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FAQs on MVLA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
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- How long will schools be closed?
- How is MVLA making decisions?
- Will schools still provide meals for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch?
- Will we still be having annual state testing?
- Will you be extending school into summer?
- What do I do if we do not have a computer to use at home or do not have internet access?
- How will the school closure impact my grades?
- How will students receive a credit? What happens if they get no credit?
- I worked hard for my GPA and want to receive credit for this work
- I was on the path to raise my grades. Now what?
- Will I be able to take my college admittance tests (SAT, ACT)? How will we receive preparation for our Advanced Placement tests? Where will we take the test?
- How will this impact college admissions?
- What kind of support can I get with other methods of distinguishing myself as I apply for college?
- How will this impact wellness?
- Will graduations be impacted?
- Where can I get accurate and up-to-date information about the status of the coronavirus?
How long will schools be closed?
Bay Area schools have extended school closures through the remainder of the school year. While schools are physically closed, school is still in session and will follow the District’s Distance Learning Plan.
How is MVLA making decisions?
The Public Health Department is the lead agency in our community’s COVID-19 response, and MVLA and neighboring districts play an important role in providing stability and safety for our region. Superintendent Meyer has been working in daily partnership with Public Health, the County Office of Education, officials from the county, state, and cities we serve, along with other superintendents to assess and respond to new information. Having a seat at the table ensures our voices are heard and included in decisions that impact all of us.
We will continue adhering to directives from the county and state for shelter-in-place, continued school closures, and other measures as issued to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
Will schools still provide meals for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch?
Yes. The closures will not impact our school meal programs. In partnership with the Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD), we are offering “grab and go” meals every weekday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Gabriela Mistral Elementary, 505 Escuela Rd. in Mountain View. These meals consist of a lunch, and a breakfast for the following day. There will be one exception. The program will not be open on April 10. Meals for that day will be provided to families on April 9. Other locations may be added depending on need and the duration of the school closures.
Will we still be having annual state testing?
No. As part of Executive Order N-30-20, Governor Newsom is waiving this year’s statewide testing, pending federal approval, citing our current times as stressful enough for students, families, and educators, with the additional burden of annual testing. (See news release)
Will you be extending school into summer?
No. Due to the passage of Senate Bill 117, providing waivers for average daily attendance and timeline, we will not need to extend school into summer.
What do I do if we do not have a computer to use at home or do not have internet access?
Students are asked to complete this form if a Chromebook and/or home internet access is needed while MVLA schools remain closed. MVLA will contact families once all items are ready to be distributed. We are pleased to share that MVLA has qualified for the T-Mobile EmpowerED program, aimed a bridging the digital "homework gap" for low-income students by providing Wi-Fi hotspot devices so they can have access to digital textbooks and other materials off-campus. These hotspots are properly filtered and provide unlimited data. The monthly costs for the devices will be covered by the MVLA Foundation.
Comcast is offering low-income families their Internet Essentials package for 60 days for free. Internet speeds will be increased for no cost for all new and existing customers and will remain in place going forward. To sign up, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
How will the school closure impact my grades?
At its April 6 meeting, MVLA's Board of Education took action to move this semester to a credit/no credit (or Pass (P) - Not Passed (NP) grading status. This decision was based on recommendations from the County Office of Education in collaboration with the California State University system, University of California system, and other higher-education organizations.
How will students receive a credit? What happens if they get no credit?
It will look like this as students receive a credit:
AP English Lit .5 - A ( first semester) + AP English Lit .5 P (second semester) = One year of credit met for AP Lit
If students get an NP, this class will not fulfill A-G or high school requirements.
You still have to work for the P in your class.
I worked hard for my GPA and want to receive credit for this work?
You will not lose credit; you will not have a grade but the credit for the class is still met. Your GPA will not be negatively affected, it will be the same as it was the first semester (fall). If you ended the first semester of your junior year with a 3.9 GPA, it would remain a 3.9 For example, the UCs calculate only 10th and 11th year grades for the GPA. If the three semesters equal 4.0 then your UC GPA will be 4.0.
I was on the path to raise my grades. Now what?
This is an important question. We will continue to discuss internally the impacts on the group of students who had a semester grade that they hoped to improve. College admission is based on the three years a student is in school, prior to applying to college. Juniors who seek to improve grades will have first semester senior grades which private colleges will calculate into the GPA for admission. The UCs will have the three years, but trying to improve the UC GPA with spring semester grades will not have an impact on the UC admission.
Will I be able to take my college admittance tests (SAT, ACT)? How will we receive preparation for our Advanced Placement tests? Where will we take the test?
We know there are a lot of questions around testing as well as college applications. Here’s what we know right now:
- The College Board has canceled the March and May SAT administrations. Impacted students will receive refunds. The June 6, 2020 SAT and SAT Subject Test has not yet been canceled; the College Board will update its website on decisions related to this date. It will be working on adding more SAT testing dates.
- ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. All students who had registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days. ACT will update its website as more is known. ACT is also offering free live online test prep support.
- The Advanced Placement (AP) program is providing free remote learning resources and is developing new at-home testing options.
Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates. Any student already registered for an exam can cancel at no charge. Learn more about other changes here.
- Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place.
- Students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home.
How will this impact college admissions?
Colleges will accept whatever high schools will send for this semester's grades and have changed their admission guidelines in reaction to the global pandemic crisis. Colleges have stated that they will consider any change within the ‘19-20 school year as well as summer. MVLA has made the decision to change to Credit/No Credit for the 2020 Spring Semester. Colleges will continue to look holistically at students’ academic histories, not just one semester. They will have first semester grades for juniors, and this will represent the junior year. Colleges will accept the decision made by the school district.
It’s also important to note that colleges could fill their freshman classes with students with a 4.0 unweighted grade point average (GPA), a 1600 on the SAT and a 36 on the ACT. They do not! Why? Because colleges look at more than just grades.
Most selective colleges (Harvard, UPenn, Dartmouth, Brown, etc.) say no to 90% or more of their applicant pool. Their applicant pool is self-selecting and will have a 4.0 unweighted GPA and 1600 SAT/ and or 36 ACT. It will never come down to one semester of P/NP grade during this national emergency as a reason to deny a student. Some schools are limiting their requirements for standardized tests as a result of the pandemic.
What kind of support can I get with other methods of distinguishing myself as I apply for college?
The College Adviser as well as the Career and College Center Coordinator will work with students in defining and following their passions for:
- Community service
- Leadership ( in their home, school, community)
Colleges are impressed when students follow their own passions and when students make their choices based on their interest and not trying to impress colleges. If the traditional pathways above are not available because of our current reality, we will work with students in helping them find alternative ways of following their passions, such as tutoring classmates who are struggling with online coursework, volunteering to call potential donors for the blood bank, starting a support blog connecting with kids in other states and or countries, sending get well cards to patients in the hospital, etc.
Colleges will focus mostly on how all students dealt with all the challenges and refocused when things become normal again. Colleges will be looking at next year as the definitive year for juniors and seniors. Their resiliency, passion, compassion, and how they expressed it in their school and community.
How will this impact wellness?
Removing the letter grade will allow students to focus on learning and not a grade. Their stress level should go down, especially knowing that colleges will not count a P/NP semester against them. Most colleges have gone to P/NP for the same reason: to reduce stress and focus on learning for their own students. Colleges will be paying attention to what students have to say about how they got through this time.
Will graduations be impacted?
Although we will be moving to Pass/Not Passed grading status, all students will still have to do the work to earn the P toward graduation requirements. We will be working with the California Department of Education to explore exemptions from requirements unrelated to coursework for students due to graduate this year. Unfortunately, with the school closures in place through the end of the year, we will have to suspend traditional Senior Week activities and commencement ceremonies. We are exploring alternative options and have been gathering feedback from students, staff, and families on creative and inclusive ways of celebrating the Class of 2020, including postponing physical ceremonies until a time where social distancing guidelines are less restrictive.
Where can I get accurate and up-to-date information about the status of the coronavirus?
The California Department of Public Health is updating coronavirus statistics daily at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx.
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is also providing regular updates on the regional statistics at https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/home.aspx.