PUSD Update

October 3, 2021

Message from the Superintendent

Dear Pasadena Unified Community,

I can’t believe we are in the month of October. It is encouraging to see that schools are in the middle of planning their harvest/fall festivals. I look forward to visiting as many of these outside events as possible. While we find opportunities to celebrate, the health and safety of our families is still and always will be a priority.

COVID-19 Update - Vaccination and Testing Protocols

Previously, the Board of Education approved two policies - one where all district employees will need to provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing, and the other where students ages 12 and over require either proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing with parental consent. We are using the Vaccination and Testing Submission System to facilitate parents’ submission of proof of vaccination.

As of the end of this week, we have received more than 4,400 responses to our COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Submission System. An email was sent with instructions to every staff member, primary parent/guardian, and student. It is important to the district to have the information submitted by everyone so we will be able to target our services. If you did not see a copy of the email in your inbox, please have your student log into their PUSD account to find a copy of the email, or contact your child's school to have your email address updated in Aeries. If your child is under the age of 12, please mark the appropriate option. The system will prompt you to select either the District’s testing program or your personal provider for testing. Should you choose District testing, you will receive instructions on how to provide parental consent. Please complete the Vaccination and Testing Submission by Friday, October 15, 2021.

The district has conducted 11,409 COVID tests during the month of September with only a .3% positivity rate. This percentage speaks to the positive efforts we are all making to keep us safe and healthy.

Good News About our Substitute Teacher Pool

For the very first time since the start of school, our substitute teacher pool has reached an 86.9 percent fill rate. A large pool of teachers allows us to continually provide quality education to our students. The increase is due in part to our new daily rate increase for substitute teachers to $200 and for long term assignments to $250. The increase has allowed us to be more competitive in our recruitment and sustainability plans to retain quality teachers for our children. Please continue to help us by spreading the word to our community.

Mental Health is Imperative

As we continue to deal with our new normal, we know that our mental health is a large part of our lives as we move forward. Our Human Resources Department has been working with our health and wellness leadership to develop a mental health outreach for staff.

Partnering with Care Solace, employees and their families listed on their medical plan can connect with mental health care resources and providers in the community. More information and details about the referral system will be available in the next three weeks.

State Superintendent of Schools Visit to Blair High School

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond visited the Blair campus on Thursday to promote the importance of literacy and biliteracy.

Thurmond toured a sixth grade dual language class, a high school science class and a biliteracy class for newcomer students. He was pleased to see, first hand, the great things happening for students. “It was remarkable to see the incredible progress these students have made in the short time they have been here,” said Thurmond. “This is all thanks to the amazing educators, administrators, and wraparound service Blair offers. I am proud to witness the work of these future leaders and world citizens.”

I look forward to sharing with you more success stories such as Blair.

Thank you and have a great week!


Brian McDonald, Ed.D.


Above, State Superintendent of Schools, Tony Thurmond, visits Blair High School.


Getting the vaccine will help protect our students and employees. COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages 12 and over. Get the COVID-19 vaccine to keep our community safe! www.pusd.us/vaccine

#VaccinatePasadena #PUSDproud @CityOfPasadena