Message from the Superintendent

July 10, 2020

Dear Orange Unified Community,

The physical and mental health and safety of our students, staff, and community are paramount to all that we do. Orange Unified staff continues to work closely with local, state, and federal agencies to make informed decisions that align with public health guidelines. We intend to open on August 19, as scheduled, as long as we can do so safely and public health guidelines allow.

Orange Unified staff has been preparing for various scenarios the new school year may face. Enhanced health and safety measures have been implemented over the summer, including increased cleaning and sanitation, the installation of Plexiglass shields, the addition of signage and physical distance reminders, and procurement of items such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant and handwashing stations.

Staff is also exploring ways to creatively tackle some challenging logistics, such as classroom configuration options that maximize the health and safety of our students and staff, transportation for students while accommodating physical distancing, and how to handle meal times most efficiently.

We realize there is not a one-size-fits-all solution and are working to provide options to best support the needs of our diverse community. The Reimagining Schools Task Force, using input received through a Family Survey and guided by our core values - integrity, equity, respect, and excellence - has been working on various educational options to offer to families. Proposals include full-day on-campus instruction, a hybrid on-campus and virtual model, and the opportunity for 100% off-campus virtual learning using online instruction. The Board of Education will review these recommendations at their meeting on July 23.

We thank you for your patience as we navigate the fluid dynamics created by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Reimagining Schools Presentation & Family Survey Data

Slideshow Presentation from the June 25 Board of Education Meeting

Reimagining Schools: Resources

Resources for Students, Parents, and Staff

Help is Available!

Ongoing uncertainty and disruption to our daily lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are stressful and can be difficult to process. If you need immediate mental health or emotional support, please contact 911 or your family doctor. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. They can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

For non-emergency situations, families can find useful resources through the Trauma Intervention Program and Care Solace. Student and Community Services can also help connect students in need with one of our school psychologists. With summer hours, this is not for emergency or critical use. If you are interested in this service, please call (714) 628-5424. Someone will respond to you within 24 hours on weekdays.

In-Person Graduation Update

It is with a heavy heart that we share the graduation ceremonies we hoped to host at Fred Kelly Stadium at the end of the month will not be able to proceed as planned.

Though we were all looking forward to celebrating our graduates together, we must put the health and safety of our students, staff, and community first. Current state public health directives prohibit community gatherings, defined as meetings or other events that bring together persons from multiple households at the same time for a shared or group experience in any indoor or outdoor space. These gatherings are not permitted at this time because they create an elevated danger of COVID-19 transmission and spread.

We realize this is another disappointment during what has already been a very challenging year. Regardless, we are proud of our Class of 2020 and the resilience, fortitude, and perseverance they have demonstrated. These traits will serve them well throughout their lives, and we wish them nothing but the best.

The virtual graduation ceremonies for Canyon High School, El Modena High School, Orange High School, Parkside & Richland High School, and Villa Park High School, as well as video of the Victory Lap around the Orange Plaza, are available on YouTube.

On-Campus Sports Update

Districts across Orange County received notice from the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) confirmed that in-person youth sports, including conditioning activities, are not permitted at this time. Until there is specific guidance provided by CDPH regarding recreational team sports or school-based sports, school districts have been advised not to operate summer youth athletic programs.

In accordance with this notice, Orange Unified athletic programs will transition back to distance training until state and local advisories change.

While we understand this is disappointing, the health and safety of our students and staff are paramount. We will continue to monitor public health guidelines and update procedures as necessary.

Once CDPH releases statewide guidance, OCDE will work with the local public health officer to consider community-specific conditions for the safe implementation of statewide guidance to reinstate school athletic programs.

We would like to invite you to take a moment to follow our district on social media to receive our latest news and announcements. Social media may also be a critical line of communication during emergencies and will be a great place for you to get up to date information: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube