IUSD Begins Emergency Distance Learning Preparations due to Coronavirus Concerns


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Students and staff will prepare for a potential transition into a digital classroom setting under Irvine Unified’s Emergency Distance Learning (EDL) protocol.

Jenny Won, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

UPDATE (03/13/20) 12:50 p.m.: President Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency earlier today. At 12:45 p.m. on March 13, the Orange County superintendent recommended the closure of all public schools. The Portola Pilot will continue to update on the situation as district officials confirm the details of the situation specific to Irvine Unified. More information regarding the county-wide decision can be found on the OC Register.

UPDATE (03/13/20) 9:20 a.m.: The neighboring Los Angeles Unified School District and San Diego Unified School District both announced the cancellation of all in-person classes until April 6. Private schools Crean Lutheran High School, Orange Lutheran High School and Sage Hill High School also closed and are currently in the process of transitioning to digital learning.

Original story posted 03/12/20

All staff will be trained for Emergency Distance Learning (EDL) procedures on March 17 due to recent changes in Irvine Unified and state policy regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The bell schedule will be modified to begin at 10:50 a.m. for all students on that Tuesday, in addition to the late start the following day for ninth grade physical fitness testing. There will be another 9:30 a.m. late start on March 24 for additional teacher training.

The EDL protocol is intended to prepare students and staff in case of a forced school shutdown, in which lessons will need to be conducted digitally. Throughout the week of March 17, staff members will instruct students about the online learning process. The protocol is intended to be completed before spring break, according to email communication from principal John Pehrson.

With concerns over the rapid spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health ordered the cancellation or postponement of all gatherings of 250 or more people or within confined spaces. As a result, several upcoming school events including the college and career fair, the instrumental music trip to Carnegie Hall and other gatherings have been postponed until further notice. Most high school athletic events will continue without spectators. 

As of today, there has been no recommendation to close school operations. As a result, Irvine Unified schools will remain open until further notice from state or district officials. 

EDL is a cautionary measure in case of a future shutdown, not a certain indicator for panic. Administration discourages the spreading of false rumors and encourages students and parents to get their information through official district and government sources.

Future updates can be found on Irvine Unified’s official COVID-19 resource page as well as through the official websites of the California Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Orange County Health Care Agency and the Orange County Department of Education.