January 22, 2021
Elementary Schools Will Shift to Minimum Days When Rain is Forecasted
After a thorough review with all 15 elementary school principals and direction from the school board members during last night’s board meeting, we will be instituting minimum days for all elementary schools when rain is forecasted. The reason for this adjustment to the school schedule is due to the increased risk of the spread of the virus if students eat their lunch inside their classrooms during a rainy day. Our school board members and principals feel that it is very important to maintain the continuity of daily instruction rather than pivot to virtual school; however, on days that are forecasted for rain, students will only attend school for three hours and fifteen minutes. The principals will provide all parents with details about the minimum day dismissal time for their school. Upon dismissal, students will be able to collect a sack lunch from the cafeteria and bring it home to eat. This new schedule adjustment will ensure the safety of our students and staff. All extracurricular programs, including AM/PM and ASES, will be canceled during the minimum day schedule. Please assist your school staff and pick your child up on time. We very much need your help on these inclement weather days to keep people safe. The COVID-19 virus is very pervasive in our community at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience that this schedule change may cause families; however, we need your help to continue to be vigilant with our health and safety efforts. To assist families to prepare for these minimum days, you will receive a notification from your school principal (both email and phone call) 48 hours prior to a minimum day. We will be using the local NOAA forecast for Vista, CA showing 30% or more chance of rain. We would like to thank families again for their grace, understanding, and most importantly, flexibility during these challenging times.
Update On The New CDPH Guidelines
On January 14th, the California Department of Public Health released the COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year. This new guidance provides schools and school districts with a set of guidelines for offering in-person instruction in a way that decreases health risks to students, staff members, and the general public. It is intended to update and supersede the CDPH guidance for schools that was released in July 2020. The guidance reflects an evolution of understanding and evidence related to the virus that causes COVID-19 and is based heavily on successful mitigation strategies that have been used in schools nationally and internationally.
Key mitigation strategies for schools offering in-person instruction include:
Require all students, staff members, and visitors to a campus to wear a face covering
Place students in stable groups that stay together
Ensure physical distancing between students and others by maximizing distance between desks and in no case allowing students to sit closer than four feet from one another
Provide adequate ventilation in classrooms and other rooms on campus
Require all students, staff members, and visitors to practice good hand hygiene
Quickly identify and exclude symptomatic individuals from campus, and exclude those who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19
Encourage all students and staff members to be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis whether they are symptomatic or not
All schools currently operating for in-person learning were given until February 1st to review their current operations and make adjustments where necessary. For the most part, Vista Unified elementary school classrooms were already in compliance with the new guidance. In cases of non-compliance, schools have already made the necessary adjustments to comply or will do so by the end of next week. This work has included moving or removing classroom furniture and hiring additional classroom teachers to reduce class sizes. Operating a robust in-person instructional program for our students while minimizing health risks has, and will continue to be, a priority for our school district.
COVID-19 Vaccination Update
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency is starting to ramp up vaccination access across the entire county. Click HERE to view a slide deck of the current status and a map of the new vaccination locations planned to open in the coming weeks.
Our Athletes Start Running
Monday, January 11th was a day of celebration for high school sports in VUSD as over 90 cross country athletes representing MVHS, RBVHS, and VHS officially began their season. It’s been ten long months since we have seen any high school sports competitions. VUSD high school cross country has consistently fielded championship teams from Vista High School’s first team to win a San Diego section championship over 60 years ago, to Rancho Buena Vista's CIF, State, and National Cross Country Title winner Kira Jorgensen (87’), to Mission Vista's current girl's team who qualified for the State finals in 2019, led by Bella Longo earning the title of League and CIF champion.
High school athletics is far more than winning championships. At its best, high school athletics provide an environment for young athletes to grow into leaders, as expressed by ASB President, David Kolivayko (RBVHS Senior), "Cross country has not only helped me become a better runner but also a good leader at school.”
Kayla Uhlmansiek (VHS Junior) sums it up best when she says, “It’s been a lot of training on our own. We are like a family. We just want a chance to race in real competitions again.” The desire and need to compete is further expressed by Emily Sykes (MVHS Senior) “I am looking forward to our upcoming cross-country season because our team has been training incredibly hard and putting in a lot of effort, mentally and physically, to keep pushing ourselves, and we are more ready than ever to compete again!”
If you happen to see cross country athletes running through Vista Unified communities proudly representing their schools you are encouraged by head coaches, Rob Putnam (VHS), Erica Glennon / Nathan Perez (RBVHS), and Steve Peppard (MVHS) to “wave and give us a thumbs up!”
WaveCrest Cafe New Support
After positive community feedback, Nutrition Services has decided to transition virtual meal service to once a week on Wednesdays. All distribution times, except for Foothill Oak, will remain the same. Foothill Oak will now distribute meals from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. In addition to once a week distribution, we will begin offering bulk produce based on seasonal availability. We are working with milk distributors to transition from multiple half pints of milk to offering a gallon of milk when you pick up. We anticipate this change happening in the next couple of weeks. We look forward to serving you at the next meal distribution on Wednesday. Click HERE to view the flyer.
Social, Emotional and Mental Health Supports
School Counselor Support
School Counselors are available over the phone (se habla Español) during regular school hours to provide support with ongoing social emotional needs facing our students and families, such as mental health supports, behavioral supports, and academic challenges. Families and students can contact their school counselor directly through the numbers and emails linked below. They may also contact Student Support Services by phone at (760) 726-2170 ext. 92180 or by email at MichelleWalsh@vistausd.org.
School Social Worker Support
Our School Social Work team will be available via phone weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to talk with parents and students regarding behavioral and/or social emotional concerns for students. The team is here to help support students during this challenging time. Please call 760-726-2170 ext. 92190.
Both school counselors and district school social workers can assist with referrals to therapeutic and behavioral services. We have Full Service Partnerships (FSP) with four local providers in North County. These partnerships offer case management; therapy for families, groups, and individuals; psychiatric evaluation; medication management; and crisis intervention. The FSP will address the total needs of the family whose child is experiencing significant emotional, psychological, or behavioral problems that are interfering with their well-being. Find out about all our FSPs by clicking here.
We also have forged partnerships with non-governmental organizations who provide a variety of support services. These include Elizabeth Hospice, Trauma Intervention Program, Boys to Men Mentoring Services, North County Lifeline, North County LGBTQ Center, Rady’s Children's Hospital, North County Crisis Intervention and Response Team, Aurora Behavioral Health, Project AWARE, McAlister Institute, and Vista Community Clinic Behavioral Services. School counselors, district school social workers or Student Services Coordinator Michelle Walsh can assist in making a connection with these organizations or with navigating private insurance.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District