Message from the Superintendent

February 19, 2021

In this Message:

  • 2021 National Merit Scholarship Corporation Finalists
  • Facilities Update
  • Safe Schools for All Plan’s Interactive Reopening Map
  • Job Opportunities
  • Child Development Center Preschool (Parent Pay) Now Enrolling
  • Emergency Rental Assistance Program
  • Orange County Youth Town Hall: Promoting Youth Mental Health and Well-Being through Resiliency and Community Connection

Upcoming Events

Dear OUSD Community,

Since reopening our schools for in-person instruction, the health and safety of our students and staff has been at the forefront of our efforts. To this end, we have been offering no-cost weekly voluntary COVID-19 testing opportunities to our staff and 9-12 grade students, and are happy to share that this opportunity is also being extended to our middle school students.

Students under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The next event will take place at El Modena High School on February 24. For more information, please contact the Office of Student and Community Services at 714-628-5424.

In addition to offering surveillance testing, we encourage any individual interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine to register at and download the free smartphone app from the Othena website. Currently, vaccine distribution is be open to all community members age 65 or older, and staff is working with OCDE to automatically register those in the education sector who meet the criteria of Phase 1A and wish to be vaccinated.

Within Orange County’s public schools, there are approximately 5,000 employees who are at least 65 years old, and the goal is to make sure they get appointments before the start of Phase 1B. Currently, about 25 percent of individuals 65 years or older have been vaccinated. Once we reach 50 percent of those who wish to be vaccinated within this age group, officials plan to start Phase 1B, which will include educators and school-based employees. It should take approximately three more weeks to reach 50 percent of the 65-and-older community based on vaccine supply projections.

Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to gear up for this monumental effort. Additional information will be provided as we receive more details.

Warmest Regards,

Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Orange Unified School District

OUSD’s COVID-19 Dashboard

As of January 2021, any student-athlete who is positive for COVID-19 and is on campus during their infectious period is included on the OUSD Dashboard, even if they are in 100% distance learning.

National Merit Finalists

We are pleased to announce that four OUSD students have been named National Merit Scholarship Corporation Finalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program:

  • Ryan Mahoney, Canyon High School
  • Karina Patel, Canyon High School
  • Anna Vaughan, Canyon High School
  • Dagny Parayao, El Modena High School

These academically talented high school seniors will now continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.

Over 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.

We are extremely proud to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Ryan, Karina, Anna, and Dagny, and wish them all the best as they move forward as National Merit Scholarship finalists!

Facilities Updates

El Modena High School Pool

Demolition of the original swimming pool at El Modena High School is currently underway. Construction of a new aquatics center, featuring a 30-meter pool and a locker room/restroom facility, will continue once the original facilities are removed. The new aquatics venue is scheduled to open in Summer 2022.

Canyon High School Gymnasium

The renovated Canyon High School gymnasium is nearing completion and will reopen to students for conditioning in mid-March. Features include a new hardwood floor with customized stain, new bleachers, upgraded restrooms, a new BOSE sound system, new entry doors, and new interior/exterior paint. The project, totaling over $1 million in improvements, was funded through a partnership between the Canyon High School Foundation and Orange Unified School District.

Safe Schools for All Plan’s interactive Reopening Map

The state recently launched an interactive Safe Schools for All Plan’s interactive Safe Schools Reopening Map, an online tool providing a statewide snapshot of the status of school reopenings across California. This map will display data from all school types – including school districts and charter and private schools – indicating status on reopening, safety planning and COVID-19 supports.

The California Department of Public Health will be adding other key data to the map, including outbreaks reported in each school district and whether the school has partnered with the Valencia Branch Lab for COVID-19 testing. To provide up-to-date information, schools will input their data every two weeks. Additional data – including student enrollment data – will be collected and displayed publicly, subject to legislative approval.

For more information, please visit the Safe Schools for All Hub:

Job Opportunities

Orange Unified School District is gearing up for its spring recruiting and hiring initiative. Are you interested in a profession that makes a positive impact in the community? If so, please visit our website at to view a vast array of employment opportunities that span from entry-level to upper management, classified and certificated. Join the Orange Unified family and Inspire our learners of today to be purposeful leaders of tomorrow.

Child Development Center Preschool (Parent Pay) Now Enrolling

Orange Unified School District’s Child Development Center currently has full-time openings for 3- and 4-year-olds. For more information, please call 714-628-5412.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The County of Orange's new Emergency Rental Assistance program is offering up to $10,000 for eligible renters who are unable to pay rent or utilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications are due by February 28.

Eligible households are renter households in which one or more people meets these criteria:

  • Qualified for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
  • Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;
  • Has a household income at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI) (visit the application website to view income limits); and
  • Assistance is not duplicative of any other federally funded assistance.

To apply, visit, text ERA to 898211, or call 211.

*Renters in Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Irvine are not eligible to apply. Those cities have their own rental assistance programs.

Orange County Youth Town Hall: Promoting Youth Mental Health and Well-Being through Resiliency and Community Connection

SAVE THE DATE! On March 3, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., a countywide town hall with parent, youth, and community organizations will convene to share information about the impact of COVID-19 on youth mental health and provide a platform for schools, families, and students to dialogue about OC resources that can address stressors and promote mental health among students in our community. Click here to learn more.

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We invite you to take a moment to follow Orange Unified on social media to receive the District’s latest news and announcements. Social media may also be a critical line of communication during emergencies and will be an excellent place for you to get up to date information: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube