October 20, 2020
Today was truly a joyful day for the Vista community. More than 9,000 students returned to 28 school campuses across the district after eight months of waiting. This move back onto campus was the result of over five months of collaboration, board meetings, and community feedback. Seeing students back on campus really served to reignite the passion we all have for the children of our great district. The journey to get our school reopened was not easy and involved significant debate; however, our community came together under the leadership of our School Board to make this a reality for our parents and students who chose Vista Classic in-person learning. We have a fantastic group of classified staff, teachers, and administrators who worked tirelessly to make today such a beautiful day for kids. Our health and safety measures were working well, with mask-wearing and handwashing particularly strong on all campuses. We will continue to refine arrival, dismissal, and lunchtime routines for students as they relearn how to interact with their friends in this new social distancing environment.
Here are a few quotations that I heard from some students and a parent that captured the spirit of today:
A Kindergarten student commented to me as I visited her classroom: “Hello, I just love my new teacher.”
A freshman at Rancho Buena Vista High ran up to me and said: “Are you Dr. Doyle? I just want to say thank you for bringing us back to school. I already love it here!”
“As a parent of a VHS senior and a 2nd grader, who was able to see true, genuine smiles on her two kids this morning as they went to school for the first time in 7 months-- I commend you and the board for fighting for our children and making sure that all VUSD families that chose Classic, were able to be back in class today.”
Health and Safety
The State released new public health metrics for all 58 counties in California today, and San Diego saw a slight negative uptick in our numbers. The chart below shows that the new adjusted average number of new cases on a daily basis is 7.0 per 100,000 residents. Fortunately, this number is considered below the Purple Tier (7.1 or higher).
San Diego County’s percent positivity (that is the number of COVID-19 tests taken that produced a positive result) is still solidly within the Orange Tier (Tier 3) and also trended upwards slightly.
As a reminder, when determining the overall status of the county, the state uses the lower scoring metric. In our case, that means they will use the red metric (new case rate) in evaluating our status as a county. It is also very important to remember that it takes two consecutive weeks to move into a lower tier. Because we are currently in the Red Tier (Tier 2), we will remain a Red Tier county for at least two more weeks.
What is Next?
As a community, it is vital that we continue to follow the recommendations of public health officials. We need to stop and reverse the upward trends in these metrics in San Diego County. At this point, even a small increase in the new case rate can start the process of moving the county into the more restrictive Purple Tier. That is exactly what happened to our neighbors to the north in Riverside County just this week.
Next Tuesday, October 27th around noon, we will receive another update from the State of California. Our collective efforts to keep one another healthy and safe can and will make a difference.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District