COVID - 19 Update

Martinez Unified School District - March 10, 2020

Dear MUSD Staff and Community

Each week, and often from day to day, we are seeing new guidance recommendations and regulations from both the California Department of Public Health and the Contra Costa County Health Services Department related to COVID - 19. As we, Martinez Unified School District, receive updated information or guidance on COVID-19 we will analyze that information, consult with the appropriate local agencies, and provide clear and honest communication to our staff and community as quickly as possible.


Today, as you have likely already seen, the County Health Services Department (CHSD) provided updated guidance and direction that will impact our school community. In addition to the efforts already in place, CHSD has advised the following additional measures for the next two weeks. In general, the measures are related to appropriate social distancing, especially in regards to non-essential events/activities. School is considered an essential activity.


At this time, County Health Services has not advised or directed MUSD to close any schools. However, there are recommendations and developments that require many adjustments to our extra-curricular activities. Martinez Unified is asking for the cooperation from our community with the following action steps and advisories for the next two weeks, based on the updated guidance from CHSD:


  • People at higher risk of serious illness should avoid mass gatherings of 50 people or more. The CHSD describes people who are at high risk as people who are 50 years old or older. Current evidence indicates that the risk of severe illness increases with age. The highest risk group is those 80 years and older, and people of any age who have underlying medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or chronic lung diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as well as those who are immunocompromised.


  • Cancelation or Postponement of large community events and gatherings where 50 or more people are within arm’s length of each other. This direction from County Health Services is related to nonessential activities and will require adjustments from MUSD and our community related to extracurricular events. Please note, these recommendations are suggested by CHSD for the next two weeks (through March 24th). These are also subject to change based on local developments and/or direction from County Health Services:


For the next two weeks:

  • For all sporting events associated with Alhambra High and/or Martinez Junior High School we ask that only adults essential for running the event be present. Spectator areas will be closed for attendance/viewing for students, parents, and community members. Please note, for away games, most other local districts in our county will be using a similar process for sporting events.

  • Other music-related events for schools will likely be postponed until later in the school year.

  • Please note, each MUSD school may have extra-curricular events that may need to be postponed and/or canceled based on these recommendations from County Health Services. We will work to provide timely communication regarding those specific events.


I completely understand that these developments will generate many questions from both our community and our staff. The one consistent element throughout this process has been change. I expect we will see additional changes within the next week or two as well. It is my goal to work with each school site and/or group to be as responsive as possible for the consideration of extracurricular event cancelations.


While I hope to address some of your anticipated questions in the remaining part of this message, please know that further communication will certainly continue both from individual school sites and from our District Office. Our goal is to provide you all with timely communication and updates while ensuring we are taking the proper time to be thoughtful about each decision, consult with the appropriate local agencies, and prepare accurate updates for staff and community. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) from the last few days:


  • What if a parent or student tests positive for COVID-19?

    • If that does occur, the County Health Services Department will be in contact with MUSD and we will, in consultation with CHSD, take action to respond to the developing situation. We have not been notified of any case at this time.


  • Are you going to close schools?

    • School closures are a possibility both in the near and distant future. Any decision regarding school closure would be communicated as soon as possible to our staff and community. We have reviewed the updated guidance this weekend from the California Department of Public Health as well as today’s guidance from County Health Services. In both cases, there is not a recommendation from County Health Services to close any MUSD schools at this time.

    • We will be meeting with members of our administration, our certificated and classified union leaders to review potential closure impacts, how to best support our students, our community, and our staff, should there be a need for future school closures.

    • This afternoon, I have already received a number of communications with questions about schools being open or closed. Please know that I do take the input from our community very seriously, however, we will be following the medical recommendations and advice on school closure(s) from County Health Services.


  • How will I find out if an event is canceled, postponed, or if it might be held with restrictions for those in attendance?

    • Given the new recommendations from CHSD, we will be working to communicate with all impacted groups as soon as possible. Please keep your eye out for communication from each individual school site and the District Office at this time.

    • In the coming days, we will be working to create one digital access point where our school district community as a whole can access updated information regarding events.

    • For the next two weeks, all outside facilities use rentals and permits for afterschool and/or weekend events will be canceled for outside (non-district) groups.


These are very challenging times and with each passing day things continue to change. I recognize that each of you has strong personal and professional viewpoints about what is the best course of action for MUSD. Please know, as Superintendent, I am committed to being as responsive as possible to these ongoing changes. I am focused on the overall health and welfare of our students, staff, and community. I will be working very closely with County Health Services to ensure all of their recommended changes related to school operations and/or potential closures are closely followed. I will remain in constant communication with our community in the coming days and weeks, including over the upcoming spring break.


Sincerely,


CJ Cammack

Superintendent

Martinez Unified School District