January 10, 2022
On behalf of the Vista School Board of Trustees, we would like to wish everyone a happy new year and welcome students and families back to school starting on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. We are excited to get started on the second half of the school year, providing engaging and safe learning environments for all students. We have much planned for the next six months and look forward to working in partnership with families to support student learning and achievement.
You May Be Eligible For Up To a $3,600 Child Tax Credit
Recently, the United States Government created a Child Tax Credit opportunity for families that can provide up to a $3,600 tax credit per child. Sadly, there are many families in our community that have not yet taken advantage of this financial benefit. Even though the tax credit has not been extended into the current year, families still have access to the tax credit for the 2021 year. The Vista Unified Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team of liaisons has joined with researchers from UCSD to assist families. The UCSD team has created a survey for families to provide information and a tool to determine if they are eligible to receive this benefit. We will send the survey to all families in the coming days. By participating in this survey, you may learn that you are eligible for free assistance collecting the new child benefit. The survey is voluntary and takes seven minutes to complete. The data from this survey will only be available to the UCSD research team. Parents are under no obligation to participate in the survey; however, we feel it is important to inform parents about this valuable opportunity. Please complete the survey by January 31st for priority access to the free assistance and research study. For more information, please visit the San Diego Education Research Alliance.
Professional Learning for Educators and Staff
All Vista Unified Schools will be adjusting the school calendar to include two non-student days in the spring months. The two non-student days will be scheduled between March and May 2022. The purpose for this adjustment is to ensure that our teachers and staff have access to new professional development and training to support students academically, socially/emotionally, and behaviorally. Specifically, these two days will focus on deepening the knowledge and expertise of teachers and support staff addressing student achievement, curriculum, competency-based assessment, trauma-informed practices, and implicit bias. We will be confirming the exact dates for both non-student days in the coming weeks so that families have more than two months to prepare.
The addition of these non-student days will not impact the end date of the school calendar for students, which is June 8, 2022. Even with the reduction of two school days, Vista Unified will remain within the Education Code instructional minutes requirement for middle and high school grade levels. We will be adding a few minutes to the elementary daily school schedules to remain within compliance. It is important to note, however, that Education Code 48980 does require that parents and guardians are notified of a calendar change one month prior to any revision.
Let’s Work Together to Keep Students Healthy and Staff Safe this Month
Without question, COVID-19 has brought its share of challenges, not just for our schools but also for our daily lives. In December alone, we experienced a 50% increase in COVID cases throughout our district from the previous year. Rest assured, we are prepared to face any challenge that may come our way in 2022 as we are committed more than ever to keeping our schools safe and our students learning in-person. Schools are the safest place for students because of the many different procedures and protocols we have in place, including mandatory testing of staff, mandatory mask wearing while indoors, upgraded air filtration in classrooms, and a host of cleaning procedures performed on campuses daily.
As more and more students become vaccinated, we are seeing fewer students needing to quarantine, and over the past few months, we have implemented a test and stay model for our middle and high school students. The test and stay option allows an unvaccinated student to stay in school if they provide a negative COVID test at certain intervals during their quarantine period and remain symptom free. We are now working on plans to bring that model to our elementary classes.
One of the most important, yet simple, mitigating measures against COVID-19 is wearing a face mask. When consistently and properly worn, a face mask can reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus as a mask will reduce the spread of respiratory droplets in the air when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. With the cold and flu season upon us, now is not the time to become relaxed on the guidelines in place to keep ourselves and our students safe. We ask that you and your students continue to properly wear a face mask when indoors at all school sites, offices, and sporting events. We have three-ply surgical masks available for all students.
Here are six reasons to stay the course when masking up:
Masks are proven to work.
Masks could help quash the pandemic.
Masks could save lives.
Vaccines do not eliminate the need for masks.
Young children have just become eligible for the vaccine.
Masks may prevent more than just COVID-19.
Check out the new CDC Guidance: How to select and properly wear, clean, and store masks.
Vista COVID Testing Centers Are Everywhere
Vista Unified is proud to offer four testing centers throughout our community for those in need of a COVID-19 test. During the month of December, over 7,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted. Testing sites can be found at the following locations and are open to the public.
VISTA INNOVATION CENTER
836 OLIVE AVE
VISTA, CA 92083
Mon. - Fri., 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
(Mon. and Wed. until 5:00 pm)
VISTA ADULT TRANSITION CENTER
325 EAST BOBIER DRIVE
Vista, CA 92084
Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
RANCHO BUENA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL
1601 Longhorn Dr.
Vista, CA 92081
Mon. - Fri., 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
MISSION VISTA HIGH SCHOOL
1306 Melrose Dr.
Oceanside, CA 92057
Mon. - Fri., 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
COVID and Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics published the Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report on December 30, 2021. This report is very helpful in illustrating the increase in COVID-19 infections in children during the span of a few weeks in December. Specifically, there was a 64% increase in positive cases among children during the week ending on December 30th as compared to the previous week across the United States. One positive data trend is that, of the over 900 children hospitalized in the U.S. due to COVID-19, only 0.4% were fully vaccinated. The single greatest protection for children against infection is to get vaccinated. Vista Unified has multiple locations across the district that are providing vaccinations for children and adults. Please join us in getting Vista vaccinated.
Vista’s Got Talent and Festival of the Arts Are Back
The Festival of the Arts is returning on March 12, 2022. Please mark your calendars for a day filled with impressive visual and performing arts outdoors by students throughout the school district. More details to follow.
Vista’s Got Talent is back, too! We have made arrangements for young musicians and dancers of all ages to step onto the big stage outside at the Moonlight Amphitheatre under the lights and show their incredible talent on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. We have made arrangements for all performances to be supported by professional sound and light technicians so that families and the community can appreciate the talent our students have
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District