May 6, 2020
Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week
This is a truly special week. It is a time for us all to recognize the tremendous contributions that teachers and support staff make to our students and families from the first smile a child receives when they come onto campus for the first time to the words of encouragement they receive from their teachers and support staff as they develop new skills and abilities. Our team of teachers and classified staff is responsible for transforming this district into the model of educational excellence and innovation. We thank you for your dedication, your incredible work ethic, your passion, your belief in the potential of every student, and your patience as we work through this new challenge together as a unified school district. Happy teacher and staff appreciation week!
San Diego County Health and Human Services Revised Health Order
Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s Health Officer, revised the health order for all citizens of San Diego County on May 1, 2020. The new health order specifically prohibits all “public or private schools, colleges and universities from holding classes or other school activities where students gather on the school campus.” The order also prohibits “all public or private gatherings” other than family members. Unlike the previous order, this new health order remains in place until further notice. The reasons Dr. Wooten cited for establishing these orders include the following: to continue to slow the transmission of the Covid-19 disease, to protect the most vulnerable members of the public, to preserve critical and limited health care capacity, and to follow guidance from the Governor of California’s Executive Orders. Click HERE to view the official health order.
While the cases of infection in San Diego County are significantly lower than other parts of the country, the rate of infection continues to climb.
Vista Unified End-of-Year Activities
In light of the recent San Diego County Health Order, Vista Unified administrators and staff are in the preliminary stages of planning for end-of-year activities. We will continue to hold out hope that the health orders may change in the coming weeks to allow for some sort of public gathering; however, it is necessary for us to start to work with students, parents, and staff to prepare for a set of alternative events. These alternative events will likely replace traditional celebrations like annual awards ceremonies, kinder; fifth and eighth grade level promotion ceremonies; and, unfortunately, high school graduation ceremonies. Each principal will be pulling together a team within their school community to create and implement alternative plans to acknowledge and celebrate our students in a personal and significant way. We feel that this school-based approach is the most meaningful as every school culture is unique.
We have already started to make arrangements for alternative celebrations for the senior class of 2020. A team of student leaders from each high school, with support from Vista Unified staff, has developed a comprehensive plan to celebrate all seniors for their educational accomplishments. These celebrations and activities include a senior celebration video for every high school, virtual senior awards ceremonies, student of the year presentations, senior activities week, and senior yard signs. The team is still discussing plans for a virtual graduation or a physical graduation later in the year when permissible. Below, you can check out the latest Vista Works for You video focusing on the senior celebration planning.
Impacts on Vista Unified 2020-21 Fall Semester
In addition to addressing the challenges of the current school closures, all school districts have been advised by Governor Newsom to start to make arrangements for a hybrid style of school structure for the fall of 2020. We do not know specifically what this may mean for Vista schools; however, to address this topic, I have created the Superintendent's Council for Innovative Learning. This new council will be composed of representatives from our community, including teachers, students, parents, and administrators, to investigate, discuss, and design a hybrid learning model that will be flexible enough to comply with county and state health order, while, at the same time, will allow for students, teachers, and staff to engage in some type of in-person learning. We will create a webpage dedicated to this in the coming weeks so that all parents, students, and staff can follow the design work. Our goal is to have a hybrid learning model for the 2020-21 school year complete by June 30, 2020.