- Hanford Joint Union High School District
- Messages from the Superintendent
Past Superintendent Updates
Superintendent Message 3/1/22
Good afternoon HJUHSD students, parents, and staff. Today the governor released the statement below. In essence it ends the mask mandate in CA for the community on March 1st regardless of vaccine status, and ends the mask mandate for all students and staff in the school setting on March 11th.Statement from California Governor Gavin Newsom: “California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic. Masks are an effective tool to minimize spread of the virus and future variants, especially when transmission rates are high. We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward.”In California, starting March 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings. After March 11, in schools and child care facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended. Masks will still be required for everyone in high transmission settings like public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities. As always, local jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond the state guidance.We know this has been a very difficult mandate for many students and families. For some, this change comes too late and for some too early. However, as a district and county, we have worked hard to abide by state law regardless of our personal beliefs about those laws. Two more weeks is not a hurdle we cannot clear and we are glad to have a decision and specific date for all of our stakeholders.
Dr. Victor Rosa
Superintendent Message 8/2/21
Good morning HJUHSD Students and Parents. As you know, this week students are on campuses for their walk-throughs and school begins for all of them on Thursday August 12th. We are all looking very forward to having all students back on campus five days a week for the full day now that all capacity and distancing guidance has been lifted by the state where schools are concerned. We will not have any cohorts or distance learning students at home while others are at school which will lend to a much better and more traditional learning environment for our students and staff. Please pay close attention to all communications from your school sites in regard to walk-throughs, meetings, deadlines, and starting day logistics. Both Hanford West and Hanford High have major construction projects underway, so it is important that you listen to instructions for parking and drop off. Also, we want to remind all students and parents that we have a new Bell Schedule and the school day now starts at 8:30 and ends at 3:40. We will begin Zero Hour in a few weeks starting at 7:45 for all students who need additional support or work time. This is in response to a new start time law that was passed two years ago and not anything to do with the pandemic response.
Although this year is starting close to normal as I mentioned above with no cohorts, no required distancing, regular sports and activity schedules, and with all students, there are still some state mandates that we are required to follow. The most notable and on student’s and parent’s minds is the requirement for all students and staff to wear masks while indoors regardless of vaccination status. There has been a lot of confusion on this requirement because the state and federal government originally had different rules. That has since been remedied and masks are now mandated by both. Although it is somewhat ambiguous as to the how, it is nonetheless a mandate that schools must enforce.
We had greatly hoped as a district that the mask guidance would have been different, even though the requirement for students to prove vaccination to go unmasked would have also caused many challenges. We also know that thoughts and opinions on the mask mandate vary greatly from family to family, but as an educational institution, we enforce rules everyday that some believe are unwarranted or unfair and others believe are absolutely imperative to teaching students good citizenship. From dress code violations, to cell phones in class, all the way to why tobacco and marijuanna should not be a major violation, we get a widely varied view from students and parents. So, although we may not all like or even agree with the mandate, we believe that teaching our youth to abide by rules and laws is important and that one cannot pick and choose which rules to follow and which they will not without any ramification.
To that end, our enforcement of the state mask mandate for schools is similar to our dress code violation. Violations will result in negative citizenship points which can lead to losing off campus privileges, ineligibility for athletics and activities, and, as the state guidance enforces, eventual placement on Independent Study. At this point the state has issued this mandate through November 1, 2021. We all hope that it will end sooner, but that is what we know right now. Complete details of our Full Return to School Plan are available on our website.
We know that this is controversial and that some students and parents will not agree with the rule. HJUSHD does offer both Hanford Online Charter and Independent Study for any student who wishes to enroll for the semester or year. Please contact your school site counselor or administration for enrollment in Independent Study or Hanford Online Charter at 559-583-5941 to enroll.
Thank you for your understanding, patience, and cooperation,
Superintendent Message 6/10/21
Good Morning HJUHSD Students and Parents!
Although the school year has just ended and most students are thinking about summer and not the new school year, we want to remind you all about our plans for the new school year and some changes to our daily schedule. First of all, as mentioned in previous communications, all HJUHSD Schools will begin the new school year in August in our traditional, pre-COVID model. This means that all students will attend every day, five days a week. Changes to state guidance continue to develop, and at this point, the only significant item still being discussed at the state level is the mask mandate. We are confident that this will be settled before the start of the new school year, but we cannot speak to a definitive answer just yet. To be clear, HJUHSD will not have cohorts next year and certainly not a Cohort C distance learning option for students. With that being said, we do have our own online high school, Hanford Online Charter, or Independent Study in which students/parents can choose to enroll. Contact Hanford Online at 559-583-5941 or contact your school counselor for Independent Study options.
On another note, and in compliance with Senate Bill 328, which goes into effect in 2022, the regular school day will begin at 8:30 for our schools beginning in August. A later start does mean a later release time as well, but this new start time will be standard for all high schools in California over the next year. This new start time does allow for a “Zero Hour” four days a week in which students who need help or more instructional time will be able to receive additional support and assistance with their school work. Transportation for Zero Hour will be provided. The new daily bell schedule is listed below for your reference. More information regarding schedules and information for the new school year will be communicated throughout the summer by the district and your school site. Still, we want parents to be informed about our plans for the new year as early as possible. We are excited to begin the new year with all students back every day and in every period. Have a great summer, and we look forward to having you all back and welcoming our incoming students.
Dr. Victor Rosa
Superintendent Message 4/16/21
We are sending this update to help students and parents with some decision making for the near future. This year has been challenging to say the least, but we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish with our students under the circumstances and are very pleased to be ending the school year with more classroom time and activities. The purpose of this message however, is about the new school year beginning in August. Although that may seem far away, there are some things you should know as students and parents to inform your decisions for the new year. The COVID-19 Pandemic is improving daily, but at this point, it is impossible to know with certainty what our state and county will require of us for the new school year.
With that being said, one thing we can say with near certainty is that HJUHSD High Schools will not be offering a synchronous, distance learning option for students next year. That means we will not have a “Cohort C” that works from home while other students work at school. There are also no plans to have any distance learning days or times in the daily schedule. This means that all students who attend school will attend five days a week for the entire school day. We know this is welcomed news to most, but for some families, returning to school normally, even in August may not be desirable. For those families, we do still have options.
HJUHSD will continue to offer our Hanford Online Charter High School and Independent Study as was the case before the pandemic, but these programs do not run synchronously to the regular high school program. In both programs students are enrolled in an online curriculum and meet with instructors weekly. If you are planning to go to Hanford Online next year or think you may meet requirements for independent study, we suggest you speak to your counselor soon or schedule an appointment with Hanford Online to register for classes.
We look forward to continuing to serve our students this year and are very pleased to offer even more normalcy in the coming school year. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.
Dr. Victor Rosa
Superintendent Message 4/9/21
Good Morning HJUHSD Students and Parents,
We are sending this message with some general information about graduation ceremonies for the class of 2021. On March 26th, the CA Department of Public Health released guidance for conducting commencement ceremonies. After careful review of this guidance and with our county and state COVID case rates greatly reducing, we are confident that we will be able to conduct in-person, physical graduation ceremonies in June. Although we are very excited at the prospect of providing our seniors with this important milestone, there are some challenges to having a ceremony within the parameters of the guidance.
We will be providing much more information in the coming weeks as we continue to plan, but we do already know that, at a minimum, we are required to limit the number of attendees at each graduation ceremony far more than we normally have to. We do not yet know how many guests will be allowed per graduate, but it will very likely be no more than four and possibly fewer. We are calculating our senior class size and facilities to get a specific number. We are currently working on ways to livestream the graduation ceremony to allow those who are unable to attend in person to still be able to see the graduates. Graduates and attendees will also be required to wear masks and distance in accordance with the guidance.
We have had some families who experienced the drive-through graduation last year, express that they prefer we do the drive-through again this year. This will be the process for our Alternative Education Schools and those school administrators are planning for a drive-through format on Tuesday, June 1st. However, for our three comprehensive campuses, we will not be offering a drive-through option and will focus on an in-person ceremony at Neighbor Bowl.
We also know that announcing a physical graduation will spark questions about other senior events like Prom, Sober Grad, Grad Night, etc. At this point, we do not have a means within guidance to hold a prom and Grad Nights are not being held by theme parks. However, Sober Grad is in the works and as we continue to explore, other events like Scholarship Night, Senior Sunset, etc. may be able to occur. We want you to know that we are doing all we can within the guidelines to make these things happen for our Seniors.
The current schedule for graduation ceremonies is as follows:
Graduation Schedule 2021
Tuesday, June 1
Hanford Adult School
Hanford Online Charter
Earl F Johnson Continuation High School
Hanford Community Day School
Sierra Pacific Service Drive
Wednesday, June 2
Hanford West High School
Thursday, June 3
Hanford High School
Friday, June 4
Sierra Pacific High School
We will continue to provide updates in coming weeks, but we wanted our Senior students and parents to be aware of our current plan. Thank you and have a great weekend.
Superintendent Message 3/24/21
In our continued efforts to best serve our students and abide by COVID-19 Public Health guidance and safety protocols, we are pleased to announce the next step in returning to normal for our HJUHSD students and staff. Our county and state COVID-19 rates continue to improve, and our percentage of vaccinated community members continues to grow. Our staff has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and we are pleased to hear that many of our students aged sixteen and over are beginning to be vaccinated as well. The vaccine is much more readily available, and people, including students aged sixteen and over, are encouraged to reach out to their healthcare providers to schedule an appointment.
With all of this encouraging news, we have now seen athletics return and more students out and about. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH) have also revised schools’ distancing guidance. This new information means that we can now increase the number of students on campus at one time. So, beginning Tuesday, April 6, 2021, we will be blending Cohorts A & B into one AB In-Person Cohort that will attend four days a week. Cohort C students will continue to remain on Distance Learning and log-in to their classes from home while AB Students work at school. This message will have several clarifying components and processes, so we encourage you to read carefully. The schedule below represents a typical week, but keep in mind that the Monday after Easter is a holiday, so the first week of their return will look a little different in that students will come to school Tuesday-Friday with no Wednesday DL day.
Here are some crucial components of this change to keep in mind:
There is now a physical attendance requirement being added to the AB In-Person Cohort. If a student in AB misses eight days of physically attending class in person, the student will be moved to Cohort C Distance Learning for the remainder of this school year.
What happens if I login from home and do my class from there like I have sometimes been doing?
- You will get credit for attending class and doing your work just like now, but that day will be counted as a day toward the eight days you can physically miss before being moved to Cohort C.
- Those eight days are not consecutive, meaning you only have eight days for the rest of the year.
- An excused absence due to having to quarantine for COVID, bereavement, or doctor’s appointment with a note will not count against the eight days.
- Full-day absences along with accumulated period absences will count toward the eight days. This means you cannot miss most of the day and go to the periods you choose only.
What if I can’t, don’t want to, or don’t feel comfortable with coming back four days?
Your parent/guardian can contact the school and move you to Cohort C Distance Learning.
I’m in Cohort C. Can I come back to school and join the AB In-Person Cohort?
Students in Cohort C have had the opportunity all year to move to Cohorts A or B. With this change and to ensure that we adhere to the required guidelines for distancing and class size, we cannot automatically move any Cohort C students to in-person. Beginning April 6, students and parents who can show an academic or social-emotional need to return to in-person learning will have the opportunity to request the process to begin. At this point, all students who are currently in Cohort C will remain there. The process will include:
- On or after April 6, 2021, a parent can contact the school and request their student to join the AB In-Person Cohort.
- The student will be required to sit out for two weeks and show a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of the scheduled return date ending the two-week sit out.
- The student must show academic or social-emotional need to return in person.
- The student’s schedule must be evaluated to ensure room in all seven periods within the class size and distancing guidance. If there is not, they may have to wait until other students exit or other arrangements can be made.
Of course all existing COVID-19 Safety practices and protocols remain in place including facial coverings being required at school at all times, social distancing, cleaning and hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
We look forward to seeing more students, more often in a couple of weeks.
Statement Regarding Athletics 1-15-21
Although we have begun a new year and new semester at HJUHSD, COVID-19 continues to have a major impact on academics, extra-curricular activities, and athletics. Since this all began for us in March of 2020, we have been forced to make difficult decisions in line with limited and ever-changing guidance. Although we feel we have addressed the situation well and always with our students best interest first, we recognize that the ongoing nature of uncertainty is difficult for our students, parents, and staff. We are now faced with even more major decisions regarding athletics.
No superintendent or any other administrator wants to be the first to make a definitive decision on athletics, and to be honest, neither do I. However, as a district we have focused on communication and transparency, so I feel compelled to be as honest as possible with our students and families who continue to wonder what is going to happen to their athletic season or seasons. To that end, I want to provide some details as to the guidance that was provided to us as a district from the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH) and I have also linked some General CIF Guideline Documents and some Detailed CIF (All Sport) Guidelines from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).
The CDPH Guidance dictates when each sport can begin based in the CA COVID-19 Colored Tier System. In addition, the Regional Stay at Home Order was added after this athletic guidance was released which means that no athletic competitions can take place until ICU bed availability increases above 15% and the order is lifted for our region. At the writing of this document, our region has been at 0% for four weeks and we remain in a Stay at Home Order. The Stay at Home order supersedes the Colored Tier System.
My hope is that by seeing this mandated guidance, students, parents, and coaches will get a better understanding as to the reality of their sport actually having a competitive season or not. At the end of the document, we will provide some of our own analysis as to whether each sport is likely to have competition. This is our analysis as a district and not from any other agency. That also means that it is not set in stone, but our best guess based on what we know right now.
Our district has decided to resume and continue athletic conditioning beginning Tuesday January 19th, regardless of whether a sport ends up having competition or not. This is allowed within the guidance and allows student athletes to remain active and enjoy the sport they love.
Thank you for your continued support of our district and for being partners in this difficult time. I also hope that everyone understands that this is not what any of us want, but rather what we are required to do.
Dr. Victor Rosa
Message from the Superintendent - 1-8-21
Good afternoon HJUHSD students and we hope you had a good and restful Winter Break. School starts next Monday the 11th and whether you are in Cohorts A, B, or C, there are some important items you need to remember as you prepare to return. Frist of all, just like before the break, facial coverings and social distancing remain a requirement and priority the entire time you are on campus. You have all done an awesome job with this, so we just ask that you continue. For those of you who are moving from the Distance Learning Cohort C to A or B, please familiarize yourself with the rules and schedule for return. You can find our plan, schedules, safety guidelines, and procedures at www.hjuhsd.org. Below is a calendar that takes you through February. Remember, when we have a Monday holiday, the weekly cohort schedule changes a bit and we have three Monday holidays coming up in the next two months. The calendar is also attached so you can print it. We cannot wait to see you back at school next Monday the 11th. Don't forget to be at school or logged in on time on Monday morning!
Message from the Superintendent - 12-11-20
Good morning HJUHSD students and parents! We are sending this message to help clarify that our high schools will remain open next week for finals in the Plan B, Cohort Model we have been using the past six weeks. Although many local districts that mainly serve elementary students have opted to go to all Distance Learning next week, we do not intend to do so. The circumstances that led to the decisions of those districts which serve elementary age students are not the same for us, so we will continue to safely serve our students on campus as we have been.
On a similar note, we want all of our students and parents to know that Plan B will continue in the same Cohort A, B, and C model next semester. If you are already in Cohort A or B, there is nothing you need to do. If you are in Cohort C and plan to move to in-person instruction to start next semester, you need to reach out to your school to be formally moved to either Cohort A or B. Your school site may also be sending out a similar message with specific instructions on this process. Please remember that if you do not plan to make any changes, there is no need to call as your schedule will remain the same.
As always, please visit www.hjuhsd.org for up to date information about our reopening and safety protocols.
Message from the Superintendent - 12-3-20
Attention HJUHSD Students, Parents, and Staff
You may have heard about the Governor’s announcement today that the majority of California, including Kings County, will be going on a “Stay at Home Order” for a three week time period. We want to let all of you know that this order does not include schools that are open for in-person instruction like HJUHSD schools already are. We do not have a specific date in which the order goes into effect, but schools will remain open. Please refer to our website and COVID-19 Dashboard for daily updates on district positivity rates, but our schools continue to have a very low number of cases and remain a safe option for students. We hope this helps to clarify the Governor’s message and anything you may be hearing on the news or social media.
Message from the Superintendent - 11/4/20
Message from the Superintendent - 10/23/20
Good morning HJUHSD Students and Parents.
As we have communicated in the past few weeks, HJUHSD schools have been on a path to reopen on November 9, 2020. Based on our county numbers and how well we are doing in both positivity rate and case rate, we now know that this date will be our official start date for our Plan B Hybrid Model. In this model students are being divided into two cohorts. These cohorts are being divided by alphabet in order to ensure classes are as evenly split as possible. The only consideration that will be made will be for confirmed siblings who do not share the same last name. No other considerations will be taken when it comes to cohorts. Cohorts will be communicated by sites in the coming week. (Earl F. Johnson and Community Day School are cohorting their students slightly differently to meet the needs of those smaller schools.)
Cohort A will physically attend classes on Mondays and Tuesdays while Cohort B works from home.
Cohort B will physically attend classes on Thursdays and Fridays while Cohort A works from home.
All students work from home on Wednesdays.
*A copy of the actual Bell Schedule is included below
Our staff has chosen to follow a Synchronous Instructional Model which means that students at school and students at home will log in to Google Classroom and Google Meets simultaneously to receive instruction, complete assignments, see demonstrations, etc. This allows for us to meet distancing guidelines at school, but still maintain instruction for all students which in essence means more instructional time. Teachers will be sharing their specific expectations with students in the following two weeks as we prepare for student return. We will continue to monitor our instructional model weekly and evaluate in December if there will be any significant changes for the second semester.
Although there has been some confusion, we want our students and parents to know that we have listened to your concerns and suggestions and have therefore made some adjustments to the Distance Learning Model. If you are one of the parents who completed the request for Distance Learning survey, you will be hearing from your site counselors and administration team next week about your options. Rest assured that regardless of how you filled out the survey, either choosing to go to APEX or if you changed your mind and do not want APEX, you will be receiving a message from your counselors to clarify what your options are including whether you want to move to Hanford Online, Independent Study, or stay in your current classes. Please keep in mind that students who have requested to remain in Distance Learning, but are not attending regularly or performing well from a grade perspective, will not be allowed to continue in regular Distance Learning. Those students are also being contacted to clarify what their options may be. Again, all of these calls begin next week.
We also want all students and parents to know that we are taking all precautions necessary to ensure a safe return. Please review all of our safety protocols in our HJUHSD Reopening Plan located on our district website. We have worked closely with our health department to ensure best practices. Here are just a few items in place for your safety.
- Facial coverings required
- Small, cohorted classes to allow for distancing
- Sanitizer and cleaning supplies readily available in all spaces
- Fogging machines
- Daily screeners completed by all students at home prior to attending
- Contact Tracing Protocols
- Regular testing available and accessible at multiple locations in Hanford
Again, please review our reopening plan to review the details on these procedures.
Our regular bus routes are being provided to students to come to school on their cohort days.
Please continue to listen and watch for communication from the district and school site in the coming weeks as there will be a lot of information coming your way about returning to school. We cannot wait to see you all back again!
Message from the Superintendent - 10/9/20
Below you will find a graphic providing clarification on when school can reopen. If you are having trouble seeing the graphic we also have it attached as a PDF. Remember, you can find our school reopening plan on our website here.
Have a great weekend!
Message from the Superintendent - 8/10/20
Message from the Superintendent - 5/4/20
Updated Message from the Superintendent (Seniors & Senior Parents - 5/4/20 - En Espaniol
***Gradation Plan Update***
After careful consideration, we have decided to allow two cars per graduate, if needed, to make things easier for families. However, this will mean that in order for the processional to take place in a timely fashion, only the graduate will be allowed to walk up to receive their diploma and take their graduation photo. Family members cannot be in the graduate photo which also makes the photo more consistent with traditional graduation. The total number of guests between the two vehicles, including the graduate, is still nine. It is the responsibility of the attendees to ensure both cars enter the processional together. No accommodations will be made in the line if both vehicles are not together. Any student who chooses not to participate in the graduation processional will have their diploma mailed to their home. Again, more detailed instructions and specific guidance for your school will be coming from your principal.
Dear HJUHSD Seniors and Senior parents. Now that we are less than 30 days away from our first school graduation, we are forced to make some final decisions as to what graduation will look like. As you all know from our previous communications, we have already invested in and started our graduation videos for each school and delivered our Senior Yard Signs to all seniors. We did these things to be ready for whatever may come, but have always maintained hope that they would be in addition to a physical graduation as social distancing guidelines eased. We are now faced with the harsh reality that despite our hopes, a traditional graduation as we have known for years, is not going to happen. We also know that despite best intentions, suggestions, and plans for a postponed graduation later in the summer or fall, that this idea is also not realistic. The released state stages for reopening CA, has an event like graduation in Stage 4. The governor explained last week that the state will not even enter Stage 3 for months, which means that Stage 4 could be well into very late fall or winter. As leaders of this school district, and as educators who care deeply about our seniors, we simply cannot continue to postpone and possibly re-cancel a graduation for our seniors. We do not feel that is a good response for them or for our community.
Therefore, we plan to do the best we can within these circumstances for our graduates. In addition to the video and yard signs, we want to provide seniors with an opportunity to wear their caps and gowns, participate in a voluntary “graduation procession” of sorts, get their names read out on the loudspeaker, and get that important picture receiving their diploma. We have planned, and believe we can do this in a drive-through fashion that meets compliance and honors our students as well as possible. We know this is not the perfect situation, but it can and will be special and memorable for our kids and families. Although more details will be coming from your site principals in the weeks to come, we want to just provide a glimpse at what graduation week will look like. The chart below should help explain what we have planned. For all of the drive-through graduation processions, GSP Studios will provide professional photography and will give details for purchasing photos. Again, we will share more details soon, and thank you for your understanding and support during this time!