November 17, 2020
Learning Model Registration for Remainder of School Year
Based on the commitment the school board made prior to the beginning of the school year, we will be sending out an official registration for parents to choose the learning model that is best for their student(s) for the rest of the school year this evening, November 17, 2020. Parents will have until December 4, 2020 to register their students. If a parent does not respond to the registration process, their student(s) will remain in the learning model in which they were enrolled in the first semester. Prior to assigning the learning model, we will, however, reach out via email, phone, and other site correspondence to any parent who has not submitted their registration by November 29th. This learning model registration will be in effect for the remainder of the school year. This means that students will be required to stay in the learning model they chose for the entire semester. Some programs and courses may not be available in each model as school schedules and classes are created based on student requests. This could mean that if you request a switch in learning models, your student’s teachers, elective choices, and class periods could change. As a reminder, we will be socially distancing, as practicable, in the Vista Classic learning model, which means that the class sizes are similar to a regular school year. Please note that parents will receive individual emails for the learning model registration and that these emails will have the sender listed as VistaUSDforms@vistausd.org.
Superintendent’s Council for Innovative Learning
We are excited to once again be reconvening our Superintendent’s Council for Innovative Learning with a diverse group of representatives from our community including students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, and board members. This council began their work last year, providing recommendations to the School Board for our two learning models, Vista Virtual and Vista Classic, and for the other areas of support with Health and Safety, Social-Emotional, Nutrition, and Technology. Starting back in the summer months, we anticipated reconvening the council in the fall to focus on refining our learning models, recommending adjustments and/or alternatives to the board to address the changing needs of our community during the pandemic. To this end, the council will be meeting on November 17th and December 8th to complete this task. Similar to our work in the summer, we will use Sprint Teams, small groups of targeted stakeholders who will meet separately, to have grade span-specific discussions, analyze options, and provide recommendations to the council. The council will then review the information gathered during the sprint team meetings, along with the information they developed, to reach consensus on their official recommendations to the School Board on December 15th. These recommendations may include adjustments or alternatives for our Vista learning models.
Vista Testing Center is Open - Please Do Your Part and Get Tested
We have successfully launched the opening of a new COVID-19 testing center in Vista at the Linda Rhoades Recreation Center located at 600 North Santa Fe Avenue. Thanks to the Vista City team, we have a new driveway entrance for citizens to safely park, and we have completed a safe pathway of travel to walk up to the center. The center is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. with no appointment necessary. They have a great team of security staff to ensure your safety while at the center.
I was the first person to take a COVID-19 test at the center last week. The process took less than 10 minutes, including the registration. The actual test took 30 seconds, with a gentle swab of the nose - 15 seconds in one nostril and 15 seconds in the other. It was completely painless and was over quickly. I received the results (negative in my case) a few days after in my personal email. The Health and Human Services Agency staff was cheerful and very professional. They have a variety of support in place for families related to health and safety, from answering questions to referrals for free services.
This new testing center provides the entire community of Vista with a huge advantage to get control of the COVID-19 virus and contain the spread. We need to leverage this opportunity by encouraging everyone in our community to get tested and respond to the results appropriately. Once we can identify where the virus is located, we can engage our health care teams to isolate and treat the virus efficiently. Our community leaders have demonstrated their commitment to robust collaboration to make this happen; it is now our responsibility as members of the community to do our part to collaborate on the use of the testing center. Thank you for your commitment to get your family tested. We are all in this together.
Health and Safety Update
Over the past seven days, the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, California, and right here in San Diego County has risen sharply. The county set a record for the number of new cases on November 14, with 1,087 new cases in a single day. Effective today, the state has pulled the "emergency brake" on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and placed 41 out of 58 counties into the State’s most restrictive tier, purple. Over 94% of Californians live in one of these 41 counties, including San Diego County.
Both state and county leaders are emphasizing the importance of individuals wearing a mask whenever they leave their homes, limiting mixing, practicing physical distancing, washing their hands, and staying home when not participating in essential activities. Because K-12 education is considered an essential activity in California, students who were attending school in-person before this change will be permitted to continue to attend school in person. As we approach the holiday season, The California Department of Public Health has released updated guidance for all Californians on face coverings, social gatherings, and travel outside of California and the US. San Diego County has released Guidance for Thanksgiving and Winter Holidays. The spread of COVID-19 will stop through the collective actions taken by each and every one of us. Please help to stop the spread in our community.
Schools Pivoting to Virtual
On Monday, there were three COVID-19 cases involving individuals at three separate secondary schools within the district, Vista Magnet Middle School, Rancho Buena Vista High School, and Madison Middle School. All three schools have temporarily suspended in-person instruction for students and pivoted to virtual learning. This shift was made pursuant to Board policy adopted on October 27th that requires the change in any case where three separate secondary schools with in-person instruction have one or more cases within a single 14-day period. All three schools are currently slated to return to in-person operations following the Thanksgiving break on Monday, November 30th.
Yesterday, following the press briefing held by Governor Newsom and Dr. Mark Ghaly from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) issued a brief statement. CIF explained that the release of updated guidance for youth sports has been postponed. Therefore, the current guidance remains in effect, and CIF competitions are not allowed at this time.
Teams may continue with the current practice schedule using existing guidance until further notification and updates from CIF-State and the CIF San Diego Section. As we learn more, we will update the community.
If you or your family are in need of health and wellness services, Vista Community Clinic (VCC) offers a number of great services for all ages, regardless of income or insurance status. They have seven locations between Vista and Oceanside and offer extended evening hours and weekend appointments. Health services include pediatrics, family medicine, women’s health, behavioral health, dental, optometry, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and podiatry, while support services include a food and diaper distribution and direct links to other county resources. Telehealth, or virtual appointments, are also offered for a majority of services. VCC is taking the extra step to schedule patients who are sick or symptomatic at different locations than patients who are well. They also offer outdoor “drive-up” clinics Monday through Friday for vaccinations and lab draws. The clinic is closely following all county and federal policies to ensure optimal patient health and safety while in the clinic, through routine disinfecting of exam rooms, requiring face coverings at all times, and screenings and temperatures of all staff, patients, and visitors prior to entering any of their locations. VCC is currently accepting new patients and offers free assistance to anyone in need of insurance enrollment. To learn more, simply call or text 844-308-5003 to speak with a VCC patient care representative who will take care of your health and wellness needs. As a source of community support since 1972, VCC wants local families to know that they are here to help you stay healthy.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District