An Important Update from TTUSD

January 7, 2021

A message from Superintendent Ghysels

Dear Parents and Community Members,

Happy 2021! I think we’re all relieved to say goodbye to 2020 and ring in this new year.

We held a board meeting last night and discussed the feasibility of safely reopening our schools in a few weeks.

Students remain the focus of all of our decisions. We want more than anything to welcome our students back to campus for in-person learning. We miss them terribly, and we realize the toll that distance learning is having on everyone’s mental well-being.

I was hoping to announce today the reopening of our schools in hybrid on January 19. Unfortunately, there was a huge surge of COVID cases in December, with another one expected this coming week, following the New Year’s holiday. In December alone, the number of COVID cases represented 46% of all cases within Placer County since last March. This coupled with the huge influx of visitors in Tahoe the past few weeks, gives me concern that the numbers of active cases of COVID could spike again. The last thing any of us want is to open and have to close schools again.

After a great deal of thought, we have decided to wait a few more weeks so we can truly evaluate the impact of these past two holidays and people not adhering to the regional stay-at-home order.

As I said, students are the focus of our decisions. Pivoting back and forth isn’t what’s best for them. I want us to safely reopen and stay open and need more data to feel secure that we would be able to do just that. The next two weeks will provide enough data to see the effects of these past few weeks and to assess the safety and feasibility of reopening.

I know this is not what you wanted to hear, and it’s not what I was hoping to share. At TTUSD, we are responsible for many people - 4,300 students and over 600 staff members. We’ve always said that safety is not negotiable, and we need to continue to do what we think is best for our kids and our staff’s safety.

Once the surge is behind us and we can reopen, we will do everything we can to stay open. If we have to, due to exposure to COVID, we will close a classroom by classroom, or a school if needed. Closing the entire district will be the last resort.

Next Thursday, we will share the latest update on COVID cases within our community, and then at the January 20 board meeting, we’ll again discuss the timeline for reopening.

Thank you for your patience.

Stay well,

Carmen Ghysels

Superintendent Chief Learning Officer