Message from the Superintendent
Health Update | January 6, 2022
Dear Union School District Families and Staff,
Welcome back to school in 2022! We are already well into the first week of school in the new year. Being on the school campus, our kids are so happy to be back together again after the two week break. The joy of learning in person is vital and rest assured that USD is committed to maintaining in person learning through the current conditions with COVID. We strongly recognize the overwhelming benefits for our kids with in person learning and socialization with one's peers. Similar to what State Superintendent Tony Thurmond reiterated, schools will do everything they can to remain open for in-person learning amid the Omicron surge. You have my commitment that is the direction we will maintain to the best of our ability for the benefit of our students.
I do want to acknowledge the great work our district accomplished prior to the Winter holiday break as USD was able to provide every student and staff member with an at home COVID test kit. We were fortunate to have secured approximately 6,000 tests to provide that additional layer of testing before returning this past week. It made it easy for families and staff members to test prior to returning this past week.
In addition, our partnership with Grapefruit testing has been pivotal in supporting in person instruction this school year. Without missing a beat, our on site COVID testing continues in 2022 during the school day as an additional measure for our students and staff. USD is still committed to providing this additional support during the school day and if you would like to sign up your child for weekly no cost COVID PCR testing through Grapefruit you can fill out a consent form here.
Please be rest assured that USD is committed to keeping in-person learning safe. We feel strongly that children need to be in school for the richness of in-person learning and socialization. With multi-layered mitigation protocols such as universal masking indoors, frequent hand washing, ventilation and filtration, ongoing testing for COVID-19, vaccinations, and parent responsibility to keep symptomatic children home, we feel confident we are providing a safe learning environment. This newsletter outlines the up to date health information as we prioritize in person instruction and learning.
Given the current trend, we are seeing positive cases within our community and schools, but our focus is continuing with the known health and safety mitigation strategies as per the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH). This week being back we do have more students, teachers, and staff who are home isolating. USD is fortunate to have a large substitute pool that enjoys working in our District. However, at this time we are needing to adjust when we do not have enough substitutes. To cover staffing shortages, administrators and credentialed staff from other positions in the District will be covering classes when a substitute cannot be found. We see this as a short term situation for January as the CDPH forecasts that the peak of cases will be in the next two weeks, with predicted improvement in the next month.
In addition, for the time being, indoor events will be limited to household family members of the participants. This includes indoor athletics and other indoor events such as plays, concerts, performances. We currently are working with school sites as to any planned large events for January that can be postponed until February for the time being. Our number one priority remains to keep kids in school.
Thank you for your continued support as we work together for all of our students. As information changes I will most certainly keep you apprised and thank you again for the shared partnership to prioritize our students.
Vaccination Clinic for 5+ Year Olds
We are pleased to announce that USD has scheduled a third vaccination clinic for eligible USD students to receive their vaccination or booster (for any eligible student/staff member) through Safeway pharmacy. We understand that it can be challenging to get appointments to receive vaccinations so we are striving to make it as easy as possible for our families.
The vaccination clinics will take place on
January 24th and February 15th at Dartmouth Middle School from 3:30 - 7:30 pm
Pfizer Pediatric Dose 5-11 y.o
Pfizer Vaccine (12+ y.o) 1st, 2nd and booster for 12+ y.o
Please print and bring to your appointment: Filled out consent form
Bring to your appointment:
Medical and prescription card
CDC covid card if getting a 2nd/3rd dose
Santa Clara County Vaccination Appointments and Information
The COVID-19 Vaccines are safe, effective, and free to everyone ages 5 and up regardless of immigration or insurance status. Everyone ages 12 and older can get a booster.
After School Indoor Events and Sports
Grapefruit Community Testing Hub
The Grapefruit Community testing hub has been a great resource for our staff, families and community at large. Finding a location to get a COVID test can be challenging right now, but we are able to provide this to our community as a resource. They are located at Dartmouth and Union Middle School. The community testing sites are open daily and into the evening.
We understand that, due to demand, the line has been longer than usual, as is the case at many local testing sites. Also, we have learned that Grapefruit has added another lab in efforts to provide results within 24-72 hours.
Isolation Period Update from CDPH
Remember, keep your student home if experiencing any symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. COVID symptoms are presenting as cold-like symptoms for many, so stay home if experiencing any symptoms or if there is any concern about your student’s illness. Stay home if symptomatic. Notify your school office if your child or close contact is COVID-19 positive.
With newly updated isolation guidelines for COVID positive cases, students and staff members testing positive for COVID may return on the sixth day if they have no symptoms and produce a negative clinical antigen test (no at-home kits) on the fifth day and must continue to wear a mask at all times for an additional five days. This change is consistent with the CDC guidelines and has been approved by the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
USD will continue to maintain a District Dashboard of COVID-19 positive cases through the rest of the 2021-22 school year. The dashboard includes a weekly case count of students and staff by school site.
The District dashboard is published each Friday at 5pm and can be located on USD’s COVID-19 Information page at https://www.unionsd.org/about/covid-19-response#h.m61isujeu3an
Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent from getting and spreading COVID-19. When choosing a mask make sure your masks have multiple layers of fabric and:
Completely cover your nose and mouth
Fit snugly against the sides of your face and don’t have gaps
Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, until February 15, 2022. This requirement will be updated as CDPH continues to assess conditions on an ongoing basis.
An effective mask has both good fit and good filtration. A well fitted mask has no gaps between the face and mask, such as above the nose or at the sides. With gaps, air that has virus particles can easily leak in or out around the sides of the mask. Good fit forces the air that you breathe out and breathe in to go through the mask and be filtered. Good filtration blocks the virus particles from going through the mask itself. You can get good filtration with the right materials and by using more layers.
Good fit and filtration improve protection for others if you are infected and protection for you if you are exposed to an infected person.
Double masking is an effective way to improve fit and filtration. A close-fitting cloth mask can be worn on top of a surgical/disposable mask to improve the seal of the mask to the face. Layering more than two masks is not recommended as this could be difficult to breathe through. Also, it is not recommended to wear two medical masks, or to wear a medical mask on top of a KN95, KF94, or N95. Double masking may be appropriate where improved fit and filtration are especially important, and some situations where this may be considered are listed below.
Regardless of the mask type, it is only effective if it is worn over your mouth and nose.