Many of you have reached out to offer your support to our 13,000 Alliance scholars and families and our 1,500 staff. Thank you for your care and concern, especially amidst the unease you are likely feeling for your own family and loved ones in these uncertain times. Following is an update on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on our scholars and school communities, what we are doing to address the challenge, and how you can help in ensuring continued services and high quality education for our 13,000 scholars. The cost to ensure these vital educational and social services will be $2.4 million.
We have made the difficult decision to close our schools to protect the health and safety of our families, our staff and the broader community. The closure will be in effect through the end of the school year on June 12.
Our school leaders and support staff have done a remarkable job ensuring a smooth transition to our “new normal.” On Monday, March 16, we started a daily free meal distribution at eight regional sites, ensuring our scholars did not lose a single day of this important nutritional service on which their families depend. We have sent all scholars home with learning packets as well as laptops or iPads with access to online learning lessons. And most importantly, we have kept our staff and families abreast of rapidly changing conditions as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak and are making sure they have accurate information and access to resources.
As we look ahead, we will continue to keep our scholars and families updated on the most up-to-date health information, available community resources and how we will be adjusting our instruction, academic programming, and counseling services. We continue to make significant adjustments to our educational and service delivery to ensure our scholars do not lose precious learning time and that they have the additional support services to weather this crisis. The costs to ensure uninterrupted services to our scholars is $2.4 million.
Extended Closure and Implications for Our Scholars, Families and Staff
While our initial plan was to close schools for two weeks, this has been extended through the end of the school year given the Governor’s recent directive. We are working closely with the CA Department of Public Health, the CDC, the Governor’s Office and LAUSD on how to ensure the safety of our scholars and staff while ensuring quality instruction and support services in a dramatically different landscape.
Our primary focus is ensuring consistently strong instructional practices and quality learning over an extended school closing. Our academic team is gathering the best online curriculum, creating new instructional materials, developing a new scope and sequence for core academic subjects, and preparing our educators on how to lead effective distance learning practices for both large group instruction and personalized coaching. We are also purchasing additional hotspots for families who do not have access to the internet and live outside of the service area of the free WiFi services being offered by telecom companies. In addition, we will need to purchase laptops and keyboards for our high school students who must have keyboards for college prep coursework.
Special Education Support
Additionally, we are preparing our special education teachers on how to provide personalized online instructional support in coordination with our general education teachers as well as how to conduct individual meetings with family members to review the Individual Education Plans for our special education scholars.
To ensure our graduating seniors matriculate to college, we are creating online materials to support our graduating seniors as they receive college acceptance letters and financial aid packages, and preparing our counselors for remote online counseling sessions. We are in close coordination with the College Board in the revision of both SAT testing dates and sites and online AP study guides and resources. Finally, we are reaching out to our alumni to determine additional resources needed, especially for those scholars who are attending college out of state.
Mental Health and Psychological Support Services
Our mental health and psychological service staff are preparing for uninterrupted online counseling services for both scholars and families and coordinating services delivery with outside agencies for more acute mental health needs.
Extended Free Meals
Finally, we will maintain our free meal distribution to our families. With an extended closure and related economic fallout of the Coronavirus response, we anticipate an increasing demand for this service.
How You Can Help
We are incredibly grateful to you and the broader Alliance community for the courage, compassion and resolve that will get us through this crisis and, in the end, make us stronger.
Please consider making a contribution directly to the COVID19 Response Fund. Your generosity will ensure the continuity of services and quality education for our scholars.
Thank you in advance. Sending all the best to you and your loved ones.
Jeff Marine Catherine Suitor
Board Chair Executive Director