

Thank you for your flexibility as we make decisions to “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.”

Mike Kuhlman
Superintendent
William S. Hart Union High School District

Good evening,

This is Superintendent Mike Kuhlman calling to welcome students back to the Hart District. I hope you too are truly looking forward to start of classes tomorrow morning.

Over the last few weeks I have visited every school site within the District to gauge our readiness for the for the start of the new semester. Because of these visits – even as we face new challenges with the Delta variant – I believe we have the pieces in place for the start of an outstanding school year.

I can assure you that all of our school sites have been working hard to finalize plans to welcome back teachers and students to a SAFE educational environment. Central to our plans, as you are aware, is the requirement that everyone must wear a mask while indoors and on-campus.

Last week I met with all administrators and encouraged them to “keep their eye on the ball” as they say, as we launch this new school year. By this, I explained that we need to maintain our priority of focus on getting students safely back into the classroom and engaged with healthy junior high and high school activities. Let’s acknowledge that indoor masking may not be popular for some, but I respectfully ask that everyone help us implement this requirement with a minimum of disruption so that we can maintain our focus – and begin the important work of educating students.

Please note that school sites may be prompting students to show their masks upon entry to each campus. This is not intended to provoke confrontation, but rather to help answer questions and provide complementary masks if they are lost or forgotten. We hope that this friendly gesture will address student concerns prior to the start of class.
Whether your child will be joining us in-person, or through independent study, we are all eager to get back to the business of helping students prepare for their future. With recent COVID news, I can assure you that we will confront new challenges in the weeks ahead. Thank you in advance for your continued patience - and for your ongoing assistance – as we adapt to meet the need of the moment.

I wish you a great evening, and we look forward to seeing your students in the morning.
 
Mike Kuhlman
Superintendent
William S. Hart Union High School District

Good evening Hart District families,

 

I’m writing to share the good news that we are scheduled to fully reintroduce in-person learning on August 10.  We also look forward to the full restoration of student athletics and activities. All Hart District schools are hard at work preparing to welcome students back to campus.  Classes will be conducted without a requirement for social distancing.  We are eager to get things started soon!

 

Indoor Masking Requirement

State and County officials recently ruled that masks will be required for all individuals while inside buildings on campuses.  Masks are recommended but not required while outside.

 

We recognize that the issue of masking is a topic of great concern for many families in our community.  Given the strong interest in this subject, it’s important to understand who makes the rules when it comes to masking requirements.

 

Who Makes the Masking Rules?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is a national advisory group that provides guidance on issues of public health.  The CDC does not issue public health mandates.  Rather, they issue recommendations that are used by California regulatory agencies to craft the rules for local school districts.  CDC recommendations on masking can be found HERE and are summarized by the following quote:

"Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained."

 

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is a regulatory agency that has taken a stance that is more restrictive than the recommendations of the CDC.  CDPH calls for universal masking indoors on school campuses.  Unlike the CDC’s recommendation, this is a requirement for California public schools. CDPH requirements on masking can be found HERE and are summarized by the following quotes:

"Masks are optional outdoors for all in K-12 school settings."

"K-12 students are required to mask indoors."

"Adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students."

 

While the LA County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) must comply with CDPH mandates it can also enact more restrictive requirements if necessary.  Currently LA County requirements align with state mandates.  LACDPH requirements on masking can be found HERE and are summarized by the following quote:

"Anyone entering school buildings or transports (school buses as well as school buildings) who has contact with others (students, parents, or other employees) is required to wear a face mask."

 

Local school boards and district staff do not have the authority to defy the orders of our State and County regulatory agencies.  We recognize that there are some who are strongly opposed to the continuance of this requirement.  We respect the fact that there are people on all sides of this issue.  Nevertheless, we must adhere to the current masking requirements as established by State and County regulatory agencies.

 

Independent Study Alternative

If your family desires an alternative independent study option, the Hart District offers access to our award-winning Learning Post Academy (LPA).

You can learn more about LPA through a video introduction located HERE.

You can register HERE for an informational meeting on LPA scheduled for July 29th at 9:30 am. 

You can fill out an application to enroll at LPA by going HERE.

______________________________________________________________________________

As we embrace these measures to keep our community safe, we acknowledge that these mandated restrictions will cause frustrations and inconvenience for some. While I regret this fact, I’m encouraged to reflect on the advice of the great John Wooden who wrote:

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."

We hope you will join us in this opportunity to make the best of this new start.

 

Sincerely,

Mike Kuhlman
Superintendent
William S. Hart Union High School District

Mr. Kuhlman discusses the return to campus on March 29 here.

Good Evening Hart District Families,

At our Governing Board Meeting this Wednesday we discussed a number of issues related to reopening for in-person learning.  The Governing Board heard updates on the following topics:

                Criteria for Reopening

                Adjusted Case Rate Trends

                CDC Recommendation

                Santa Clarita In-Person Learning

                Case Studies

                Reopening Timeline

Please note that it is looking increasingly likely that March 29 will be a date for a potential return to in-person blended learning. We also shared an overview of what Blended Learning will look like when we return.

If you are interested in hearing more about reopening for in-person learning, click HERE (the presentation begins at 1:18:50)

 

Details of the Blended Learning Plan can be found here. Details of the Online Only Plan can be found here.

 

Best regards,

Mike Kuhlman

Superintendent

Good Morning Hart District Families,
At our Governing Board Meeting last Wednesday we discussed a number of issues related to COVID-19 and school reopening.  The Governing Board heard updates on the following topics:
Criteria for Reopening
Reopening Criteria for Different Grade Levels
Case Rate Trends in LA County
Potential Reopening Timelines
Vaccinations for Educators
Graduation

If you are interested in hearing the latest on these issues, you can view the presentation here. If you would like to review the entire Board Meeting you can go here.

At our next Governing Board Meeting, we will be revisiting the reopening plan that we finalized last fall.  We hope you can join us.

Best regards,
Mike Kuhlman
Superintendent

Good evening Hart District families,

I’m writing tonight to provide an update on our plans for graduation this school year.  Those of us charged with preparing this annual right-of-passage fully recognize the importance of this special event for students and families.  We are committed to pursuing some form of an in-person graduation ceremony IF we are allowed to do so under State and County health guidelines. 

To that end, we have reached out to the County Health Department to ask for guidance on what will be allowed for graduation.  Three separate times we have been told that, “it depends upon COVID rates as we approach graduation.”  This lack of specificity has hampered our ability to communicate effectively with families.

Because we don’t want to sit back passively and wait, we have convened a committee of District leaders to prepare a proposed list of "acceptable" activities that could be tied to the colored tier levels on the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.  Once we complete the plan, we will propose our ideas to the Health Department.  Our hope is that – if these proposals are accepted – we can communicate what options parents can realistically expect within each colored tier. 

While we are still hoping for an in-person event, we have authorized our video programs to begin planning a virtual graduation video.  The start of this process should not be interpreted as an indication that we have abandoned an in-person graduation.  Rather, we are starting now because it takes time to put-together a high-quality video remembrance. 

Please stay tuned for more information about graduation options in the coming weeks.  I’m optimistic that if COVID rates continue to fall, we will be able to offer some form of in-person option for students and families.

Sincerely,

Mike Kuhlman
Superintendent

Mr. Kuhlman discusses county recommendations for a temporary pause to in-person instruction and activities for the month of January here.

Good afternoon Hart District families,

I hope you all had a safe and restful Holiday season. 

I’m writing today to share news about the start of the second semester.  As you are all aware, we are in the midst of a surge in COVID transmissions throughout the Southern California community.  We’ve been monitoring this situation closely over the Holiday break to ensure that we adhere closely to the requirements of State and County health orders.  Because of this concern, we recently empowered our District Administration to allow increased flexibility for staff to work remotely - when it is possible to do so - during the period of the expanded stay at home order.  This accommodation was not made because we believe it is inherently unsafe to step foot onto our sites, but rather as an added measure to increase social distancing and to reduce the total number of people personally interacting on a daily basis.

Yesterday I participated in a teleconference with Dr. Robert Gilchick from the LA County Department of Public Health and the superintendents of over 80 Districts through LA County to discuss the start of instruction in the midst of this surge.  Dr. Gilchick, who is Dr. Barbara Ferrer’s associate, shared that the requirements of the county safer at home order have not significantly changed as they apply to schools.  This means that in-person instruction with small cohorts of students - and athletic conditioning - are allowed to continue at this time.  Having said that, Dr. Gilchick shared that they are recommending that Districts take action to limit in-person activity on campus to those students who need specialized support.  Examples would include Special Education students, homeless/foster students and English Learners.   Dr. Ferrer was quoted in an LA Times article Thursday saying the same thing.

With that in mind, I’m writing to confirm that we will proceed as scheduled for Monday, January 11, with our plan to provide support to our small cohorts of students throughout the District.  It’s worth noting that this course of action is consistent with the plans for our four feeder Districts who are all scheduled to continue in-person with their neediest students.  However, we have made the decision to temporarily halt all in-person athletic conditioning as recommended by Dr. Ferrer/Dr. Gilchick.

I understand the pressure our public health officials are under in their efforts to keep people safe.  Having said that, I would have preferred if this recommendation could have been shared with us earlier than the last day of winter break.  Nevertheless, I understand and can appreciate the importance of these issues for students, staff and families.  Therefore, we will be scheduling a Special Board Meeting next Wednesday, January 13, at 7:00 pm to provide time for the Governing Board to consider the question of whether additional temporary restrictions to in-person instruction are called for.  This will provide time for the Governing Board to carefully monitor conditions on our campuses and in our community and make appropriate decisions based upon that information.

In the meantime, I can’t overemphasize how important it is for us all to wear a face-covering at all times, remain six-feet away from others when feasible, and to wash your hands frequently throughout the day.  Doing so will help us dampen this surge and hasten our ability to return to school safely with students in classrooms. 

Thank you,

Mike Kuhlman
Superintendent
Mr. Kuhlman and Assistant Superintendent Kathy Hunter discuss what to expect for the start of school on Tuesday, August 11. Watch the SCVTV Community Corner interview here.
 
Today Governor Newsom announced new expectations for the reopening of schools.  The Governor's statement indicates that the Hart District should begin classes on August 11 in an online format.
 
While today's announcements will necessitate time to digest the specifics, I want to be clear that the Board's decision on Wednesday is consistent with these latest guidelines from the State - at least in terms of our immediate next steps for online learning.
 
Stay tuned for more information.  We will push out specific clarifications next week.