Message from the Superintendent
December 11, 2020
In this Message:
- Welcome to Our New Trustees
- OUSD COVID-19 Dashboard
- Message from Our Nurses
- Congratulations to our four OC Health Care Agency Mask Message Contest winners!
- Thank you, Orange Rotary!
- Orange Elks Christmas Basket Distribution
- Chapman Teacher Candidates Pilot Innovative OUSD Fieldwork Model
December 15: Board of Education Meeting
- December 17: Minimum Day (High Schools)
- December 18: Minimum Day (High Schools)
- December 21 - January 8: Winter Break
- January 12: Facilities Master Plan Virtual Town Hall, Canyon HS Feeder Schools
- January 13: Facilities Master Plan Virtual Town Hall, El Modena HS Feeder Schools
- January 14: Facilities Master Plan Virtual Town Hall, Orange HS Feeder Schools
- January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- January 20: Facilities Master Plan Virtual Town Hall, Villa Park HS Feeder Schools
Dear OUSD Community,
As next week’s Board of Education meeting approaches, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest Trustees, Ana Page (Area 3) and Angie Rumsey (Area 6). Their first meeting, which will be live-streamed for public viewing, will take place on Tuesday, December 15. Since this-coming meeting is on a Tuesday, the agenda will be posted on Saturday. As is customary, public comments will be accepted for the 48 hours preceding the meeting, starting at noon on Sunday and ending at noon on Tuesday. Links to the agendas and more are on the OUSD website at https://www.orangeusd.org/departments/board-of-education/agendas.
We have received numerous messages from our staff, families, and community about our COVID-19 Dashboard, as well as our athletic schedules, and I would like to address both topics publicly.
The OUSD COVID-19 Dashboard was designed to provide our community with information identifying confirmed student and staff COVID-19 cases on school campuses and at OUSD facilities while maintaining Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. While we have worked diligently to keep data current, some concerns have been brought up regarding accuracy and transparency. District staff is currently working to adjust the Dashboard to address the issues that have been noted and will always provide the most update and accurate information. Orange County’s COVID-19 Dashboard, including cumulative data, is available at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc
Many parents and community members have also been reaching out to me regarding the CIF State Office’s announced cancellation of all Regional and State Championship events from the Fall Season Sports calendar. Unfortunately, this situation is beyond our control and sports competitions are on hold until new youth sports guidance is provided. During the new Regional Stay at Home Order, the District’s athletic programs continue to operate sports conditioning and training. We eagerly await updated youth sports guidance from the California Department of Public Health and look forward to allowing our athletes to compete as soon as it is permitted. In the meantime, we must continue to follow public health guidance as we wait for an update. While the Board of Education can choose to enact more restrictive policies than state and county guidance indicates, they cannot create more liberal policies as this would be a violation of State Health Orders and result in potential closure of programs. As the parent of a student-athlete, I understand and share your frustrations. Current information from CIF suggests that an update to youth sports guidance can be expected early next year.
With the high number of community COVID-19 cases occurring in Orange County, it is important for everyone to continue to follow public health guidance. Please wear a mask, stay at least six feet from others, and frequently wash your hands. Together, we can help mitigate the spread of illness and move toward getting things back to normal.
A Message from our nurses
As healthcare professionals, school nurses are on the front lines helping to keep our campuses safe and COVID-free during this unprecedented pandemic. School nurses, with the help of dedicated school staff, have been diligent in limiting exposures. To date, on-campus transmissions are nearly non-existent.
With the current surge, it is critical that everyone consistently and correctly practice appropriate precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This requires everyone’s cooperation not only on campus, but also in each home and within the community at large to decrease the risk of spreading the virus. In addition to properly wearing a mask, socially distancing to the extent possible, and frequently washing hands, it is imperative that students:
- Commit to daily health checks at home prior to coming to school.
- Remain home if not feeling well or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Please inform the school of any illness.
- Do not come to school if a household member has tested positive for COVID-19. Please inform your school of absence due to quarantine.
- Do not come to school if a household member is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Please inform your school of absence due to possible exposure. Contact your healthcare provider to access testing for your household member.
- Do not come to school if a household member is awaiting COVID-19 test results. Please inform your school of absence due to possible exposure. If the household member’s test results are negative, students may return to school as long as no symptoms are present.
It is also important for staff to follow the health and safety guidance provided by the Human Resources and Risk Management departments.
We are committed to keeping our students and staff safe and healthy during school hours and appreciate your help.
Have a safe and happy holiday season.
OUSD School Nurses
Congratulations to our four OC Health Care Agency Mask Message Contest winners!
- Elementary Essay, Second Place: Payden - Chapman Hills Elementary
- Middle School Video, Second Place: Audrey - Santiago Charter Middle School
- High School Art, Second Place: Lucy - Villa Park High School
- High School Art, Third Place: Stone - Villa Park High School
- High School Video, Honorable Mention: Villa Park Spartans
The schools of the first-place winners will each receive a $7,000 technology grant, second place winners’ schools each receive a $6,000 technology grant, and third place winners’ schools receive $5,000 tech grants. Excellent work, Payden, Audrey, Lucy, and Stone! The winning video entries can be viewed online at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/mask-message-contest.
Thank you, Orange Rotary!
Though this has been a year full of change, we would like to thank Orange Rotary for their continued support of our teachers! Fifteen teachers were awarded $500 grants to continue to provide exceptional educational experiences for our students:
- Stephanie Sentell– California Elementary
- Kimberly Johnson – California Elementary
- Nicole Webber – Cambridge Elementary
- Sharon Cecchi – Crescent Elementary
- Robin Bleiweiss – Fairhaven Elementary
- Cindy Ottens – Fletcher Elementary
- Bree Martin - Imperial Elementary
- Kathy Nygaard – Olive Elementary
- Mandy Ballesteros – Olive Elementary
- Teresa Andrade - McPherson Magnet School
- Heather M. Irwin - Panorama Elementary
- Anastasia Sousa - West Orange Elementary
- Tammy Williams - Villa Park Elementary
- Tami Lewis - West Orange Elementary
- Katie Zeich - Yorba Middle School
Orange Elks Christmas Basket Distribution
The Orange Elks will be conducting their Annual Christmas Basket Distribution this Saturday, December 12, starting at 11 AM. This year, in cooperation with the City of Orange, they are hosting a drive-thru distribution behind city hall at 300 E. Chapman Ave. (enter the parking lot on Almond Ave.). OC Food Bank, Waste Not OC, and Spoof Dawgs to the Rescue are also participating this year to help make this an extra special Christmas for the first 200 families to arrive. More information is on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ElksofOrange.
Many thanks to the Orange Elks and their community partners for their support of our community!
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