Dear Sweetwater School Community,
The Sweetwater Union High School District and Sweetwater Counseling and Guidance Association are pleased to have reached agreement on a comprehensive memorandum of understanding (linked here) related to our provision of distance counseling during the COVID-19 related school closures. We recognize that this may be a challenging time for our students, families and staff, however, we are committed to ensuring a high-quality educational program to support our students academically and emotionally.
The memorandum of understanding’s key points include:
1. District shall establish a Districtwide student schedule to provide a daily routine for our students during the closure, including how to access educational and social-emotional guidance opportunities through remote counseling and supports. Counselors will share with students when they are available to provide assistance.
2. Counselors will determine the best method of assisting students remotely during their work day, such as via email, online meeting or phone, including determining if their student’s needs are better met flexibly outside the timeframe set in the Districtwide Student Schedule. Counselors will share their support plan with administrators weekly identifying their priorities (such as assisting seniors in completion of graduation requirements, master scheduling work, or meeting with students that may need additional supports).
3. District will provide counselors training and supports during the transition to distance counseling that are self-directed and counselor co-created. This ongoing professional development will be coupled with existing PLC and staff meeting structures ensuring site teams can support the school community together.
4. Recognizing that maintaining connections with students during the closure is a team effort, counselors will work with administrators to assist teachers in contacting students who are not participating in distance learning and with whom teachers are unable to otherwise connect.
5. Counselors will not be expected to work on site during the closure, in accordance with the County and Statewide orders and in modeling “stay at home” order to our community. Trips to school sites to gather materials or to access resources need to be pre-approved by the principal to ensure everyone’s safety.
6. Counselors will not have to worry about loss of pay or benefits so long as they are able to work remotely providing quality counseling supports to students.
We appreciate the collaboration during this uncertain time that has resulted in a memorandum of understanding that focuses on meeting the needs of our students, counselors, and school community.
Karen Janney, Ed.D.
Sweetwater Union High School District
Sweetwater Counseling and Guidance Association