Message from the Superintendent

March 11, 2022

Upcoming Events

  • March 15: Chapman Hills ES Open House; Cerro Villa MS Open House
  • March 22: Handy ES Open House; Portola MS Open House
  • March 24: Olive ES Open House; West Orange ES Open House; Yorba MS Open House; OUSD Home School K-8 Open House
  • March 25: End of 3rd Quarter - Minimum Day (High Schools)
  • March 28 - April 1: Spring Break

In this Message

  • Change to Face Mask Guidance
  • National Merit Scholarship Finalists
  • Principal for a Day

Dear OUSD Families,

In alignment with our Safety & Health-Driven Plan, Orange Unified continues to follow public health guidance and mandates to allow for full in-person instruction in the safest way possible. At no point in time have we created stricter guidance than our county and state.

As a reminder, current guidelines indicate:

  • The first day of in-class instruction with voluntary masking – both outdoors and indoors – will be Monday, March 14. This includes preschool and CARES.
  • There will be no distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated in the state masking policy.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will be updating K-12 Schools Guidance to reflect that masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated students and staff members in K-12 settings, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings effective March 12.

The updated CDPH guidance aligns with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recommends that schools use the same guidance as general community settings, meaning masks are not required in areas that have low or medium levels of COVID-19 transmission and sufficient hospital capacity. For counties with high COVID-19 community levels, the CDC recommends the wearing of masks in public indoor spaces, staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, and testing for those who have symptoms.

CDC COVID-19 Community Levels

Check for updates on your county status here.

We remain committed to fostering supportive school environments where we respect individual choice for those who choose to continue wearing masks and those who choose not to wear masks. We ask that you also respect and support personal choice and treat each other with respect and kindness.

We understand that the state lifting the mask requirement may cause anxiety for some people, especially those who are at higher risk for COVID or live with someone who is at higher risk. Please note that mask wearing is still strongly recommended by the state and is an option for every student or staff member who wishes to wear one at any time.

We also understand that others who do not support masking in schools will continue to share their opinion that masking should end immediately.

Orange Unified School District will continue to follow other COVID-19 precautions and guidance, including frequent hand washing, enhanced ventilation, cleaning and disinfecting practices, and case tracking. Face masks will continue to be provided upon request. Current volunteer processes and testing requirements will remain unchanged.

As we begin to transition from pandemic response into a new chapter where we can use more routine disease control tactics, we will not only be ready for if and when something changes, but we have built stronger and more flexible systems for the future.

Thank you for your partnership and support as we continue to navigate what is hopefully the transition from a pandemic to endemic state. I truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we take every step to preserve the health of our students and staff while keeping our community as safe and healthy as possible.

Warmest Regards,

Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools
Orange Unified School District

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National Merit Scholar Finalists

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 15,000 Finalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Orange Unified is pleased to announce the following Finalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program:

  • Jayson Hall, Canyon High School
  • Jeremy Letrac, Canyon High School
  • Ethan Nguyen, Canyon High School
  • Ohm Patel, Canyon High School
  • Laila Hamidi, El Modena High School

These academically talented high school seniors will now continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

We are extremely proud to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Jayson, Jeremy, Ethan, Ohm, and Laila and wish them all the best as they move forward as National Merit Scholarship finalists.

The selection of some 7,500 Merit Scholarship winners from the group of more than 15,000 Finalists is now in progress. National Merit Scholars each receive a $2,500-a-year National Merit Scholarship, a corporate-sponsored scholarship, and/or a college-sponsored scholarship. National Merit Scholarship winners of 2022 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.

Principal for a Day

The Orange Unified School District celebrated Principal for a Day throughout its campuses on Thursday, March 3. This year’s event partnered a business leader or community member with a school principal and allowed the participant an opportunity to observe a glimpse of a principal’s daily responsibilities. The purpose of the program is to foster relationships within the community and to share the outstanding work of OUSD teachers, students, and staff.

A virtual event was hosted by the District Office, which included opening remarks by Superintendent Gunn Marie Hansen. Ph.D.

Principal for a Day Event

The District is pleased to offer this program and wishes to thank the following business and community leaders for their participation in the Principal for a Day program:


Anaheim Hills: Phillip Waimrin, General Manager-Raising Canes in Anaheim

California: Sue Thotz, Senior Program Manager-Common Sense Education

Cambridge: Mark Murphy, Mayor, City of Orange and Victoria Johnson, Miss City of Orange

Canyon Rim: Andrea Yamasaki, Orange Unified School Board President

Chapman Hills: James Robbins, General Manager-Americas Dynabooks US

Crescent: Danny Green, Mechatronics/Robotics Engineer, NASA JPL

Esplanade: Jane Avila - Associate Executive Director-YMCA of Orange County

Fairhaven: Gil Hernandez - Police Commander-Santa Ana Police Department

Fletcher: Kim Le, Proprietor-Pacific Conservatory Music Academy

Handy: Jean Wagner, Assistance League of Orange

Imperial: Mark Hannon, Vice President-Restaurant Depot

Jordan: Christina Kendler, Executive Assistant-Community Foundation of Orange Kids Play Program

La Veta: Adan Cali, Manager of Foundation and Community Initiatives-Los Angeles Angels

Lampson: Aaron and Laci Willis, Accounting Professors-Chapman University

Linda Vista: Glenn Osako, Account Director-Microsoft

McPherson: Ed Andrade, Retired Police Force and Teresa Andrade, Retired STEM Teacher

Nohl Canyon: Stefanie Cevallos, NCSA President of Parent Group

Olive: Gage Bowen, Firefighter/Paramedic Station 4 - City of Orange

Palmyra: Dr. Margie Curwen, Professor-Chapman University

Panorama: Dr. Terri Iler, Manager-CHOC’s Mental Health Education Program

Prospect: Adam Brody, CEO-Strategic Kids

Running Springs: Doug Kruger, Scoreboard Operator-Los Angeles Angels

Serrano: Sean McDurmett, School Resource Officer-Orange County Sherrifs Department

Sycamore: Aaron Soto, Aws Amazon Sr. Partners

Taft: Jose Flores, GRIP Officer/Investigator-OC District Attorney’s Office

Villa Park: Donna Czekalski, R.W.B. Party Props and Parent Volunteer

West Orange: Audra Milliken, Director Youth Program-American Heart Association


Cerro Villa: Jeree Gooing, Manager, Education Partnerships-Discovery Education

Portola: Allan Aguinaga, Corporate Executive Chef-Rodrigo's Mexican Grill

Yorba: Neilou Mogharabi, Associate Director of Professional Learning (ADPL)-Verizon Innovative Learning Schools


Canyon: Robert Akscyn, Retired Computer Science and Entrepreneur-Chapman University

El Modena: Linda Manion, Verizon Instructional Coach-Yorba Middle School/OUSD

Orange: Aaron Jacoby, IT Director, CIK Power Distributors

Richland: Audra Jordan, Treasurer-Canyon School

Villa Park: John Valentine, Realtor and Former OHS Graduate

Parkside Ed Center: Jesse Crockett, School Resource Officer-Orange Police Department

We invite you to take a moment to follow Orange Unified on social media to receive the District’s latest news and announcements. Social media may also be a critical line of communication during emergencies and will be an excellent place for you to get up to date information: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube