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Posted 6/26/20

Dear Simi Valley Schools Families:


I hope that this update finds you healthy and resting, now that summer is here.


The last few months have been more than challenging, and I understand the frustration felt in our community from not having a clear vision of what the coming school year will look like. All of us at Simi Valley Schools share in your frustration, but we remain committed to providing the best possible educational experiences for all of our students, regardless of the challenges and uncertainties we will face in the coming months.


The purpose of this update is to provide you and your family with our current plans for the 2020-2021 school year. As you read through this message, and please do read to the end as there is a lot of information, keep in mind that some or all of this can change with little notice. I cannot emphasize enough that, based on our experiences over the last four months, we fully expect that there will be changes in this plan as we edge closer to the start of school. We even face the possibility that the state or county could close our schools again and we would have to begin the school year with virtual learning for all students. Nothing is predictable in our current COVID-19 crisis. Most decisions affecting our schools are made for us by our state and county health and education agencies.

Please know that whatever mandates may come to us, we are prepared to adapt quickly to ensure that all of our students receive the best instructional experience possible. These plans offer us the flexibility needed to adjust to future circumstances. As changes are made that will affect our coming school year, we will share them with our community.


One huge potential issue that we were advised of this week comes from the passage of Assembly Bill 77 by our state’s legislature. AB 77 includes guidelines that could potentially remove a parent’s ability to choose virtual/online learning for their child under most circumstances. As of now, we are waiting for the legal interpretation of this language. Until we receive clear guidance on what is and is not allowed, we are moving forward as if the option of virtual/online learning is still fully available for our families. Of course, as soon as we know the final outcome of AB 77 and its impact for us and our families, we will send an update.


The first student day of school for the 2020-2021 school year will now be Monday, August 17, 2020. This will allow for us to provide professional development for our teachers, training for staff and to implement health and safety protocols.


Currently, we have two instructional models in place for the start of the 2020-2021 school year: An online learning model called Virtual Learning and a Blended Learning (in-person) model. On Friday, July 17, we will send a survey to all of our families asking for a commitment to one of these two models should AB 77 allow for choice. We will also include more detailed information about what a typical school day will look like under both models. The survey’s deadline will be July 24. This information will be critical for us to be able to plan for the 2020-2021 school year.



  • Students opting for Virtual Learning will still be enrolled in their current school.
  • Students at Royal High School and Simi Valley High School can still participate in their school’s athletics programs, under whatever program guidelines come from CIF.
  • All students will still be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, such as clubs, music and drama.
  • Consistent, live instruction will be provided through consistent online portals (video conference and online work submission).
  • For Special Education students in the Virtual Learning model: We are waiting on state and local officials’ guidance on how services will be provided.


  • This will be a combination of on-campus instruction and at-home independent assignments (accessed through online tools).
  • Teachers will have consistent, posted virtual office hours to provide instructional support for parents and students.
  • On-campus instruction will not cover an entire “traditional” school day. Depending on how many students are in a class and which school, on-campus instruction may cover up to three hours a day. The number of days on-campus is yet to be determined. Extracurricular activities will happen in addition to the instructional hours.
  • Elementary students will be assigned to the same daily session for their class. That session may be morning, mid-morning, or early afternoon. How many sessions and when they are scheduled will depend on how many students are assigned to a class.
  • The schedules for middle and high school students could end up looking like a college schedule where students may attend classes at different times on different days depending on their class assignments. We will do our best to schedule siblings together.
  • Outdoor activities and classroom breaks will be encouraged; students will remain in their primary groups and current social distancing mandates will need to be followed. Under current public health guidelines, students are not allowed to use play structures or shared equipment.
  • Students will be asked to wash/sanitize their hands throughout their time on campus.
  • For Special Education students in the Blended Learning model: We are waiting on state and local officials’ guidance on how services will be provided.


  • There will be regular check-ins by teachers.
  • All classes will maintain consistent daily/weekly schedules.
  • There will be a consistent delivery of online instruction through similar online tools.
  • All students will be assigned a ChromeBook at the start of the school year.
  • The District’s IT HelpDesk will be available for any technology issues faced by our families.
  • We will increase our cleaning procedures at all SVUSD facilities.
  • Meals will still be distributed and details will be provided closer to the August 17 start date.


  • As of today, masks/shields are required for all students and staff, under the order from the governor of California. Masks would be required at all times while on campus by all students and staff.
  • As of today, classrooms, learning spaces and offices will be rearranged in order to follow social distancing guidelines.

We are waiting on guidance from state and local officials on if and how health screenings will be conducted on campuses.

Again, we know that this crisis has been stressful for our students, families and staff. We will continue to develop our plans as transparently as possible. We also continue to ask for your patience and flexibility as we move toward a reopening of our schools in August. Please look for the email with the survey link on July 17 (pending AB 77). If any changes come before that date, we will update our families.

I want to personally thank everyone for the support we have received throughout this crisis, and I wish you a relaxing and healthy summer.


Dr. Jason Peplinski
Simi Valley Unified School District